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Browser Plugin Installer Hack

AKA Internet Unexplorer; for Mac OS 9.2.2 and earlier

The purpose of the installer hack is to permit users of solely “unsupported” Macintosh Web browsers such as iCab to install plugins for said browsers without the need to also install a supported browser that the plugin installer recognises. For example, the Flash 6 plugin installer only recognises Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera and Mozilla. If you use any other browser, you must still have one of the listed browsers present for the plugin installer to find and into which to install the plugin (never mind Mac OS’s global Internet Plug-Ins folder that everyone seems to have forgotten about).

Internet Unexplorer is a little 2 kbyte file that pretends to be Internet Explorer so that you can install plugins that support IE without needing IE to be present on your drive. The plugin installer believes that it has located a copy of IE on your machine (when all it really found was Unexplorer), and installs the plugin to Unexplorer’s Plug-ins folder (after which you can relocate the plugin). All you have to do to use this hack is place Unexplorer anywhere on your drive where the plugin installer will find it; it does not alter your machine in any form or otherwise affect the behaviour of the computer or any programs therein (although I disclaim this statement ;). However, please read the notes on memory allocation in the readme.

I have also made an alternative version, Unopera. This is because Opera plugins go straight to the operating system’s Internet Plug-ins folder. Since iCab supports this, iCab and other users may prefer to use Unopera because then they never have to relocate plugins after install.

A nod goes out to Bob for identifying the issue, and Sander Tekelenburg for suggesting increased publicity for the program (both from the iCab list). This hack is released as public domain.


Download the installer hack (StuffIt, 3 kB)

Download Unopera (installer hack v2) (StuffIt, 3 kB)

Technical notes

It turned out that it is not simply enough to use the creator code ‘MSIE’ and type code ‘APPL’ – the little file must not only be called “Internet Explorer” for installers to recognise it, but it must also have a ‘vers’ ID 1 resource of a high enough number that the installer will think you have a good enough copy of IE running. It just does not give you a break does it?