Taking a look at the Windows 7 Browser Ballot Screen

So as many of you probably already know, just shortly before Windows 7 was due to RTM (Release to Manufacturing ) the EU kicked up a stink (yet again) due to Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. This has been well known and rather quiet ongoing case since 1995 when Microsoft first included the popular browser with Windows.

The case was then resumed during the development of Windows 7 with the original decision made by the EU that Microsoft would not be allowed to bundle the browser with Windows 7 in Europe, at all. This caused great concern and raised the question, “How will users access the web with no default browser being pre-installed?” But it wasn’t just the EU that were on the software giant’s back about this, another popular browser company known as Opera also decided to take a stab. For the same reasons they also believed that Internet Explorer was crushing the competition and stealing market share from other popular browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome and their own of course. Opera also went a step further and suggested that Internet Explorer shouldn’t be bundled with Windows at all in Europe or the US.

After the EU’s rants and raves along with Opera’s sad attempt to try and increase their browsers market share, Microsoft finally came up with an solution. The idea was to present the user with a ballot type screen where they could select a browser of their choice from a list of popular web browsers. Thankfully this method ending up meeting the requirements of both parties and was later approved.

Let’s take a look at it then, shall we?


The browser ballot actually comes in the form of an update via Windows Update which is optional and unchecked by default. It also cannot be removed as stated.

Once you have installed the update and rebooted the system you will notice an icon on your desktop with the name “Browser Choice” You will also notice that Internet Explorer appears to have been unpinned from the taskbar.

Upon double clicking on the icon Internet Explorer will pop up along with a separate window with some information, also telling us that the update conveniently unpinned Internet Explorer from the taskbar, how nice.

That's fine, you just go ahead and do that...

After hitting OK we are now presented with the Browser Ballot Screen with the choices which opens in Internet Explorer, funnily enough.

LOL at Opera's marketing advertisment

The ballot screen includes a total of 12 browsers for the user to choose from. These include:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Opera
  • Safari
  • K-Meleon
  • FlashPeak
  • Maxthon
  • Flock
  • Sleipnir
  • GreenBrowser
  • Avant


It’s also worth noting that each time you start this up the order in which the browser choices are displayed will be randomised.

Hitting Install on any of the choices will immediately activate a direct download.

Finally for those who are interested, the browser choice update installs itself to C:WindowsSystem32


Well that concludes this short overview of the Windows 7  Browser Ballot or “Browser Choice Screen” as it’s now called. I definitely think that this method is best as it doesn’t leave the user without a default browser and it’s also a good idea for those who perform regular installs of Windows because it gives them quick and easy access to installing their favourite third-party browser.

I still don’t agree on decision to have the choice in the first place though. Microsoft have already gave users the option in Windows 7 to remove various components including Internet Explorer. This option is ample in my opinion and certainly doesn’t put a downer on the browser competition as the EU claims.

At the end of the day it’s Microsoft’s Operating System and it should really be up to them what they do, not anyone else.  Another question still remains however, what about Microsoft’s main competitor, Apple?  What makes them so different that they have managed to slip out of this? That’s one that I really can’t answer but in my option they should have also been treated the exact same way that Microsoft were despite the lower market share.


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One Reply to “Taking a look at the Windows 7 Browser Ballot Screen”

  1. Pingback: 12 browsers a primera vista | El blog de Ricker Silva

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