Which of the two new versions of web browsers should I upgrade to? (Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 or Mozilla’s Firefox 2.0)
This question was answered on November 10, 2006. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
The quick answer to your question is either both or neither.
To me, it makes sense to have both browsers loaded, but it may not make sense to upgrade to either of the new versions just yet.
The initial Firefox browser which launched in 2003 was touted (and rightly so at the time) as far more secure than Microsofts browser and over 220 million downloads have been recorded since its launch.
While this sounds like a huge number, at last check Firefox had just over 10% of the browser market share, while Internet Explorer had @ 85% (The other 5% is shared between Apples Safari, Opera and a few other alternate browsers.)
Since it has become so popular, however, Firefox is now just as big of a target for hackers as Internet Explorer, so the initial reason to switch is becoming less of a reason.
The reason that I suggest you have both browsers loaded is that there is very little downside to installing both (IE is already installed and Firefox does not take that much disk space on todays computers) but can be very helpful when you are having issues on the Internet and it can help you decide which one you like better by using them both in your daily travels.
For diagnostic purposes, if you find that you can not go to a specific website in one, launching the other will quickly tell you if the problem is with the website or the browser This quick test can save you lots of time chasing the wrong end of a problem.
Browsers are one of the most highly targeted software products on the market because they can give hackers quick access to your computer if they can trick you into doing something that gives them permission Identity theft is the goal and one of the easiest ways is through a web browser (rouge websites, phishing scams, hijacking, redirecting, etc.)
One of the first indications that your system has been exploited is when your browser starts to act up Symptoms like slow performance, strange startup pages, pop-ups as soon as you launch or any peculiar activity that was not exhibited before will generally point to a browser based infection (another great reason to have an alternative browser installed).
The reason that I suggest that you not download either (for the time being) is that both are relatively new and we are starting to see some folks that are having various issues with their computer after downloading both of the new versions.
In fairness, the majority of folks that have downloaded either are not having any real problems, so if have already installed either of them and your system is in good working order, there is no reason to change anything.
If you do run into problems, you can generally uninstall either by going to the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel to revert back to the previous version
If you want to play it safe, wait for a couple more updates from both before you take the plunge!
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on November 10, 2006