Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Using Internet Explorer 6, Are you Kidding Me?

One of the fun reasons of hosting many websites is the information that I can collect from all the visitors.  No, I can't tell how old you are, what you wearing or other personal information but all web administrators collect information like what browser you’re using, your operating system, language and even your screen size.

Ultimately this information is used by website administrators to make your experience on the website more attractive and more compatible with your machine.  It's one way of telling how many people are still using Microsoft Windows and how many people are using Internet Explorer versus Firefox or Chrome

Information collected this month indicates that Windows 7 is now installed on more machines than Windows Vista. At least among my readers.

I did find one disturbing trend. Over 15 percent of my visitors who use Internet Explorer are still using version 6 or below. This is very scary.  “Using Internet Explorer 6 is is like leaving all your doors and windows open, then telling everyone on Facebook/Twitter your family is going on vacation.”

Break down of visitors using Internet Explorer


Most of my readers know I may not be an advocate for auto-updates but seriously folks, it’s time to update your browser if you’re still using IE6. There are so many vulnerabilities out there being used there’s a good chance you already have some kind of infection on your system and don’t even know it. Using IE 6, you’re most likely vulnerable to something called Drive-by Downloads.  That means a program could be installed on your system just by visiting a website.  You could change your mind and click out of it before you see it and it would still be too late.

If you’re one of my readers still using IE6, please take the time and update to Internet Explorer 8.  Most of my readers are using an alternate browser like Firefox or Chrome but there still may be times you’ll need to use Internet Explorer. If you do, you definitely want the newest version.

WinPatrol Users: You don’t have to exit WinPatrol during the install of IE8 but be prepared to respond Yes to questions about changes to your system.  On the WinPatrol PLUS Options “Hide Alert Messages” screen is a checkbox in front of “Hide and Allow Run Once programs…”.  This will make updates like this run quicker and smoother.

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Blogger יונתן עמיר said...

The browser isn't always the reader's choice.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Nilesh Govindarajan said...

Agreed, IE6 is very old, buggy and vulnerable;
Microsoft charges heavily for the OSes original license, so there are a lot of pirates out there.

And as per Microsoft's policy, upgrades won't be installed on pirated systems, so pirate users have to find hacks and cracked versions of the upgrades which sometimes can be tedious.

So users are left with no option other than to use IE6.

About Firefox and Chrome, I have no ideas about why they are not using either.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Reb Mordechai Reviews said...

We are trying to upgrade some 750 of our branches to use IE8 but we have many web applications, written in 2000-2003 that simply do not work in IE8, even after configuring security settings. Most we managed to get working using Compatibility mode but a few won't even work with this. They will have to be rewritten. Security is taken care of by our firewalls that block everything except our web applications.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my instruments can't use anything above NT 4.0 SP4. We could upgrade the software, but that involves $10-15k for a new computer as well. Probably not going to happen.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

For the longest time I was using IE6 despite the release of IE8. Then I upgraded to IE8 and couldn't stand the user interface! I can't seem to logically organize the toolbars (the Home, RSS, Page, buttons on the same toolbar as the tabs...), and the Internet Options is so difficult for me to understand that I finally moved away from it and went back to IE6.

For security reasons I did move to IE 7, but I just don't like the IE7/8 user experience. I try to avoid them as much as possible.

And I actually want to use other browsers besides FF because I find FF somewhat slow and a memory hog. Maybe I'll try IE8 again in the future but not now.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To get you really torqued, adding to my post above, I just saw that I'm using IE5.5 on that instrument. I can't install FF or Opera because FF requires W2k, and Opera requires NT SP6. Well, gotta go or I'll have to pay extra at the livery.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ouch anyone who cant afford to update from ie6 needs to get a new pc they not that expensive if shop around.....

4:46 PM  
Anonymous glenelbe said...

