The big question is: what happens to all those crappy programs that ignore the user’s default browser settings and just launch IE when handling a link? Will they crash? Fail to do anything? Or will Windows 8 intelligently re-route such calls to the default browser? Hopefully it will be the last option, but I guess time will tell.
! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.It is being reported by those with build 7048 of Windows 7 that IE8 appears in the “Turn Windows features on or off” control panel dialogue. Disabling it – and rebooting twice apparently – then removes explore.exe from the system. It appears that programs that embed the IE activeX within themselves will still work (which is a good thing).