Time to Dump Internet Explorer

By Per Hansson ยท 70 replies
Jun 18, 2004
  1. The latest version of IE is 6, and it has certainly accumulated an impressive record of holes: 153 since 18 April 2001, according to the SecurityFocus Vulnerabilities Archive.

    So, when was the last time that you upgraded IE to get new functionality instead of fixing the latest security hole?
    Please do the Internet community a whole good, take 10 minutes and read this article at Securityfocus.com and then decide if it would be such a bad thing to go away from IE.

    I'm using Opera myself but the author recommended Firefox. Both of these are excellent browsers that continually get improved.
  2. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    I'll continue using it as I always have. I've tried all alternate browsers and they all lack a lot. Opera, Firefox.. you name it. Slow, ugly no matter what skin you use, and face it.. whether or not they are up to the HTML standards they lack compatibility with way too many sites because websites obviously do not live up to HTML standards in most cases. Why because they design their websites for the majority of people. Which is? Internet Explorer.

    Plus I hate installing useless software when I already have software that does the same job fine.

  3. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    So you prefer to install IE + 153 patches + AdAware + Spybot + pop-up blocker + tabbed-browsing extension instead of installing one browser that has it all ?

    I see your point, at least I think I do.;)
  4. joseph.denne

    joseph.denne TS Rookie


    It's a basic argument, but the poster is right to urge the dropping of IE. Along with Outlook Express it is the single most exploited application and is akin to leaving your front door, back door and windows open whislt advertising that you've done so in the local gazzet.

    For the Mac users out there I suggest stepping up to either Safari or Camino. Both are excellent browsers.
  5. jstillion

    jstillion TS Rookie Posts: 91

    I've been using Firefox since the version before they had an installer :)

    I've found it as fast as IE or faster easy to use and compatible with 99.9 % of sites that I use.

    Even though it's "Preview" aka beta. The only problems I've had were with one version and the installer (older version installing on top of a previous build which they fixed).

    It's fast, stable supports web standards and the pop-up blocker works great and easy use.

    Went to Firefox and don't ever see me going back to IE.
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I must admit, I've been drawn closer and closer to Firefox recently. Some of the skins are very nice and they work well.
  7. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    I tend to side with Acid here. I've looked at others....even tried them and found them all lacking. I've used IE since its' inception (usably Ver. 3.0) and overall, I've been very happy.
    It's the same argument as O/S holes. The hackers are going to go after the most popular, hence, if Firefox or another garnered the largest user base, it would "most likely" be the one most-hacked. You'd see holes never before imagined. They just haven't been found due to lack of interest.

    Just my $.02.
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I too, will continue using IE (at least for awhile).

    Especially with the XP SP2 enhancements, like pop-up blocker and smarter activex handling.

    I have no use for tabbed browsing (Opera) and while I do like Firefox very much as a secondary browser, some websites just don't work properly. Especially when we get into newer technologies that require plugins, controls and other funky things.

    I don't have any problems with IE, including spyware or crashing, but I sure do see a lot of other people with problems at work. ;) I think as long as you take care of it and don't download p0rn all day, IE works great.
  9. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Exactimondo. I see using "alternative browsers" as nothing but a cliche and a trend.

    As far as what Didou said about installing Spybot, Adaware, Google Toolbar and that kind of thing. Well I happen to like the Google Toolbar so I can just click on the search field when I want to search on Google, since I do it constantly it is nice not to have to go to Google.com every single time.

    As far as Spybot/AdAware, well you will have to have those anyway no matter what browser you use. Then again if you are smart and know what your doing you won't get Spyware/Adware. The only spyware/adware I normally see on my PC are cookies which I could care less about. Maybe every 3 months something else might come up, but I *never* have any popup problems or anything of that kind.

    IE is right for me.

    P.S. I hate "tabbed" browsing. It's seriously annoying and inconvenient.
  10. Steg

    Steg TS Rookie Posts: 269

    Heh - not with the latest release (v0.9) - they fudged up the skins handling completely - the dev forums recommend not using them atall as they are too buggy. Should be fixed soon I hope.
    I totally fail to see your point of view here - using Firefox and tabbed browsing i can have 8 webpages open and various other programs without having stupid numbers of windows open and i can view source in browser instead of having to use notepad or some other piece of software. With a bit of tweaking with extentions you can set it up to open new tabs on a middle-click on a link etc and then set up keyboard shortcuts for switching tabs.
    So one big plus point is Firefox is ALOT more customisable.