The real problem is M$ bloat and old computers which function just fine if it wasn't for the "system". All the new program updates are bells and whistles. Ram and HD pigs. Office 2007 has very little useful stuff which my Office 95 doesn't have. 98SE runs great. IE6 runs just fine, and they all fit on my 12.5 GB HD and run on 256 Mb of ram. I finally retired my $4600 Dell LT with 15 years of faithful service for a $500 Win 7 LT. It is admittedly nice, fast and obsolete as soon as I walked out the door. The system is about churn. The only reason my old LT had to go was I wasn't compatible with my business world. M$ is just playing a game to force everyone to upgrade and spend more money. By the time this new LT is done I will be running Linux, open office, chrome, gmail and M$ can kiss my ***.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not everybody can afford a new computer. There are some folk - including aged pensioners, people with disabilities, and the unemployed - who cannot afford the cost. Some, moreover, need to be fussy in what they buy. Arthritis may mean that they cannot handle a small keyboard, while poor eyesight may mean that they need a large screen. So the cheaper end of the computer market may be entirely closed off to them. Finally, buying a new computer may sometimes mean buying and/or learning to use new software, which can be an entirely additional problem.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Bill, my explorer 6.1, has not given me a malware hit in 4 years and my security, stops everything. My XPPro is lightning fast with 2gig ram amd 500 hardrive. I never have compatability issues, and laugh at all the forced vista,win 7 usrer's constantly reformatting or not having their favorite programs run.
Seniors especially are giving up on the unfriendly user interface. I see Microsoft had better come up with a SIMPLE easy to use desktop, soon. Mac is becoming the comp of choice in my land.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

i agree with Steve! i really like the IE 6 user interface. i am afraid to upgrade because i know it is different and i wont like it. are they ways to make it look the same? can u tell us what they are?

1:22 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

I only use IE6 on windows for one or two specific sites, most of the time its Linux & Firefox.

Tried IE7 & IE8 but it screws up my local area network - won't let me open an Access Database over the Network. Once you upgrade then it stops recognsiing sites you have placed in your intranet zone. Have searched and searched for a solution but no joy.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason I have IE Explorer is for various MS updates which INSIST on using IE Explorer. The rest of the time I use Firefox. I have auto update set on both.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried IE8, My computer will not operate the program. I am running a Legit copy of WinXP Pro SP3. IE8 loads part way and never finishes or else will load and when moving to a new tab will freeze. Will be moving to Linux, FF and Chrome.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I own a computer repair shop. It's astonishing how many of my customers still use computers built for Windows 98 or ME. Whenever possible, I upgrade their computers to Windows 2000, since that's generally more affordable for them than a new computer. Problem is, Win2k won't run anything past IE6. So what do you do? (I always install Firefox on any PC that I install/reinstall Windows on, before you ask. But convincing people to use it can be an uphill battle.)

For Windows XP... It's been our experience that IE8 is a disaster. It does not play well together with other programs on XP computers, especially our preferred AV solutions. We install IE7 instead. We do install IE8 on Vista and 7, but nothing earlier.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Eric Norberg said...

I have been running Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP with absolutely no difficulty whatever. Took little time learning it and now prefer it to all previous versions, too. No interest whatever in Chrome or Firefox. I publish a newspaper and reliability and security of computers is very important here, but IE8 is both. As is XP. I am using a number of older programs, too, with no problems.

10:42 AM  
Blogger marfaw said...

I use Firefox 99% of the time on a six-year-old XP SP3 machine (which does everything I want, quickly and efficiently). I have IE8 installed only for checking Windows Update, as a website test bed, just in case for security reasons, and because Live Messenger opens it when I check email. The only modification I did was use a registry patch to move the File menu above the nav buttons and address bar because Microsoft have taken away the customizing option since IE7 (and Vista).

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IE8 works great so far on my new Win 7 laptop. However, after resisting the upgrades for years I finally did it on my XP desktop. As expected, it does not function well - glitches, hangs as much or more than 6. In my experience, new browers just don't work smoothly with older OS.
I also do not like the interface of IE8, finding it cumbersome and time consuming, I especially miss the Quick Launch toolbar.
With the new laptop as a backup, I plan to experiment with other OS/browsers on my desktop.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a 67 year old pensioner on government pension so not much spare cash. I recently purchased a 4 year old IBM ThinkCenter (p4 3ghz, 500mb ram 40gb hd 17" lcd monitor WXP Pro with coa) computer off ebay for less than $90. Point? Cheapies are out there, looking is essential. I am running IE8 which can be a little slow sometimes (esp ebay/paypal). Other times it is as fast as lightning. Depends on the website being visited. Norton Premier helps also

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our national non-profit organization has several programs that will not run reliably on anything above IE6. Very frustrating. I run Firefox whenever possible, but have to keep IE6 for work-related programs.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IE8 works just fine on my XPsp3 computer.It took a little getting used to it,but now I like it just fine.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Explorer who? Been off of it for years now...first NetScape now FireFox...CHUCKLED when MS had to play catch-up an copied all of NS's/FF's brilliant ideas...such as tab browsing

9:13 PM  
Blogger Big Geek Daddy said...

I just checked my stats for the last 30 days and only 5% of my visitors are using IE6. What is more scary is over 50% of them aren't using the latest version of Flash.

10:14 AM  

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