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Internet Explorer - Should I Upgrade or Switch?

written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 8/31/2009

Considering whether to upgrade Internet Explorer or switch to another browser? These tips might help you decide.

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    To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade

    I get this question more often than you would guess, but people ask me, “What do you think? Should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 8?” My answer is as terse as it has always been through the years – “YES, you should upgrade Internet Explorer.”

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    A Tale of a Few Browsers

    This question boils down to two fundamental concerns:

    1. If you are using IE and have been for a while, it would behoove you to upgrade because of the security features integrated into the new browser. Sure, you could upgrade for the “Web Accelerators” and the other nonsense that Microsoft thinks it is throwing in as a value proposition, but a great browser is the one that is the safest and fastest, and that will never be Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Security is pivotal to keeping viruses out of your PC, so it is worth your time to upgrade.

    2. If you are not using IE (Good for you, you actually went out and looked up something better), upgrade anyway. There are programs that use IE8 as a means of browsing the web on an internal browser, and there may come a time when a website does not work on your beloved Firefox or Chrome, and that is when you need to whip out the Internet Explorer. It would be bad for you to contract a virus from your limited use of IE, which is why it is important to upgrade.

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    Why Shouldn’t I Be Using IE?

    I applaud you for at least asking the question like a good skeptic. It is simple, IE is the worst browser currently available.

    But it is fast!

    Yeah, it may be fast, but not when compared to the latest builds of Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox, or if you are desperate, Apple’s Safari 4. These third-party browsers undergo extensive testing to make sure they are speedier than ever, and Chrome’s 2.0 build is so fast it surprises me from time to time; Firefox’s latest 3.0 build is also quite zippy. Internet Explorer is routinely at the bottom of the browser speed lists for a simple reason – Microsoft does not expend the effort necessary to make a really great product.

    But it is fully featured!

    Not to put a damper on your day, but if you think IE is “fully featured,” then you are in need of a bigger detox than I can provide. IE is not the least featured browser around, but it does not rank high. The king of this category is Firefox, where the only thing it will not do is make you a sandwich while you are out. Firefox’s extensions have become the stuff that great browsers are made of – GreaseMonkey, NoScript, and various Ad-Blockers are still the best currently available in the broad market.

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    So What Should I do?

    If you would still like to upgrade Internet Explorer, you can find detailed steps in the Bright Hub article, Upgrade Microsoft Internet Explorer.

    If you’re still using Internet Explorer and think it’s time for a change, follow this:

    If you’re in the market for a great, fast browser with a ton of customizable extensions and skins, go grab Mozilla Firefox 3.0.

    If you’re in the market for the fastest browser around with an awesome user interface and industry-changing home page, go grab Google’s Chrome 2.0.