Remove language packs from Windows 7

I often have to install different languages/locales on Windows 7 to perform testing in different languages, unfortuately adding all of them into a single installation can take a lot of space, particularly when using a virtual machine.

Using the usual method to ‘remove installed software’ will remove updates, but leaves the languages in place, to completely remove them you must open a command prompt and execute the following:


LPKSETUP

Select the languages you wish to remove, and click continue… it will take a while, but the languages will be removed one at a time.

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Google and Facebook bypassing P3P User Privacy Settings

I wrote about P3P a very long time ago, and have implemented it on several websites. Some history, the W3C crafted the P3P policy.
Microsoft introduced P3P support in IE6 (in 2001) and it remains implemented in all current versions of the browser. The primary intended use is to block 3rd party cookies within the browser on behalf of the user.

Interesting enough, Microsoft has had been a bit of a struggle with Google and Facebook, which send the following HTTP response headers.

Google’s Response:

P3P: CP="This is not a P3P policy! See http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=151657 for more info."

Facebook’s response:

P3P: CP="Facebook does not have a P3P policy. Learn why here: http://fb.me/p3p"

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HTC/.htc files

What is it? Internet Explorer 5-9 introduced behaviors. Behaviors are a way to add behaviors to XML (or HTML) elements with the use of CSS styles.

Why avoid it? The behavior attribute is only supported by Internet Explorer.

What to use instead? Use JavaScript and XML DOM (or HTML DOM) instead

MSIE 5-9 support a scripting (VBScript/JScript) technology called HTML Components (HTCs) to aid in DHTML behaviors. Support was dropped in MSIE 10, you will have to force the browser into MSIE 9 compatibility to use these.

Mozilla? it has a similar proprietary implementation.
http://dean.edwards.name/moz-behaviors/

Included CSS style:

<style type="text/css">
h1 { behavior: url(example.htc) }
</style>

Inline CSS style:

<p style="behavior:url(hilite.htc)">Hello World</p>

Apache MIME Type:

AddType text/x-component .htc

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HTA/.hta files

HTA/.hta files are a technology that Microsoft implemented in it’s browsers MSIE 5-9 to support rich web applications, MSIE 10 and newer do not implement it and must be forced into MSIE 9 compatibility mode.

Most often HTA was/is used to hide the browser controls (chrome) from the user to provide dialog windows.

EXAMPLE:

<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv="x-ua-compatible" content="ie=9" />
<!-- does not work in 10 or above, so force it back down -->
<hta:application id="example"
applicationname="example"
border="1"
caption="no"
icon="icon.ico"
navigable="no"
scroll="no"
showintaskbar="no"
singleinstance="yes"
sysmenu="no"
windowstate="normal">
</hta:application>
</head>
</html>

Apache MIME Type:

AddType application/hta .hta

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Google ChromeFrame

There was some debate back when this was first revealed in 2009, but the use of ChromeFrame is still relevant for some organizations that are stuck on older browsers for legacy applications.


<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1" /><!-- this is for all versions of IE -->
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=IE6" /><!-- this is for IE6 and lower -->
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=IE7" /><!-- this is for IE7 and lower -->
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=IE8" /><!-- this is for IE8 and lower -->
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=IE9" /><!-- this is for IE9 and lower -->
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=Edge,chrome=IE6" /><!-- this is for IE9 and lower, passes Edge to others -->

NOTES:

  1. Installation can be done without Administrative rights on the Windows OS.
  2. Installation will append the ‘chromeframe’ version to the ‘User-Agent’ HTTP header sent by the browser to allow it to be parsed.

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Conditional Comments cause CSS to block

Here’s an odd one…. I’ve found that if you use the common method of using Conditional Comments to separate MSIE specific CSS, you’ve likely added a performance problem without knowing it… that is, in addition to the network connection and time required for the different CSS files.

It turns out that the standard use of this approach blocks the other downloads until the main CSS is loaded.

The solution is both simple and painless to implement…. a quick solution to this is to add an empty conditional comment early on, that is, before the main content (CSS) is loaded.. This works for all approaches, such as those where comments surround the <body> or various <link>, <style> or <script> tags.

UPDATE:
Personally, I like to do this immediately after the DOCTYPE and before the <html> tag. Additionally, since IE10 dropped support for this technique, I’ll just target IE 9 and below for any developer that comes after me.


<!DOCTYPE html>
<!--[if lte IE 9]><![endif]-->
<html lang="en">
...

