That can make patching tedious, though.Yep, that's actually why I didn't even mention that option.
[EDIT No. 2] (continue to read the first edit ;) : In the following paragraph "You" is not directed at Bacterius, but to Karsten_, even though I just quoted Bacterius
And there's one more thing, I'd like to add:
I am not trying to advocate / defend the "dll-hell" Microsoft has brought upon us (I still don't understand that stupid manifest-thing), but your points are just showing the usual "GOM M$ is so evil" attitude that I cannot stand anymore. The Microsoft people I've talked to (all of them are engaged with VS or similar developments [e.g. C++ AMP]), are some of the smartest people (regarding software development) I've ever talked talked to. And... guess what... they are open for suggestions and corrections in a way that I have never experienced from any other company (or open source community). So imho, Microsoft has moved from being one of the "bad guys" to being one of the companies that I would love to work for.
P.S.: Can somebody disable that editing history please... ;)