Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Death of Internet Explorer Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

The death of Internet Explorer has been greatly exaggerated.

Yesterday and today, there have been numerous articles about Microsoft “removing” Internet Explorer from Windows (it has never been usable in Windows “11” apparently, but has been “removed” from Windows 10).

But like other mistakes and cruft, Internet Explorer is a part of the Win32 API and cannot be removed without bricking numerous applications and Web sites, and corporate Intranet applications, so it is still there. You just can’t use it directly.

Microsoft has disabled about 1% of Internet Explorer, which was the part that you could visibly see, and open as an application. The other 99%, the MSHTML “Trident” engine is still there. In fact, you could write or run a Web browser that embeds it and continue to browse with it now, although that would be a serious mistake due to its infamous security history and incompatibility with standards-compliant Web sites.

In fact, Windows now embeds MSHTML/Trident into their latest disaster, the Chromium-based Edge, which is packed with malware and spyware directly from Microsoft, including a keylogger trojan called “SmartScreen” and “Windows Defender”.

In the sense that Windows Defender is a security program, it’s like being accused of a crime as a poor person in America and getting stuck with the public defender, which your county funds 5-10% as much as the other guys who may be trying to frame you. In the sense that it sends your keystrokes and file hashes to Microsoft, it’s malware in and of itself.

And Windows doesn’t just have one horrendous semi-functional browser engine leftover from a dead end, it has two. The engine from the original Edge is still in there somewhere for “Windows Store Apps”.

Windows is rather large and full of trash. To hide some of this, Microsoft has compressed part of the C:\Windows folder, using NTFS compression, which uses an inefficient compression algorithm that robs your computer’s processor of yet more cycles than just dealing with Windows.

Back in 1998, I was 14.

I removed Internet Explorer 100%, lock, stock, and barrel as soon as it landed on my computer with Windows 98. There were other browsers even then, and I had quite a few, including Opera, Netscape 4, Mozilla Suite, and eventually Firefox.

K-Meleon was also nice as it blended in with Windows and used Mozilla’s engine.

Windows 98 had few legitimate improvements over Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2.1 (which was unavailable to retail channels), but when IE and the rest of the nonsense landed, it was like Bill Gates himself left a flaming bag of dog shit on your front porch and rang the buzzer.

I used a tool called ROM II (Revenge of Mozilla) and the Windows 95 B shell (which was aware of FAT32) to rip it all back out, where thereafter I applied the updates that still made sense.

Windows 98 was pretty stable without Internet Explorer.

About the only difference was applications which assumed it was there no longer worked properly, but most of those were other Microsoft crap that used those hooks as a way to foist it even on people who held back with Windows 95 to try to avoid IE.

By the time I stopped using Windows 98 on a full time basis, it was essentially ROM II cutting all of the bloat out, some hotfixes, a generic Sandisk driver that enabled me to use pretty much all USB Mass Storage Class devices, and the Notepad, Paint, and Defrag program from Windows Me (which had some badly-needed improvements even though the rest of Windows Me was a mess).

As the years went on, I liked Windows less and less and started to turn more of my attention to GNU/Linux until finally Windows Vista came out, and trying to run it even on most of the computers that came with it was a truly pathetic experience, and forget anything that came with Windows XP. It would just burn your laptop up trying to scroll through the Start Menu.

At that point, I basically gave up on Windows. And there’s few reasons to try to use Windows today.

It’s just as much of a mess on security as Windows XP ever was. The attacks on the JBS meat packing plant, the Colonial Pipeline, hospitals, and plain old users prove me right.

Microsoft is so desperate for attention these days that it puts a Linux compatibility layer in Windows, and when that causes more Windows viruses, they pay the media to say “Linux malware”.

We should be beyond the point of having to even come up with a reply to Microsoft’s trash articles, which they seem to pay for in bulk. Many of them even have the same typographical errors even when they’re listed under different authors.

However, if you do need a response as to why to get rid of Windows now, this site seems to have a lot of that covered.

The legacy of Internet Explorer is blue screens of death and malware, but even without it enabled, Windows will not improve on this front.

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