In the last 4 years, we have been recommending that use of Internet Explorer (IE) be avoided for many reasons.
Those reasons included the fact that IE is slow and not as safe as other browsers. Since the release of Windows 10 in 2015, Microsoft has been phasing IE out and phasing Edge in. Microsoft Edge is their replacement for Internet Explorer.
It has now come to the point where the avoidance of IE is no longer a simple recommendation. It is an urgent recommendation now. We urgently recommend that you do not use Internet Explorer. The primary reason for the change in the urgency of this recommendation is that Internet Explorer is even less safe to use than it was because it has not kept up with changing technology. Microsoft hasn’t been releasing any security updates for IE for some time. In addition, more and more websites simply won’t work with IE. And it’s still slow.
What browser should you be using? There are more than 50 web browsers floating around the Internet. Many of them are very good. You can even get Apple’s Safari web browser on your Windows computer. However, our recommendation for web browser has not changed in years. We still recommend using either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. That goes for both Windows and Mac computers.
By the way, if you are using a Mac, you know that Internet Explorer was never an option for you as it was Windows only.
When Internet Explorer’s replacement, Microsoft Edge, was first released along with the first release of Windows 10, it had a lot of problems and was missing a lot of features. Over the past 3 years, Microsoft has improved it and added many of the missing features. While we don’t recommend Microsoft Edge, it’s pretty good now and if you use it and like it, you should continue using it.
The icon for Internet Explorer was a light blue lowercase ‘e’ with a golden halo around it.
Microsoft made the icon for Microsoft Edge very similar to Internet Explorer’s icon. It’s a darker lowercase ‘e’ but the ‘e’ has a little break in it. We’ve included the two icons here so you can compare them. Because the two icons are so similar, many people think they are using a newer version of Internet Explorer when, in fact, they are using Edge.
As always, be careful downloading programs from the internet. You can end up getting a fake program that is really a virus. Below are safe places to download Firefox and Chrome.
To the right are the icons for Chrome and Firefox. Chrome’s icon looks like a multicolored doughnut with a blue center. Firefox’s icon looks like a fox wrapped around the world.
You don’t have to choose one browser. You can have many browsers installed on your computer and you can even use them at the same time. In fact, it can be helpful to have both. When a website is created, it is often only tested with one browser and may not work with other browsers. So if a website doesn’t work right with one browser, you can try another one. Not including Edge or Internet Explorer, which come with Windows 10, I personally have 4 browsers installed on my computer and I use all of them for different purposes every day. Most people don’t need that many though. In case you are wondering, the other 2 browsers I use heavily that I didn’t mention in this article are Vivaldi (https://www.vivaldi.com) and Opera (https://www.opera.com).
One of the great things about these browsers is all of the add-on;s available. However, one of the worst things about these browsers is all of the bad add-on’s available for them. Browser add-on’s can enhance security, add features, and make your browsing experience much better and safer. However, there are a lot of malicious add-on’s and there are a lot of add-on’s that are poorly written and end up messing up your browser.
Some security related browser extensions we recommend are:
- Bitdefender TrafficLight
- uBlock Origin
These are available for both Chrome and Firefox (and many others). You don’t need all three. We recommend that you either use a combination of Bitdefender TrafficLight and uBlock Origin, or use Ghostery. We aren’t recommending one over the other. If you don’t want to fool with an ad blocker (they can cause issues), then just install Bitdefender TrafficLight. There are many other useful extensions. These are just the security related ones that we recommend. Note: Don’t go crazy with extensions as each one takes system resources and if you have too many it can slow down your computer.
While we are on the subject of web browsers, let’s touch on smart phones and tablets. These browsers, and many others, are available on your mobile devices as well. Like Windows, you don’t have to use the web browser that came with your device. Android devices usually come with Chrome as the default while Apple devices come with Safari.
As usual, let us know if you have any questions or need help with any of this, or anything else on your computer.