Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What is a Web Browser?

A Web browser is a graphical user interface used to visit websites. Examples of web browsers include Internet Explorer, FireFox, MSN Explorer, Mozilla, Opera, and Google Chrome. Many of the browsers provided by ISPs are a branded version of one of the above, usually Internet Explorer. The AOL browser is basically Internet Explorer under the cover. How do I know? One day there was a problem with the IE browser, and I called AOL customer service on a related matter, and asked if it would be OK to uninstall Internet Explorer. Customer service was horrified at such a suggestion and informed me that under no circumstances should I uninstall it or AOL would stop working.

On a Windows XP or Vista, Internet Explorer is needed for proper updates to Windows. In one situation, when IE stopped working, all the patches, updates and service packs could be donwloaded from the Windows Update or Microsoft Update using MSN Explorer, but when installation of the downloaded patches, updates and service packes failed due to a broken IE installation, MSN Explorer also failed. Note that uninstalling MSN Explorer does not affect updates and installs, but a non-functional Internet Explorer can cause major problems.

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