Yes, you can debloat Windows 7 with Microsoft’s blessing

Last week there was a flood of news that Internet Explorer 8 is now removable from the forthcoming Windows 7 operating system. In fact you can now disable a whole host of Windows features to free up precious resources. The list includes:

  • Windows Games
  • Windows Search
  • Media Playback
  • Printing and Document Services (including fax)
  • Tablet PC components
  • Gadgets (The sidebar)
  • Plus a host of other small features

The removed features will still live on the hard disk in case they are needed but won’t reside in memory when Windows 7 loads (and while this approach might have been a problem in previous years disk space is now so cheap that leaving the stuff on the drive makes sense).

The BBC has a story that helps put some perspective on why Microsoft has made that and other parts of the Windows environment removable. The whole transfer to a modular concept is in part to get the Euro lawyers off the company’s back. European Union lawyers have been after Microsoft since 2004 for incorporating programs into the operating system that give it an unfair competitive advantage against the likes of Firefox Opera other browser makers media player developers and a long list of others.

As part of Microsoft’s wider image-fix this latest change fits into the strategy nicely. Microsoft is showing that it is listening to customers users and business is taking note of the years of litigation that it has faced and is trying very hard to deliver Windows 7 as a rebound product that will find favour in all market places.

Next up for Microsoft to do some good PR for itself is the Microsoft MIX09 event next week in Las Vegas. There we will get to hear about Microsoft’s direction for Windows 7 and its many web technologies including Internet Explorer 8 Silverlight Azure (the cloud services operating system) and many more.

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One presentation covers the design process of the Windows 7 desktop while another explores the real-world uses of Internet Explorer 8.

A more off the wall session should be “Using the Wii Remote” by Microsoft Applied Sciences Researcher Johnny Lee covering “several interaction techniques enabled by the Wii remote and how you can develop your own applications.” This may point to a further step away from the traditional mouse/keyboard combination presaged by the general rush towards touch and surface technologies.