    Another great thing about Firefox is the amount of space you get - the functionality of the Google toolbar is included without taking up extra space and the whole interface seems more streamlined. The 'search with google' box is next to the address bar and it also supports searching the current page and any other search engine you could name.

    A large problem is see is the lack of ActiveX support in any of the browsers that are not IE. This affects the Fileplanet download system for one. All other major plugins (Flash, shockwave, java, antileech etc) have versions for Firefox and they are easy to find so that does not pose a problem.

    Personally, security does not matter a jot to me - i dont use a virus scanner or a firewall (other than the NAT firewall in my router). Since i dropped IE ive stopped using Adaware and seen no ill-effects & I have quite sucsessfully never got a virus. IE's annoying habit of allowing scripts to install software, modifiy the registry or (most annoying and commonly) add favorites without consent was annoying but firefox has solved that - admitedly most websites dont cause these problems but its nice to be secure in the sense.

    Intrestingly what origionally atrracted me to Firefox was the name.....

  11. abc

    abc TS Rookie Posts: 39

    I personally love firefox. I have been using it since version .2, and before that, Opera. Tabbed browsing, mouse gestures, pop-up blocking, integrated google search (ctrl+k), and less spyware (not all spyware comes form pr0n) are the highlites of Firefox.

    The only negative I've noticed from using Firefox has been when at someone else's house I try to middle click links and use mouse gestures in IE. ESPECIALLY when you try it multiple times with the person wondering what in the heck you are doing; not good when trying to fix their computer. "I know what I'm doing, honest"
  12. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Im all Rick right here.. not a single prob. I have the google toolbar, which means easy search at my finger tips, it blocks popups, and dont roll in the pr0n spyware.

    All this patch stuff.. I've never noticed, maybe its just because they take 2secs to dl and install, and dont come all at once?

    I've never had a virus/trojan/worm,etc, I have a hardware firewall, so I assume thats whats keeping the badies away.

    Plus, the other browsers just arent as good in my eye.

    And I too, dont like tabbed browsing...I guess its just because Im used to having my windows :)
  13. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    I am 100% fine with having Windows open myself. If your browsing 15 different pages at once then it's your own fault. I dont ever have more than two IE windows open.

    And all these.. "advantages" to alternate browsers.. just excuses to follow the cliche. I have yet to see one valid point in the past year from anyone about an alternative browser such as Firefox or Opera. I've used them all and gave them a chance. I've used them all several times for the sake of proving my point, only to switch back to IE each time.
  14. Steg

    Steg TS Rookie Posts: 269

    Perhaps is just one of those things some geeks do.

    Just to take a completely different tack and go slighty off topic - Linux is another example of the same thing - I, personally, cannot see the bonus of using Linux - it plays games slower, I have to rebuild the kernal just so I can compile graphics card drivers (nvidia drivers for 2.6.x - FC2 comes with 2.5.x or something) and any program that I want to run either can't be run or needs emulating! Where is the advantage in that? Windows does everything I want it to without having to fight it. But many people here will swear blind the Linux is the only OS the use.

  15. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    I'm with Acid on this discussion also - I will continue using IE for some time because none of the current browsers work nearly as well for me. I do, however, open 15 IE windows at a time - but I have no problems navigating them :) IE with the Google Toolbar and Adaware + Spybot - that's all for me.
  16. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Well, I don't like IE at all, but not because of security problems, but because it isn't very user friendly and doesn't support tabbed browsing (amoungst other things).

    If you have lots of windows open in a tabbed browser, you can close all of them at once by closing the main browser window. Mainly, tabbed windows are good for doing research on the web, where you might want to click on links, but still be able to view the starting page.

    Opera has a ton of very useful features that work well, and the only reason to use IE is because some other windows software requires IE in order to function. It does take some time to get used to using alternative browsers, but once you have tried it, then going back to IE is painfull to say the least.

    I only use it when I have to, not that its bad, but because there are better browsers out there, notably Opera 7.51.
  17. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,959   +217

    Here I have just got to comment on something I did in school a month or two ago.

    I do surf some pron I'll admit that but this time it was just to proove my point...

    I searched for porn via google using IE and happily clicked all links that came up... I did this for about 30 minutes.

    Then we scanned that computer with Ad-aware, it found 30 running spyware processes and over 300 spyware files!!!

    Next I did the same thing with Opera, I visited the same sites etc (well, as close as I could..) After 30 minutes of porn surfing we closed Opera and did a new scan with AD-Aware, the only thing it found this time where 4 cookies!

