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Internet Browsers

There are 3 main Internet browsers readily available to Windows computers. There are others, but I’m not familiar with them.

Internet Explorer is part of Windows and has been since Windows 95 came out in, well, 1995. Prior to that, we all downloaded Netscape and used that to surf the web. IE is probably the most vulnerable to attack by hackers since it ships with every Windows machine, so everyone has it. On the other hand, Microsoft issues security updates and new versions regularly to patch any vulnerabilities that show up. Most pages display correctly in IE, and most plugins work in it. Occasionally a Flash plugin might not work right requiring you to shift temporarily to Chrome or Firefox.

Google Chrome is the newest of the Internet browsers. It is a Google product and updated regularly. It is probably the best browser if you have a slow Internet connection (I live in the country and use a satellite connection. While it isn’t terrible, it doesn’t compare to the 50 mbps connections available in town). This isn’t because it is a better browser, though. It is because it keeps track of the sites you usually visit and pre-downloads the pages while you are reading others. Some people see this as an invasion of privacy, and I have to admit that there are times I am uncomfortable with it. On the other hand, I have less wait time that way. Privacy vs. convenience, hmmm.

Chrome also allows you to login with your gmail address to syncronize all your devices (cell phone, tablet, computer). That keeps all your bookmarks/favorites available regardless of which device you are using. Again, convenience vs. privacy.

Most pages display correctly in Chrome, and most websites work as expected (for instance for school classes using Blackboard or Moodle). Some do not, though, and you might have to revert to Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Firefox is an offshoot of the original Netscape code. It is a downloadable, free program from Mozilla.org. New versions are issued regularly, and it is somewhat less vulnerable to viruses than is Internet Explorer. Many people much prefer Firefox and it’s e-mail cousin Thunderbird. Honestly I haven’t used either personally, but my husband (who is quite computer literate) and a couple of my clients swear by it.

I recommend that you have at least one browser installed on your computer in addition to Internet Explorer. If IE has a security problem, you can shift to the other browswer until the problem is resolved. They are all fine software and will serve you well.