Break The Internet Explorer Habit

For many people, the Internet is synonymous with the Web. Actually the Web is a service that runs on the Internet, like email or file sharing; it happens to be the most popular service at the moment because it's so versatile. If you use Windows, you probably access the Web through Internet Explorer, the big blue E on your desktop.

I recommend that you not use Internet Explorer. Why? Because IE, for all that it comes with Windows, may not be the safest way to access the Web.

Built into IE are special mechanisms (collectively called ActiveX) used by web developers to create code. This is good in some ways; it makes web sites simpler and less expensive to design. Unfortunately the same mechanisms can also be used by viruses to infect your computer. Newer versions of IE offer more protection, but IE's intrinsic weaknesses are part of the reason why viruses are particularly virulent in the Windows world.

There is a Catch-22 in that some web sites require you to use Internet Explorer (or function so poorly without it that it's pointless to try). Often these addresses end in ".asp" or ".aspx," meaning they were written in Microsoft's web language. If you must use Internet Explorer, lock it down to minimize the risk. Otherwise I strongly encourage you to explore alternate web browsers.

In March I'll teach you about Streamlined Surfing. If you have any computer questions click Comments below this article, and don't forget to subscribe to the email version of Tech Tips for bonus tips and product reviews.

Posted byTriona Guidry at 12:34 PM  

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