    So I fail to see your point here Acid that regardless of what browser you use you have to have AD-Aware installed...

    P.S when I do porn surf I don't blindly search on google, I have my "ad-free" sites ;-)

    P.S.S; tabbed browsing is great. but that is just because just like you say I'm "crazy" and often have over 20 windows open... (I usually let them download and then read them when I have disconnected since I'm on dialup but I do the same on broadband...)

    Let me give you a good point to use Opera; when it crashes (or your computer) it remembers what windows you had open and asks you if you want to open them all up again, now that is a time saver when the power goes out and you just had to have all those links in your next-day work ;-)

    It also remembers what windows you just closed so you can simply go to Window > closed and get it back... No need to bang your head against the wall...

    I could go on and on but I have better things to do now, downloading... "family pictures" :p
  18. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Still none of those points bring anything to the table that would make me want to switch browsers.
  19. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    The tabbed browsing feature is nice if you have multiple links from one central page that you want to visit.

    For example, imagine I wanted to do some research on heart disease. I find a page on what is heart disease. I find a page about hypertension. Then another page about cholesterol. Finally a site on the treatment of heart disease.

    Now assume that there are two more links for the page on heart disease, hypertension, cholesterol, and treatment.

    That is a whole lot of backtracking to be doing with the first central site without tabbed browsing.

    Tabbed browsing is good when things get fairly complicated so that you can organize things without forgetting where the heck you were before.

    Having alternative software around is good even if you do use IE. Thanks to alternative browsers, IE finally had some incentive to include pop-up blocking to try to not allow marketshare to Opera, Firefox, etc.

    These alternative software push Microsoft to create better software and not bask in its wealth lazily. Microsoft is trying to squash Linux now because a lot more people and businesses view Linux as a little bit more secure than Windows than before.

    Even if you do not use alternative software, understand that it plays a part in Microsoft trying a bit harder to crush the competition with "better" products.
  20. me(who else?)

    me(who else?) TS Rookie Posts: 387

    I just switched to Firefox, it took 5 minutes (to get extensions, etc.) to set up, and now I have all the benefits (tabbed browsing, etc.) with smaller risk of hacking/spyware. I also find the google search much easier and convenient than an entire taskbar to preform the same functions.
  21. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    Just a quick poll, but when was the last time anyone suffered any adverse effects from spyware?

    I hope we all know that after a session of surfing ' questionable' websites it is importat to wipe down with a vigorous session of spybot, AVG and your favorite source of absolution. That said, I dl'ed firefox (~5mb in 10 seconds so why the hell not) and Ill give it a go, but at the first sigh of a help file it goes right in the trash. Who has the time?
  22. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    other than the way the cursor inverts the text as you type, it seems fine to me- maybe a tick faster than IE even
  23. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,674   +990

    Security issues aside... it will always come down to the fact that there is no program that will make everyone happy. I see some of you trying to convince Acid of moving away from IE, in the other hand he seems to be happy with it.

    In my case it took a while until I found the advantage of moving to Firefox which is now my #1 browser of choice along with IE that I keep using only for more trusted sites.

    In any case although I won't add up much to the discussion, I wanted to say that if I were you I'd stop trying to convince people that much once you have warned them once... instead they will probably learn the hard way or in the best of the cases remain happy the way they are, even when they are missing something better.
  24. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    I've been using IE for about 8+ years with no problems :).

    Heck, I'll even download Firefox again right now and MyIE and give them a go again, just for boredom sake. It won't last a week though :p.

    Spyware is no big deal. Besides when I scan I only find cookies and on the rare occasion something else which usually comes from AOL or another source.

    Users fall under two categorys.

    One, you are a techie and most likely know how to stay away from dangerous things on the web, maybe have a firewall/AV, etc.

    Two, your a normal user.

    Now, a normal user is not going to switch browsers, because they usually do not know about them, dont want to hassle with installing them and definately won't deal with setting one up or dealing with the hassles of incompatibility on sites designed for IE (which is MOST sites).

    A techie doesn't need to change browsers because he/she can most likely prevent himself from getting in to trouble.

    In either case, there is no need for an alternative browser other than wanting to use those "added features" you all talk about. In my case I could care less about those features.

    It will be a very long time before the majority of the public aren't using Windows anymore, so it will be an even longer time before the majority of users aren't using IE.
  25. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    Been using firefox for all of an hour now and I F*ing hate what it does to the cursor- windows looks a-la '98
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