The best browser for safe and speedy surfing

Scott spanbauer By Scott Spanbauer

If you spend much time on the Web, you need more protection and better performance than you get from Internet Explorer 7.

You have several alternatives to choose from, but only one offers the top rendering speed, the best compatibility with major sites, and the most customization options.

If you use Internet Explorer, you’re missing out

Once upon a time, in a cyberspace not so far away, Microsoft and Netscape engaged in a conflict called the browser wars. As soon as every copy of Windows included a copy of Internet Explorer (starting with Windows 98), it didn’t take long for Microsoft to declare itself the winner.

By the beginning of this decade, the overwhelming majority of Web activity took place via IE. Microsoft was so certain of IE’s dominance it even disbanded its browser-development team. For most Web users, innovation in browsing ended right there.

However, IE wasn’t perfect. Though eminently usable, IE lacked such handy features as tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking. And ActiveX — IE’s browser-based application technology — is a security nightmare, allowing carefully crafted Web sites to hijack your PC without your doing anything other than opening the infected page in your browser.

This drove security-conscious Web users to install alternative browsers, principally the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox and Opera Software’s Opera.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-07-10: