It seems like Microsoft had just won the Internet Browser War with Netscape not all that long ago. Since Internet Explorer came preloaded with Windows, why would anyone go out of their way to download a competitive Internet Browsing product, even if it was free? Surprisingly, several new challengers have arisen in recent years to give Microsoft some fresh competition. I tend to use 2 Internet browsers myself for different reasons.

Internet Explorer is still the most widely used browser with Versions 6 and 7 the most common. Of these, Version 7 is recommended since it is better equipped to handle the ravages of the current Internet environment with all of its viruses, adware, spyware, assorted malware and poisoned web-sites. A good up to date Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware program is also essential in protecting your computer from the nasties on the Internet.

So why would you want to use a different browser? The most common answer is speed. For reasons I don’t fully understand, many web-sites load relatively slowly under Internet Explorer. On my computer ( A Pentium IV - 3.2 Ghz Single Core With Hyper Threading) TSN.CA fully loads in about 20 seconds under Internet Explorer. The same site loads in 4 seconds on Firefox. On a newer computer with a dual core processor the difference is much less. This seems to be due to a focus on dual core processing which Explorer 7 and Windows Vista are designed to utilize more efficiently.

So whether you could benefit from switching to a product like Firefox may depend on the processing level of your computer. It should also be noted that other web-sites display much more similar load times under Internet Explorer on older computers. It seems that web-site design can also be optimized for dual core processors as well and these sites may be slower in the absence of dual core.


Internet Explorer – ( 67% ) Microsoft’s Flagship and still by far the most popular browser.

Mozilla Firefox – ( 22% ) the most popular alternative browser in the Windows world.

Safari – ( 8% ) Native to the Apple but adapted to run on Windows for those who like the Apple browser experience on their PC .

Chrome – ( 1% ) Created by Google still in early development and a little Spartan but also quite fast and has some nice features.

Opera – ( 1% ) Been around for quite a while and still has its followers. Easily customized.

While I tend to use 2 browsers myself there are still some sites that I will only access with Internet Explorer. Internet Banking, Canada Revenue Agency and some other sites may only be fully secure under Internet Explorer. In many cases the site will give you a warning that it has not been tested with your browser.

Microsoft spends the most time and money reinforcing the Internet Security functions of their browser. They are also the biggest target for the Internet’s criminal element. On the plus side Internet Explorer and Firefox are used frequently enough that most AntiVirus and Internet Security programs will integrate quite smoothly into their operation. Lesser known browsers may not be quite as well protected.

If speed was the only issue then a newer dual core computer would likely put the alternative browsers out of business but most alternative browsers also have a different look and feel as compared to Internet Explorer. Some people like the simplicity of a product like Chrome while others like the ability to customize their browser which can be done with Opera. It ultimately comes down to a matter of what you feel most comfortable using.