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Overriding MSIE’s Friendly Error Message screens

IE overrides several HTTP error status pages but it has a size threshold. Only if the error page send by the server has a large enough body then IE decides it’s meaningful and displays it.

Usually to be safe you should make error pages that are larger then 512 bytes. The threshold varies per HTTP status code. You can look at what your thresholds are currently set to. In IE 5 and greater the settings are stored in the registry under [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\ErrorThresholds]

Err Size(bytes):

  • 400 512
  • 403 256
  • 404 512
  • 405 256
  • 406 512
  • 408 512
  • 409 512
  • 410 256
  • 500 512
  • 501 512
  • 505 512

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MSIE Conditional Comments

This approach is useful in building standards based websites and allows you to prevent it from being “polluted” by various hacks used to support MSIE. MSIE5 and newer support the use of Conditional Comments and thus allow the developer to include additional files or markup for specific versions of the browser. Other browsers will see the content as an HTML comment and thus ignore it.


<!--[if IE]><style type="text/css">@import "/css/IE=Fixes.css";</style><![endif]-->
<!--[if lt IE 5.5000]><style type="text/css">@import "/css/IE50Fixes.css";</style><![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 5.5000]><style type="text/css">@import "/css/IE55Fixes.css";</style><![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 6]><style type="text/css">@import "/css/IE60Fixes.css";</style><![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 7]><style type="text/css">@import "/css/IE70Fixes.css";</style><![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 8]><style type="text/css">@import "/css/IE80Fixes.css";</style><![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 9]><style type="text/css">@import "/css/IE90Fixes.css";</style><![endif]-->
<!--[if lt IE 7]><script type="text/javascript" src="/wiki/skins/common/IEFixes.js"></script><![endif]-->

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Dynamic HTML style tag with JavaScript

I recently got into some heavy refactoring of legacy code and in an effort to “fix” some JavaScript that was directly manipulating ‘style’ attributes on a DOM element and thus introducing maintenance and specificity issues I found that it would be “easier” to add a CSS class that I would write dynamically… leading to many headaches along the way and this bit of knowledge.

“For MSIE, you cannot simply write a ‘textNode’ into the DOM for HTML STYLE tags, you must use ‘cssText'”


function createClass(cls,txt){
var obj = document.createElement('style');
if(obj){
var head = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
if(head){
obj.setAttribute('type','text/css');
obj.setAttribute('media','all');
var val = '.' + cls + '{' + txt + '}';
var nod = document.createTextNode(val);
if(obj.styleSheet){// MSIE
obj.styleSheet.cssText = nod.nodeValue;
} else {
obj.appendChild(nod);
}
head.appendChild(obj);
}
}

USAGE:

createClass('noshow','display:none;');

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MSIE6 background-image caching (or lack of it…) and flickering

This has been an annoyance of this (IMHO very buggy) browser since it was first beta tested. Earlier (5.x) and newer (7.x) versions do not exhibit this problem.
For some reason Microsoft developers broke the caching mechanism for background images, particularly when defined in CSS. This makes for slow screen painting as well as wasted network traffic as each occurrence of the image becomes a new HTTP request to the webserver. This also causes a notable delay in those images painting on the screen and ‘flicker’ when the images are used in CSS rollover effects. Since the image obviously isn’t changed it results in many ‘HTTP 304 Not Modified‘ entries in the server logs.

Fixes…

1. You CAN/SHOULD set the Expiry for the images, however this can be problematic. Since I typically run Apache HTTPD, those instructions follow:

a) Set an explicit expiry time based on MIME types in the http.conf file.

[instructions in separate post]

b) Enable .htaccess for the server and allow its usage in individual folders on the server.

[instructions in separate post]

c) Use client-side technologies to hack around the problem…. you can use many CSS tricks, but I’ve found that JavaScript is the easiest (most compatible) method.

Add the following to a method executed in the onload event of the page…

<script type=”text/javascript”>
try {
document.execCommand(‘BackgroundImageCache’, false, true);
} catch(e) {}
</script>
NOTE: MSIE will execute the Javascript, Mozilla and other browsers will throw an exception and wind up in the catch block… which ignores the problem.

UPDATE:
With the use of conditional comments, this can be added to an MSIE specific JS file, or even better an MSIE specific CSS file containing the following:


html {
filter: expression(document.execCommand("BackgroundImageCache", false, true));
}

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