How are pre-order sales of Windows 7 doing in the UK? Very well. However there are two major differences compared to the US version.
First, it is required to have a clean install. For most people this means the drive must be wiped in order to use it to get rid of the old Windows (Vista or XP).
Second, there is no Internet Explorer in the UK version. This is probably the reason why the clean install is mandatory for 7. UK’s 7 doesn’t have IE because of a European Commission anti-trust ruling.
Can you install IE 8 after you install the OS? Yes. It will most likely be listed as an optional (keyword there) download in Windows Update. There may even be an icon purposely placed on the desktop that says "Download Internet Explorer" or something similar. And to be honest I hope that’s the case because otherwise a whole bunch of people wouldn’t really know how to get it.
You can’t say, "Download Firefox to a USB stick from another PC, plug it in to the new one and install to 7 that way", because if it’s the only PC the user has, what are they going to do? Go to a command prompt, connect via FTP over to ftp.mozilla.org and get a browser that way? Would you want to instruct a newbie how to do that? Probably not.
This marks the first time Windows will be sold without a browser since Windows 95. For those who remember, the very first edition of 95 did not have IE preinstalled.
It is also clear that Microsoft does appear to have a winner on its hands with Windows 7 on both sides of the pond, even though the UK version is IE-less.
The PCMech.com weekly newsletter has been running strong for over 8 years. Sign up to get tech news, updates and exclusive content - right in your inbox. Also get (several) free gifts.