Well, its been over 6 years, I have upgraded IE several times, and their irritating brand is still present.
It turns out that this data is stored in the registry
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main BigBitmap = C:\WINDOWS\CPCUG1.BMP SmallBitmap = C:\WINDOWS\CPCUG2.BMP Window Title = Millkern Communications, Inc. Internet ExplorerOn another machine (Win 98) not poluted with this crap, these keys are completely missing. Using the Registry Monitor, only Window Title was checked (and not found), there were no checks for the 2 bitmaps.
Obviously, Microsoft approves of this ... otherwise they would have replaced these keys when you loaded a new version.