Acronym: IE or MSIE
Web browser from Microsoft for Windows and Macintosh, making up approximately 95% of all web browser users. A very common Internet tool that has not been updated with the times, IE can be harmful to run on a computer even when viewing reputable Web sites. IE does not block pop-ups, is rife with security problems (see below), and no new releases have been made in more than years. Originally based on the first graphical browser Mosaic, IE gradually took the browser market away from Netscape in the late 1990s and then stopped development. IE's decline finally began in early June 2004.
Suggested actions for users:
- Microsoft encourages users to update Microsoft Windows often as well as adjust settings to increase security, even though it may disable viewing some Web sites.
- On larger hard drives, Internet Explorer will take up an enormous amount of cache space, far more than anyone is likely to use. Because it is set to take up approx 3% of the entire drive, a 10 gig hard drive could use as much as 300+ megs of cache space, when the average browser really only needs 50 megs (at most). Even if IE isn't your default browser, it still helps to reduce this number. Visit the Tools menu, select Internet Options and click the Settings box. In the box next to "Amount of disk space to use" type in between 20 and 50 megabytes.
- Simple, easy-to-use interface and controls
- Currently free of charge
- IE loads comparitely quickly because of its integration with the Windows OS
- Security Problems
- No longer updated for any other browser than Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installed.
- Browser hijacking via Internet Explorer is increasingly common, adding Spyware, Adware and sometimes worse to your computer. Numberous unpatched Security vulnerabilities, broken SSL support, which is vulnerable to a man in the middle attack among many others.
- No pop-up ad blocking (see Getting_Rid_Of_Pop-Ups).
- No easy banner blocking.
- Future versions of Internet Explorer will not be free of charge. It is expected when the next version that appears with Windows Longhorn (due out 2006) the next version will be bundled with the new OS.
- The Macintosh platform is no longer being actively developed for. As a result or perhaps anticipating Microsoft's lack of further development, Apple created Safari.
- Incomplete standards-compliance (see W3.org)
- Incomplete PNG support.
- No tab support, although some IE mods provide this feature.
See also: Anti-Microsoft
On Windows, the two main competing browsers are:
- Mozilla/Firefox - free standards-compliant, and open-source browsers for every operating system. Continuously improving and developing.
- Opera - a commercial product focused on speed, available free in an ad-supported version or for a fee.
- AvantBrowser - updates IE to be more like Opera with tabbed browsing, popup blocking, and other features.
- SlimBrowser - among a number of IE modifications available that utilize the embeddable IE HTML-rendering component and provide various advanced features.
- IESpell - allows for spell-checking documents inside dialogue windows such as Web e-mail. Free for personal use only.
- Lockergnome.com - Why You Should Dump IE
- Developers gripe about IE standards inaction - "Because it owns the marketplace, Microsoft's under very little pressure to fix remaining IE 6 bugs," said Jeffrey Zeldman, an independent Web developer and co-founder of the Web Standards Project. - why competition is a good thing.
- Explorer vulnerability exploited again - "Just by surfing the Web with Internet Explorer, attackers can install anything, at will, on your system and you won't even know it."
- Internet Explorer drops development for the Mac (instead replaced officially by Safari and unofficially by Mozilla/Camino)
- Netscape no more
- An excellent look at the browser wars
- Slashdot: Microsoft Wins Browser War, Abandons 'Innovation'
- Liu Die Yu and Georgi Guninski are 2 regular IE vulnerability hunters. Liu also mains a list of unpatched internet explorer bugs (24 as of february 2004) and a list of possible bugs in internet explorer (9 as of february 2004).
- Back-up of Pivx unpatched MSIE database which mysteriously went offline.