You probably have already heard that in Europe, Windows 7 will be supplied without a pre-installed web browser. With Windows 7 it has always been possible to remove Internet Explorer (IE) and this will continue to be the case in other countries outside Europe. This initially caused some confusion, which was compounded by the fact that because Windows Vista always contains IE, the European versions will not do an in-place upgrade as versions in the rest of the world do.
What does this mean to IT pros? Not much really. The European position does mean that you must actively ask ‘which browser(s) does my company need?’ rather than passively accepting the browser in the box. This matters much less to IT pros than to consumers, assuming they are deploying machines efficiently. For IT pros with more than a couple of computers to deploy there is a good set of free tools which allow you to quickly make your own customised installation image. Unless you are installing on the day of release, you’ll probably apply updates to the operating system. For example, on your to-do list there may be Windows settings you want to customise, you may want to add corporate wallpapers or fonts, and there are most likely applications you’ll want to install as part of the set-up process. Now, you’ll simply need to add ‘select a browser’ to your to-do list. At the time of writing, the exact process to add Internet Explorer 8 or another browser hasn’t been announced, but whichever browser(s) you choose, you should not find the extra step onerous.