Software Information

Internet/web browsers

An Internet or web browser is the software that is used to access the Internet. All of them have been free ever since Microsoft started providing its browser, Internet Explorer, free of charge many years ago. Before then, you had to pay for the only browser – Netscape Navigator, which has become incorporated into the free Mozilla Firefox browser.

There are many web browsers that can be used with a version of Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7/8.1/10 or the Linux or Apple OS X operating systems.

Windows 10 comes with Microsoft’s new web browser called Edge, which Microsoft is constantly improving. internet Explorer (IE) used to be the most used browser, but in recent years has not been developed as it should have been. Consequently, IE has been overtaken by Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome browsers.

I use Firefox because Google uses Chrome to gather information about its users that is used to compile user profiles that are used to deliver customised ads across the web to those users.

Microsoft Edge –

Internet Explorer, now up to version 11.0 (IE 11), is provided as part of Windows 8  and 8.1 and can’t be used with earlier versions of Windows (XP/Vista/7).  IE 10.0 is available for Windows 7, but not for Vista or XP. Support for XP ended on April 8, 2014 and only IE8 can be used with it. IE10 is the most popular browser because it is built into Windows 7, but there are others, such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera, Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari, that are just as good or better.

If you value your privacy, you should avoid using the Google Chrome browser, which Google is advertising extensively across its own ad network, or even using a Google account (Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Earth, StreetView, Android phone or tablet, etc.) because, like all Google’s so-called ‘free’ services and products, it supplies Google with information it uses to compile a personal database of each of its users that is used to track them across the web and deliver them with personalised ads. To put that to the test, try visiting, say, a property-related website (e.g., estate agent) and then visit a non-property-related website or blog that runs Google ads and you should see that some of the ads will be property-related. It doesn’t have to be a property site, any kind of specialised site, such as a clothing site will do. You may have provided Google with partial information about yourself in more than one Google account, but since March 1, 2012, Google’s single set of privacy policies, which has brought about a privacy-firestorm worldwide, allow it to combine all of that information into a single personal profile. Here is an interesting development [13 May 2014].

Europe grants the ‘right to be forgotten online’: EU court will force Google to remove people’s personal data from search results on request –…

Alex Hanff, an Englishman, has sued Google for £400 – the cost of his Android phone – over its new privacy policy. He said: “The changes are a significant infringement of my right to privacy and I do not consent to Google being able to use my data in such a way.” His objection is about being forced with no opt-out to log on to a Google account in order to be able to use the features of his phone and download apps from Google Play.

Internet Explorer 9.0 doesn’t run on Windows XP, so many users of that version of Windows are abandoning IE for the alternative web browsers instead of having to keep using the relatively poor and elderly IE8. The latest versions of alternative web browsers – Firefox, Chrome and Opera – support Windows XP (in May 2014).

In Windows XP, it is not possible to get rid of IE. Removing it via Add or Remove Programs (in the Control Panel) merely Windows reverts to IE7 if you have IE8 installed and IE6 if you have IE7 installed. IE is required for Windows to access Windows Update, but Microsoft has ended all support for Windows XP, so there is no need to use IE8 at all now.

You can install all of those browsers and use them all at once, but only one of them can be made the default browser that is used automatically when, for example, you click on a link in an email, click on a Favorite. Each of them will ask you to make it the default browser, but you can refuse to do so and keep the existing default browser or make a particular browser the default one via its internal settings options. Every version of windows allows the user to set the default programs. For example, in Windows XP you can set them by clicking Start (button) => Set Program Access and Defaults. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, enter the words Set your default programs in the Start => Search box to be provided with a clickable link that brings up a window with that title. The following page provides the information required to set default programs in Windows 8.

The following Wikipedia page provides the latest information on Internet Explorer, which was up to version 11 in May 2014. IE11 is available for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 only.

Wikipedia provides the latest information on all of the other major web browsers, such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, and Opera.