It is unclear what it means to "remove IE" because such a removal depends on being able to determine which files or functions on an installed Windows system are part of IE — that is, to draw a line between IE and the rest of Windows. Microsoft has held that this is not meaningful; that in Windows 98 and newer versions, "Internet Explorer" is not a separate piece of software but simply a brand name for the web browsing and HTML rendering capacities of the Windows operating system. In this view, the result of removing IE is simply a damaged Windows system; to have a working system without IE one must replace Windows entirely.
In contrast, some programmers and security writers have held that it is possible to have a useful and working Windows system with IE excised. These people include consultant Fred Vorck, who advocates that consumers should have the choice to remove "integrated" features of Microsoft Windows and participates in the HFSLIP project; Dino Nuhagic, who is the creator of nLite, a product that allows users to remove Windows components like Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player; and Shane Brooks, who created 98lite and XPLite to remove and manage Windows componentsafter the installation of the operating system. Some people have suggested the use of alternative browsers instead of Internet Explorer, to try reduce the risk of vulnerabilities.