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Microsoft IE 4.0 Rules...Your Desktop
By David Andrews, Forum Manager (1/9/98)

In its continuing quest for victory in the Browser War, Microsoft has recently released Internet Explorer 4.0, their first implementation of the Active Desktop and other integration into your Windows 95/NT operating system. I like the new interface; it closely resembles the rest of the Microsoft product line, so users familiar with the Office suite should find it very intuitive. IE 4.0 also appears to download pages more efficiently and is fully multi-media enhanced, so for those cyber junkies who must have the latest and greatest—and even regular PC users who just want the best from their web experience—get your browsers out and start downloading!

If you can’t acquire it on CD-ROM, IE 4 is a huge file to download, but Microsoft has made the process easier.

You first download a small installation program with a file recovery feature allowing you to download all of IE in small pieces. You don’t have to spend endless hours hitting the "No I don’t want to disconnect" button and can just continue from where you left off. (This is a much better way of downloading large programs; it’s about time someone implemented this.)

After downloading, you are offered the choice of three different types of IE installs. You can install the browser only, choose a normal install, or select a complete install that includes many other programs such as NetMeeting, NetShow Player, Outlook Express, Real Player, Front Page Express, Microsoft Chat, and the Web Publishing Wizard. If you are running on a slow system and have problems with either speed or memory, do not install the full version since the resources it hogs are huge.

If you install only the browser or choose the normal install, you will see little change in your desktop, but you will get a new browser packed full of great stuff. If you go the route of the full installation, you will see a drastic change in your new Active Desktop. This is basically your browser subscribing to the new push technologies that deliver live, streaming content—like news flashes and stock tickers—over the Internet. You will also notice that the Windows 95 interface has changed slightly; this change foreshadows the upcoming release of Windows 98, virtually identical to the look and feel of IE 4.

Be prepared for some problems if you install the full version. It changes so much of the Windows 95 interface that I’ve noticed a problem with stability. This seems to fade after time though it does cause me some concern. But if your system is not in a critical environment, I think the multi-media enhancements are worth a few extra re-boots.

Internet Explorer now supports much of what only Netscape Navigator could do. While certain HTML tags are still not supported between the two browsers, you will find almost no pages where I.E. 4.0 will not work. There are a few out there, undoubtedly made by some rebel refusing to be assimilated into the Microsoft Machine.

Enjoy, and I’ll catch you on the ‘net.

[ internet explorer 4.0 ]

David Andrews is an Applications Engineer and hardware addict with a background in software support. 

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