Marshall Adult Education




TECH TIP – Alternate Web Browsers


The most common ways to get a virus or some other type of malicious software (malware), like adware, spyware, worms,  trojan horses, etc, is over the internet or through email.  And if you’ve contacted any of these malicious programs, you know the inconveniences you will experience, not to mention the expense if you have to take your computer to a technician to clean it up.


There is a lot of buzz about the insecurities of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Microsoft Outlook Express which allow malware to infect your computer..  You no doubt have heard about this.  It’s gotten so bad that Penn State has recommended to its 80,000 students to stop using IE and use an alternative browser to surf the web.  Read this article:


There are many voices on the web warning of the dangers of using IE and Outlook Express.  Here’s one:


There are some alternatives to using IE and more safely browse the internet.  I will mention a few good ones here.


Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla are probably the best alternatives to IE. 


Firefox is a web browser similar to IE.  It is just a web browser. 


Mozilla contains the web browser Firefox, but also has other features, including an email program called Thunderbird (similar to Outlook Express), an IRC Client (an Internet Relay Chat program – to chat on-line – gotta have that), and an HTML editor (used to create web pages).


Firefox is a excellent web browser.  The download is only around 4 MB.  The installation is easy and quick.  Occassionally, you may find a page that may have features that are unique to Internet Explorer and do not work properly in Firefox.  In these cases, you may need to download a Pluggin for the page to work properly – or just use IE for that page.  Try this browser out – you’ll like how it works.


Mozilla is around an 11 MB download.  It contains Firefox as well as several other features, including the excellent email program, Thunderbird.  I have not downloaded this yet but plan to – I’ll report on this when install it on my computer.  I would be particularly interested in the HTML Editor (to create web pages) as well as the email program.


Another alternative web browser that has a lot of people talking about is a program called Opera.  It also gets good reviews.  This program has a FREE version which displays ads, and also a commercial version which you purchase which eliminates the ads ($39). Read about Opera here.


And don’t forget about the venerable Netscape.  The new version (Version 7.2) is supposed to be excellent (as opposed to the late version 6.0 which was pathetic). Read about Netscape here:


Here’s some final tips: 

I use both Firefox and IE browsers.  When I go to my favorite sites that I know are secure, I use Internet Explorer.  When I surf the net randomly visiting sites I have no first-hand knowledge of, I use Firefox.  If I had young kids, I would probably ask them to use Firefox (like Penn State U).  I am still using Outlook Express – but I NEVER click on an unknown link in my emails and I NEVER open an attachment from someone I do not know.  I will try Thunderbird someday.


Here’s some links:


Download Firefox here


Download Thunderbird Here


Download Mozilla Suite here


On each of the pages above, you should check out the operating system and minimum hardware requirements.  Do that before you download any of the programs to make sure your computer is capable of running the software – particular if you have an older computer.  If you have a newer computer, you would definitely would be able to run all of the above


There are over 150 alternative browsers listed here if you want a comprehensive list.





Lyon County Government Center  •  607 W. Main St.  •  Marshall, MN 56258  •  (507) 537-7046

E-Mail:    Marshall Adult Education