Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Stop using Internet Explorer

Firefox browser is safer, faster on most Web pages and has more features

Special to State

It’s old, outdated, creaky and leaky and maybe it’s time you kicked Internet Explorer (IE) to the curb.

IE has not had a major update since early 2002, when it shipped with Windows XP. A new version, 7.0, is rumored to be released sometime this fall, but whether it will be more secure remains doubtful.

If IE has all these problems, why aren’t users flocking to other browsers? In fact, many are, and its market share has fallen from about 99 percent to 85 percent. Firefox, open source and free, is taking up most of the slack, but fighting IE is hard because it ships with every Windows computer and most use it because it doesn’t need to be installed.

If you are still using IE, you are not as safe on the Web nor are you enjoying the fruits of a modern browser. With Windows’ Automatic Updates turned on, there is no reason to use it unless you visit a Web site specifically written for IE.

You need to get Firefox because:

• It is safer. Firefox security updates are released almost as soon as a problem is discovered, while IE updates are delayed for weeks.

Firefox also is safer because it is not integrated into the Windows operating system like IE, which allows worms, spyware or Trojan horses more chances to enter a system.

• It is faster on most pages.

• It has more features, such as tabbed browsing which lets you have more than one Web page open at once. If you use tabbed browsing once, you will never go back.

Quick directions on downloading and installing Firefox:

• Search at Google for Firefox. One of the first links will take you to the Firefox page. Or just type

• Click on the big green link labeled Download Firefox. It is less than five megabytes.

• Uncheck the box that says “Close this dialog box when download is complete.” When the download is complete, click on “open” and the install begins.

When asked to make it your default browser, click on no for now. I’m betting in a few weeks you’ll want it to be your default browser.

Now, go to the Control Panel and turn on Automatic Updates, and the only time you’ll need to open IE is for a Web site written specifically for it.

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