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Mozilla Firefox—Leaving IE Forever

Friends with tech inclinations have been telling me for months that I ought to move away from Internet Explorer as a browser. The most popular alternative was Mozilla Firefox. But I had so many other tasks to accomplish, and I didn’t want the headaches that were sure to come from a browser swap.

Things came to a head for me when I discovered yesterday that I had backed up (over all three generations of backups) several rather nasty pieces of spyware that my Computer Associates firewall and virus blocker had let through. I updated the firewall, and CA let me know that some other application was also trying to send information from my computer. They advised me to download a free spyware scanner to determine which application was giving problems.

I did. In addition to some virulent applications, it reported two spyware apps wrapped around the core of IE. I could reload the whole Explorer browser from scratch, or jump to a different browser. Nothing like a severe kick in the pants to move me out of my comfort zone!

I axed the IE with its trojan load, and downloaded the Mozilla 1.0+ Firefox browser, anticipating hours of tweaking to get it into a usable state. SURPRISE! Firefox downloaded in a jiffy, asked if I wanted to import bookmarks from my old favorites list, applied them, offered me a choice of home page (I picked my old one), and there I was. Surfing again.

The default interface is decidedly non-IE-like, so I went back to the Firefox site to look at “themes and extensions.” Two more downloads later (10 minutes, tops) I had an elegantly simple, comfortable interface.

Changes I love (aside from the relative security of Firefox over IE):

  • A search field like the URL field that feeds directly into one of a pull-down menu of search engines. Google is the default. You can add (or remove) other favorite engines, although Yahoo, eBay, Creative Commons, Amazon.com and Dictionary.com are in the default list.
  • The price. Mozilla Firefox is a free browser. Even better, its open architecture means that developers can easily create tools and applications.
  • Flash animations work again. An anti-spyware selection in IE security had closed down flash animation display. Truly a minor change, but I had not even realized they were gone until I switched to Firefox.

Two changes I dislike:

  • My personal assistant window in my home page refuses to open, even after I changed the Options to allow any pop-up windows from this site. I’m still working on resolving this problem, so after 2 hours of beating on the browser, this is a minor dislike.
  • Three sites with collapsible “tree” menus appear with the menus completely expanded, and I haven’t figured out yet how to restore the original look.

So for very little effort and no additional dollar outlay, I finally moved into the 21st century. In my browser, at least.

About DrPat

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    The best part of using Firefox is you can get an extension which tells you if Abe Vigoda is still alive.

  • http://the-between.blogspot.com/ Joel Caris

    I’ve been using Firefox since preview releases and was using Mozilla before that. It’s a great browser and makes a huge difference in keeping your computer spyware free.

    Also, it’s just has better features than IE and once you’ve spent some time tricking it out with extensions, it becomes truly amazing.

    I couldn’t live without Firefox.

  • Zdihu Hemracek

    Did you say “Hello” to your shiit today? No? Do it now.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “The best part of using Firefox is you can get an extension which tells you if Abe Vigoda is still alive.”

    Well, is he?

    (BTW, I just received my DVDs of the complete first season of “Barney Miller”…)

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    I had already encountered the Abe Vigoda status extension on a friend’s blog, so that wasn’t a snicker-generator this time.

    And I’m pleased to announce that the two things I disliked about Firefox were cleared up by downloading a version of Flashplayer that is compatible with my new browser. Once I had done that, the goodies came back.

    I love a 100% positive review! Visitors to my blog now have a button to get their own “Safer, Faster, Better” Firefox browser.

  • http://saltandice.blogspot.com/ John MacKenzie

    I’ve been using Firefox since it was known as Phoenix. I love this browser; it just keeps getting better.

    Be careful of the Adblock extension, though. It causes java problems with some sites.

    Also, the Tabbrowser Extensions extension sounds like a good thing, but is not worth the trouble it can cause you.

    Those are the two biggest problems I’ve had with Firefox.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    I have only begun exploring tabbed browsing. It seems to me that the basic browser has a pretty good feature for this, so I don’t anticipate wanting to pull the extension onto my system.

    I like the way you can drag a link to the toolbar and have the link open in the same window, but a new tab. I hope I won;t forget how irritating it is to click a link and have it replace the current window. (Why I always add the “target=’new’” switch to a link.)

  • Papi

    The tabbed browsing has easily been the most impressive feature for me. And the pop-up blocker has been a God-send.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    I went for Firefox, then was seduced by Opera. Don’t use IE at all anymore. But the trojans are getting wise – it seems a particularly virulent one has wrapped itself around Opera. Despite days of work trying to flush it out and away, I am still getting hammered with “loadingwebsite” ads popping up all the time. And what’s worse… when I use Firefox, Opera pops open to show off these damned ads, so there is no hiding from it. Nightmare City. I am going to have to figure out another way to deal with my email so that I can uninstall Opera, but that so sucks, because it took such a long time to get my email situated and filtered the way I want. Argggghhhhh.

    Thanks for the vent.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Firefox is terribly slow, IMHO – still use it though