Internet Explorer


Internet Explorer

The oldest mega browser bundled with Windows


Our rating: 


Pros & Cons:

Amazing speed, minimalistic interface, pinned sites, improved web standard compliance, download manager with malware protection, tracking protection, hardware acceleration, good OS integration.
Tab handling not as good as others, limited extension support, not as cloud friendly, no cross platform syncing, Windows only.

Our Review:

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is the oldest of the mega browsers — it was first released with Windows 95 in, you guessed it, 1995 — and it has traditionally been the most popular because it is bundled with Windows. It is currently built on the Trident engine which is used by several other browsers

For several years, thankfully long past, IE fell far behind the other browsers and lost some market share as a result. That decline has continued initially due to gains by Firefox but more lately by the dominance of Chrome. At the same time as IE's influence declines its more recent releases have provided major improvements that keep it competitive with the other browsers in some specific areas. Even so IE would be considered to be in third place in comparison to Chrome and Firefox.

Many think the only reason IE is still competing in the browser wars is because its so widely distributed. The latest version however has demonstrated that IE is more stable, more secure and much faster then earlier versions. The interface is clean, Chrome like, with minimal menus, a clean simple appearance and inconspicuous icons for quick access to favorites, settings and the home page. Press the ALT key to reveal the neatly hidden traditional menus. If you're a traditionalist, use Alt to access the menu and select View | Toolbars, where you can turn on the hidden traditional toolbar appearance.

IE needs improvements in comparison with Chrome. Tab sandboxing, the ability to control crashes by isolating them to the tab instead of crashing the entire browser. IE lags behind Chrome and Firefox in the add-on/extension realm but significant improvements have been made. For example, using the tracking protection add-on will help prevent third parties from gleaning information about your browsing habits. IE does offer some useful utilities, like the performance dialog for add-ons. If the browser speed is being impacted by add-ons, a message pops up. Open the the Choose Add-ons window to see what is slowing the browser and make changes. Security is strong with Tracking Protection and SmartScreen Filter. If you read some of the recent free PDF reports on browser security at NSS Labs you will see that IE is strong in this area particularly providing security against socially engineered malware.

My wife uses IE as do many people working in large organizations or those at home who don't realize that they can change. IE's seems to suit her very well as she never asks me for help with it. The only change that I have made is to install some Internet safety checks so she is not blindly accessing risky web-sites.

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