How to Run IE 7 without installing it

If you want to test IE7 without the risk of installing a beta software, here is a simple way to do it. This method does not install IE 7 the usual way- instead you just run it from the installer package and hence your system does not get littered with beta dlls all over the place.

  1. Download IE7 beta from the MS website at . Save the file at a location from where you want to run it. For example C:\IE7Beta
  2. Right click the file and select “Extract Here” option from the Winzip/WinRAR context menu.
  3. Once all the files are extracted, find the file named “shlwapi.dll” and delete it.
  4. Create a file by name “IEXPLORE.exe.local”. Make sure that it does not have the .txt extension. [Go to Tools-> Folder Options -> View -> uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.]
  5. Launch iexplore.exe from the same folder and verify that it works.
  6. Right click on iexplore.exe and select “Send To…-> Desktop (Create Shortcut)”.

This method also helps in running both IE7 and IE6 side-by-side! A great help for web designers. To uninstall, just delete the folder where you extracted the installation package!

Trivia: With the new beta, the browser is no longer called “Microsoft Internet Explorer”. It is now “Windows Internet Explorer”.

Update (17/04/2006): This method seems to have screwed up the IE6 installation of many of the visitors who tried the latest beta. A better method is described by Jon Galloway in his post here. As always, try at your own risk! Thanks to Claus for the excellent comment with all the pointers.


24 thoughts on “How to Run IE 7 without installing it

  1. Did not work for me.. I am still XP1 with many updates. Followed procedure but when executing IE7 got some sort of dianostic that it could not find a dll…. no matter I am a Firefox user.. just thought I would give it a look…

  2. this can mess up your IE6. I tried it and now I have problems with Internet Explorer that I can’ fix!!!!!

  3. Not worth doing IMHO. Even though it does not replace system DLLs with beta drivers, this method changes your registry and you may have the problems with IE6 described above (which I also had), which a system restore should fix (it did in my case).

  4. Jaganath,

    I tried this method when it first came out and like many of the commenters share, respectfully, using this method as suggested can have a negative impact on your IE6 install (at best) and the whole system (at worst).

    I eventually found a way to make it work cleanly and without issues.

    I found this link by an insightful programmer named Jon Galloway: Runing IE7 Beta 2 Preview next to IE6 (the right way)

    I needed to follow the extra information he posts here: IE7 Standalone Launch Script. as well.

    Using this method, IE7B2p has been working for quite some time on all my XP SP2 systems along side IE6 (although a few features don’t when you run it this manner). And IE6 isn’t hurt at all (nor my system).

    We have also been having quite a lot of feedback on IE7Beta Preview over at the Houston Chronicle’s Tech blog posting Only the brave need apply: IE 7 Beta 2 Preview.

    It can be done, pretty easily in fact, but just needs to be done correctly (and only on XP systems). Jon’s method is bang-on. And although I am a die-hard Firefox user, I really am impressed with the direction IE7 is taking.

    You might want to give Jon’s method a try and see what you think.


  5. Jaganath,

    I was a fool to try this, now my IE 6.0 is completely messed up. Anytime I try and access an external site, I get an error message that “Windows cannot find ‘(null)’.

    So — do you have a way to fix this? I’ve already deleted the IE7 beta folder.

  6. Jaganath,

    I was a fool to try this, now my IE 6.0 is completely messed up. Anytime I try and access an external site, I get an error message that “Windows cannot find null. Make sure you typed the name correctly.”

    So — do you have a way to fix this? I’ve already deleted the IE7 beta folder.

  7. Before, when I borked up my IE6 trying it the way first posted, I did a bit of research and found this handy post thread that explains how to roll back to IE6 Tips to uninstall IE7Beta Down deep it contains some registry keys you can update to try to fix the issue.

    You might also want to take a look at Jon Galloway’s link IE7 Standalone Launch Script as it has a registry cleanup script you can make to try to remove an offending registry key IE7Beta Preview makes.

    Hopefully these will take care of the issue. You might also have to restore your proxy settings. Some users have had to reinstall/repair IE6 to get the whole system working again.

    And like some users have posted in the thread I linked, it sometimes breaks the system-restore point.

    It can be done–but has to be done correctly (like I posted in the comments above). This isn’t for the faint of heart or on any system that you haven’t backed up, or care about losing if something goes wrong.

    Best of luck.

  8. Update: I think I found a solution (found over at another site). I installed the *full* IE 7 Beta 2, restarted, and then uninstalled IE 7 Beta 2 via Add/Remove Programs (Note: You need to select the checkbox “show updates”). Rebooted again, and now IE’s back to normal. Phew! 🙂

  9. Internet Explorer 6 is messed up. Do not try this, if you want IE6 to work. The symptom is if you do a Ctrl H to view the history. Click an entry and good luck. IE will not open that entry. My security is set and has always been set to High in the Internet Zone.

  10. Does anyone know how to fix IE6 after this mess?
    1. tried to reinstall via the .inf file (reinstalled from XP PRO CD)
    2. add/remove programs, IE
    3. reinstalled xp2
    4. removed the IE7 CA Certificate

    This is really fucked up. Blasted. System Restore won’t fix.

    Looked up “repair Internet Explorer 6” in Google and no one know how to fix this. Please, someone, post a fix.

    I’ve done an SFC /SCANNOW

    Now my last choice it to a repair install of XP.


  11. Thanks for the tips. I wish I would of checked in before doing the repair install of XP Pro. The Repair Install worked. Fixed IE6. IE7 Beta is gone, quickly. Is doing an install of ie.inf different from? Looks like it.

    2) Open Start / Run and type:
    rundll32.exe setupapi,InstallHinfSection DefaultInstall 132 c:windowsinfie.inf

  12. I tried Franklin’s tips to repair IE and they did not work. The repair install of XP ultmately did not work, the symptoms showed up again. Bummer. Open one IE Window, it works for about 10 seconds, then another IE window pops up in IE. Similar behavior to a virus or spyware, but there is none. Firefox works ok without issue. Luckily, I had the installer on my PC. Oh well, thank you for the tip and it is my fault for not doing it virtually on test pc. My fault completely.

  13. After countless tries and the fixes posted here, I ended up doing a complete install of IE7Beta2, latest as of today 4/18/06. Restarting, etc. IE7 worked. I then removed IE7Beta2 via Add/remove Programs and restarted, etc. Now my IE6 works again. That is, I don’t get a blank ie window with another blank ie window being spawned and ie hanging. Now I can open a favorite in ie6 without ie6 crashing. Is the solution reinstalling it completely and then removing it?

  14. Yes. That seems to be the best solution.

    Install IE 7 the way microsoft wants you to do. Restart.
    Go to Add/Remove Programs. Check show updates. Remove IE7. Restart.
    You should have IE 6 working properly.

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