If you’re like me and still have a significant quantity of music in m4p format that’s preventing you for the time being from dumping iTunes, you are stuck with QuickTime too. This would not be so bad but for the fact that QuickTime is almost virus-like in its control of PNG display in Internet Explorer. Disabling the QuickTime add-on in IE just caused it to ask me to run the QuickTime add-on every time I navigated to a bare PNG file (one not embedded in an HTML file). Going into Control Panel->Default Programs->Associate a File Type or Protocol With a Program and ensuring that .png was associated with Windows Photo Viewer did nothing to alleviate the problem either. But early this morning, when yet another link to a screenshot of a fellow developer’s work-in-progress popped up that monstrous message asking me to enable QuickTime, I decided to try again. And I think I did it.
This has only been tested on Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and IE 9 as that’s my only system with iTunes (and thus QuickTime) installed, but it should hopefully work in other setups. First, open IE, go to “Manage add-ons”, and make sure that QuickTime is disabled. You will probably want to switch the “Show” drop-down box from “Currently loaded add-ons” to “All add-ons” since QuickTime likes to hide (it’s a
virus legitimate program, remember). Then go to the Control Panel. Change the “View by:” drop down menu from “Category” to either “Large icons” or “Small icons”. Select “Default Programs”. Select “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”. Once this has loaded (it can take a little while to build the list), scroll down to “.png” and make sure it is set to “Windows Photo Viewer”. If not, select it, then press the “Change program…” button and set it appropriately. When that is set, go back to “Default Programs”. Here’s the magic bit. Choose “Set program access and computer defaults”. There should be three configuration options with a radial button selector: “Microsoft Windows”, “Non-Microsoft”, and “Custom”. I have mine set to “Custom” and this step only works with Custom set. (If you have something else set, you should research changing it first; I’m not responsible if you change it and screw up your settings.) Click on the two down-pointing arrows to the right of “Custom”. Scroll down to “Choose a default media player:”. You should see QuickTime with a checkbox labeled “Enabled access to this program” to the right of it. Uncheck that checkbox.
That’s it. Make sure the checkbox next to “Enable access to this program” for QuickTime is not checked, choose “OK”, make sure to close all instances of IE, restart it, and try loading a bare (not embedded in an HTML file) PNG from a website. Try, e.g., http://gwb.blob.core.windows.net/mikebmcl/WindowsLiveWriter/IstillloveyouWP7_DFE8/emuimage1_2.png if you need one to try it with. If luck is with you, QuickTime is disabled (check your add-ins to be sure) and those nag messages demanding that you allow QuickTime to load in order to view a PNG are gone forever. On my system this did not impact iTunes (I had it running while doing all of this, then closed it and restarted it just to make sure). Further, it seems that going back and adding a check back to the “Enable access to this program” will not cause the problem to reappear (although I don’t think having that check there is necessary). Anyway, for me the annoyance appears to be gone. No SLOOOOOOOW QuickTime add-in startup when launching IE and no nag message demanding that I enable the QuickTime ActiveX control that I specifically said to disable anytime I happen to want to see a PNG image that’s not embedded in an HTML file. Hopefully this works for others. If you have any trouble, check to make sure you followed all of the steps and try searching Bing with terms like “IE” “PNG” “QuickTime” “disable” etc. This was the last piece of a long-running puzzle for me so it’s possible I forgot some other step that I took months ago (I did search again for a solution before stumbling across this on my own, so I think I found all the old changes I’d already made and reported them). Good luck!
It seems that it doesn't completely clear the prompting to load Quicktime; I came across an image earlier today that gave me the stupid prompt to let Quicktime run. However closing the prompt and then clicking reload caused the image to load. So residuals of the
virus legitimate add-in known as Quicktime still hang around. Maybe the site was feeding a content-type that triggered it. If I can find it again I'll go back and check.