Internet Explorer 4.0's shell integration leaves Rat's whiskers in a snit

The Rat has already confessed to being a masochist. Who else would spend his days
braving asbestos-clogged wireways and his nights provoking flames from computer
chauvinists? Other than fellow rats, that is.

It appears that some of the cyberrodent's less fortunate relatives are in the news
because of their masochistic work habits. Check out the Packet Rat's cousin, a former lab
rat trained to pull network wires, on the San Jose Mercury News' World Wide Web site at

It's too bad poor cuz's taskmasters couldn't come up with a nobler name for him than
"Rattie." He deserves a lot of credit, because outside the rodent family, there
are few thick-skinned enough to walk the wired one's path.

The Apple Macintosh faithful--at least those left after the purge of the
clonemakers--have been bombarding the Rat with messages of ill will ever since he
suggested that Apple might be losing its superficial interface advantages over the
Microsoft Windows world.

Meanwhile, Microsoft fans have little nice to say about the Rat, either, especially
when he tells them the Internet Explorer 4.0 browser is, as the macaroni ad says,
"the cheesiest."

Oh, he didn't say so yet publicly? Well, here goes: IE 4.0 shell integration is a
conspiracy against world peace.

That's not to say Netscape Communications'
ship-before-the-end-of-the-quarter-and-then-patch-until-it-works Communicator 4.0x is any
better. Both browsers really bite, as far as the furry one is concerned. But Communicator
doesn't take over the operating system as IE 4.0 can.

The Rat had been having some trouble with his Windows NT system--go ahead and laugh,
Macolytes; he never said he liked Windows either. What kind of problem? It was taking his
200-MHz Pentium Pro five minutes to refresh the My Computer window after reopening, and
the same thing happened every time he opened a file saving dialog box and tried to change

The Explorer kernel in his system, the NT and Windows 95 version of Mac OS' Finder, was
obviously hosed. The wired one traced the problem to IE 4.0's shell integration
installation, which disables the software's uninstall. It grabs the system like the
face-sucking monsters from "Alien."

At once the Rat saw that he had to wipe his system and start from scratch. IE 4.0 must
have suspected its digital existence was in jeopardy, because the Rat couldn't get the NT
4.0 install program to make start-up floppies for a CD-ROM installation.

The software kept saying the floppies were full before the required files had even been
copied to them. The Rat immediately suspected a boot-sector virus, but his virus checker
failed to find anything.

And then it struck him. IE 4.0 shell integration was the virus. It was putting the
extra data onto the floppies. So the cyberrodent went to another machine, successfully
created disks and reinstalled NT 4.0 on the Pentium Pro, formatting its hard drive with
extreme prejudice.

He then set about the massive task of reinstalling NT Service Pack 3 and all the other
little system patches Microsoft has shipped for NT over the last year, plus all his

"Just say no to shell integration," muttered the Rat. A hard drive is a
terrible thing to waste.

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets
in cyberspace. E-mail him at

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.