Friday, February 03, 2006

IE7Beta2 "standalone" - It was a dark and stormy night...

Yes, indeed folks it is possible. You can (mostly) get the new IE7 Beta 2 Preview (IE7B2p) release to run in standalone mode. But let me warn you kiddies first with some information before you get all freaky over this. My story begins like this...It was a dark and stormy night...

Really, it was dark and stormy last Tuesday. I was surfing the net and found a link on Ed Bott's page alerting the world that Microsoft just released a public release version of the next Internet Explorer. Version 7. A quick traipse over to the MS IE7 Beta page found this was indeed true (although it is a "preview" release of IE7 Beta2).

I posted a quick comment to my friends at the TechBlog and Dwight soon was spreading the news.

I did some more searching and came up with a few good reference links:. IE7Beta2 Install Tips and AMCP Tech Blogs Quick review.

In the process I stumbled upon Scott Hanselman's post on how to make a standalone version of IE7B2p. See, I like standalone (or portable) applications. I don't like installing applications deep into my system when they can run by themselves. This is kinda a side-hobby of mine. Plus from what I read, IE7Beta2p would overwrite my IE6 install. Although I am a Firefox guy, MS has hooked IE6 pretty good into the OS, and when IE6 gets cranky, baaaddd things can happen to you system, man. I know, I've looked into the eyes of that beast and it changed me. Sorry, where was I? I went ahead and followed Scott's tips and had it up and running as promised.

So then I got all excited and made some--um--gushy--comment posts. Then I checked back at Scott's site (in IE72Bp) and what was this? Additional comments saying that it might impact IE6. Hmmm. That wasn't there a minute ago...(Note to self: Don't post over-enthusiastic public comments before you proof-tested something for a few days--at least.)

So I checked and sure-enough, closing IE7B2p and firing up IE6 found issues. It launched, but locked up. System reboot opened it up faster, but bookmarks didn't work. I was worried. Then Scott pretty much retracted all he said. Bummer.

So I decided to get IE7B2p off the system. Um. How? Ok. Not real clear in the release notes...Did some checking and found these IE7B2p removal notes at (contained registry hack as well if needed). Did a full system install of IE7B2p and then went to Add/Remove Program list, ticked the "show updates" box at the top and found/uninstalled the beast. Reboot. System normal-IE6 playing normal. Danger averted.

But I was still bummed. I'd tasted the glimmer of hope that IE7 could run without a system install. I'm not the type to just let some problems left alone.

So yesterday, I'm still tracking the comments on Scott's Ie7B2 post and a commenter posts a link to (programmer?) Jon Galloway's blog ToString() where he has a post Runing IE7 Beta 2 Preview next to IE6 (the right way). Obviously I haven't had enough punishment. So this time I read the article carefully and check all the cross links. Ok. I'm just stupid enough to try it again. This time I am pleased to say it works (except some functions that break running it this way.)

Here is the trick:
Download IE7B2p via the MS IE7 Beta page.
It is a compressed file, so use your 3rd-party file extraction program (I use 7-zip) to unpack the files into a new folder.
Open notepad and create a blank text file. Save the file in the folder where you unpacked IE7B2 and name it "iexplore.exe.local".
Now browse over to Jon Galoway's extra post IE7 Standalone Launch Script. Read it carefully several times until you understand it.
Now follow his directions to make the ie7fix.reg file and save it in your IE7B2 folder.
Now follow his directions to make the IE7.bat launch script file. Save it in your IE7B2 folder.
Follow all these steps?
Now take a deep breath--repeat out loud--"I'm doing this because I'm a geek, stupid or brave and can't hold anyone responsible for what my own actions may now do to my system"--and run the IE7.bat file.

A DOS box will open (leave it open!) then IE7B2p will open. Try it out! Impress the family and co-workers. Mess with the IT staff by saying you clicked IE and now it launches like this--I promise it will freak them out!
When you are done, close IE with the little red x-box in IE7. The DOS box will run some more scripts and clean up the mess you just made and then close (hopefully)!

Try launching IE6 and it should be back as normal.

Cool! I've tried this on a couple of XP SP2 systems--and all seemed well. It's not a "full-test" of IE7B2p as it disables some features that otherwise would work in a full install. But it is cool. Good luck if you are brave enough to try it and props to Jon for sharing this tip.

Now--to hunt down this little tidbit "The IE6 Cumulative Security Update (Dec 13) broke the IE Standalone Mode that's been around since IE3 and is a big help in designing for forward compatibility." You mean there is a IE Standalone Mode since IE3? Hmmmm.

I hear a quest coming on!

See you in the skies!

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