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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Fix Your Browser

My psychic powers are pretty potent when it comes to your computer, and I know the following things about you:

  1. You've seen naked people on your computer (even if it wasn't on purpose).
  2. There are toast crumbs in your keyboard.
  3. You use your web browser every time you turn on your computer.

See, I told you I was psychic.

My psychic powers also help me see into the future. Let me demonstrate. Put your fingers on the following sentence and hold them there while you read on:


Let's see. Yes, I know that your future contains some frustration. It's probably related to Internet Explorer 7. The web browser might make you say some very bad words, even if you are a nun.

Hasn't happened just yet? Just wait!

Vista comes with a new web browser version called Internet Explorer 7 (see Figure 9.43). It has had a significant overhaul since IE6, which was Microsoft's last browser designed for Windows XP.

Figure 9.43

Figure 9.43 Windows Vista comes with a new web browser called Internet Explorer 7.

Microsoft's web browsers have been a source of a lot of grief for Windows users, especially in XP. If your system has ever been infected by spyware or a virus, it likely came from one of two places: your email account or your web browser.

So, to address this, Microsoft built both Windows Mail (which I discussed in the previous section) and Internet Explorer 7 with security in mind.

New security features bring new problems. So let's look at some of the issues you might face when using IE7.

I Can't Download Add-ins

Some web pages will try to download extra pieces of software through your web browser. They might include mini-games, applets to enhance web pages' functionality, or even a little chat application.

This software is delivered through a mechanism called ActiveX that was well exploited by malware developers to install viruses, spyware, and Trojans on Windows XP (and earlier) systems.

In Vista and IE7, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to limit invisible downloads. It used to be that if you encountered a web page that had ActiveX, the add-in could be installed automatically. Not anymore.

A new feature called Protected mode has been added to IE7. When enabled, it demotes the privileges of the browser below that of the user who is logged in. The thinking is that a web browser, which is a fast lane to the content on the Internet, should not have all the rights and privileges of a user who is logged in as an administrator.

So, a web page has to work really hard to install add-ins on your system, without alerting you first. This is a good thing. However, when you encounter an add-in, you'll have to submit to a series of steps and alerts in Vista to allow its installation. Sometimes no matter what you do, an add-in installation will fail.

To remedy this, take the following steps to turn off Protected mode:

  1. In Internet Explorer 7, click the Tools menu.
  2. Choose Internet Options.
  3. Click the Security tab and look for the Enable Protected Mode check box at the bottom of the dialog box (see Figure 9.44).
    Figure 9.44

    Figure 9.44 If you run into problems installing IE add-ins, turn off IE7's Protected mode.

  4. Uncheck it and click OK.
  5. Make a note of what web page you are on and close IE.
  6. Start IE again. At the bottom sill of the new IE window, you will see Protected Mode: Off.

Now attempt to return to the page when the add-in tried to install and attempt the download again. This time it should install properly.

After you are finished installing the add-in, be sure to turn on Protected mode again.

I Can't Install Add-ins

Even if you can download an add-in by turning off Protected mode, sometimes it won't install properly because of Vista's security issues. To fix this, be sure to download it to your desktop first. Choose the Save option instead of the Run option when prompted. This will place the add-in as an installation file on your system.

Locate the item on your desktop, right-click on it, and choose Run As Administrator to install it without any further security hiccups.

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