Charles Engelke's Blog

March 30, 2005

Time to Switch

Filed under: How To — Charles Engelke @ 12:09 pm

If you aren’t already using Firefox
instead of Internet Explorer, it’s time to start. We’ve had some
problems with Spyware here, and we know for sure that
most of it came in through vulnerabilities in IE. If you’re using
Windows XP with automatic updates on, your copy of IE isn’t as
vulnerable as it used to be, but (in my opinion) it’s still not
nearly as safe a browser to use as Firefox.

So here’s how to make the switch. It’ll only take a few minutes:

  1. Go to Get Firefox and
    download the current version for Windows, and run the installer.
    Just accept the default answers to any questions it asks (except
    accept the license).
  2. Run Firefox for the first time. It will ask if you want Firefox
    to be your default browser (say “yes”), and then lead you through
    importing your bookmarks from Internet Explorer. You’re ready
    to go now, but I suggest two more steps.
  3. Install the “IE View” extension for Firefox. You can use
    Tools/Extensions/Get More Extensions from the Firefox menus
    to do this, or just
    click
    here
    . You might get an “information bar” at the top of the
    web page about preventing the installation to protect your computer,
    but that bar will have a button you can click to allow the
    installation to proceed. A window will then pop up with a short delay (so you can
    think about what you’re doing). Click the Install button
    once it becomes available.
  4. Stamp out Internet Explorer from your machine by hunting down
    every icon that will start it, and deleting them. Look for
    IE icons in your Start menu, Start/All Programs, your desktop,
    and your quick launch toolbar. Each time you see one, right-click
    on it and select Delete. This won’t get rid of IE, it will just
    remove those ways of starting it.

Some web pages will only work properly under Internet Explorer, so
you may need to run IE once in a while. Since we got rid of all
the shortcut icons for IE, the only way you’ll be able to run
Internet Explorer now is by starting
Firefox first, then right-clicking on the background of a web page
and choosing “View this page in IE” from the context menu that
appears. Once IE starts, you can navigate with it as usual.

Following these steps should make your web browsing much more secure,
without eliminating any functionality you might ever need. And most
people who try Firefox end up liking it much more than IE, anyway.
I strongly recommend you do this.

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