Technology Advisor Blog

Latest Internet Explorer Security Threat - What you can do.

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 5/1/14 7:52 AM

The latest security vulnerability is all over the news.  Microsoft is working on a fix to address a flaw that could potentially allow hackers to gain remote access to systems. This flaw affects all versions of Intenet Explorer (about 55% of the browser market) and a patch is expected soon.  If you're still running Windows XP, support has ended and there will not be a security patch.

In the meanwhile, here's what you can do.  The first option is to use an alternate browser for a while, such as Firefox or Chrome. If you're doing general surfing, this is the best course of action for now.

Manage Add-OnsIf you need to run Internet Explorer (many applications rely on it), it is recommended that you disable Adobe Flash.  The security flaw requires Adobe Flash, so if its disabled, you'll be ok with this threat.  

Here is how to disable Adobe Flash.  In the upper right hand corner of Internet Explorer, select the "gear" icon, and then select "Manage add-ons" from the pull-down menu.  Selecting this will enable you to pick from a list of all the add-ons to your browser and then disable Adobe Flash.

DisableAdobeFlashSelect Adobe Flash from the list of "Toolbars and Extentions", and then press the "Disable" button.

Note that when Flash is disabled, some web features won't work, so this is a temporary work around.  

One of the questions we frequently hear is "why are Microsoft products so insecure"?  The technology underlying all the daily things you do on the web is very complex, and there will constantly be vulnerabilities.  None of us are willing to give up the web, but we will need to live with some risk.  Hackers will go where the market share is, and Microsoft dominates the market.  Microsoft also diligently issues patches (which are free) to update products as new vulnerabilities are discovered.

Keep in mind that if you're still running Windows XP, there are no more security patches for this "retired" operating system.  The next few months will be interesting as hackers may try to exploit this since about 25% of computers world wide are still running XP.  Stay tuned...

Tags: Internet Explorer, Security, Adobe Flash

Use "Favorites" in Internet Explorer

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 4/4/14 11:31 AM

IE FavoritesDo you visit a lot of the same web sites over and over again?  Some examples may include line of business applications, banking, tax sites, etc.  Many people rely on browser "history" to find web sites when you need them...just start typing the address and Internet Explorer will try to complete it for you.  This usually works well, but the more organized way to memorize these sites is to use "Favorites".  

To access "Favorites" in Internet Explorer, look for the gold star in the upper right hand corner.  Clicking this icon will open up the "Favorites" section where you view your existing favorites, and organize in folders as needed (if you have a lot of favorites).

Favorites   ExampleTo add a site to Favorites, browse to the site your interested in, and then click "Add to Favorites".  You can then name the site so you can find it easily next time, without remembering the entire URL. Click "Add" to save the site.  

Next time you want to access the site, simply select it from your list of favorites.

A big advantage of using the Favorites tool to organize your sites is that if you get a new computer, you can simply transfer this entire folder to your new system so you don't have to recall all your frequently used sites.  

Import to FavoritesIn Windows 7, to find your favorites folder (so you can copy it as needed to a new system, or make sure its being backed up), go to C:\Users\userName\Favorites (where "userName" is your actual user name).  You can copy this to your new system, and then simply import it into favorites again.  This will save you a lot of time getting started on the new system.

On this menu, there is also an option to Organize Favorites, where you can create new folders, move favorites, rename favorites, and delete as needed.

Take a few moments to get organized, and you'll save a lot of time in the future!

Tags: Internet Explorer, Favorites

Help! Internet Explorer Fills the Whole Screen

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 3/26/12 10:37 AM

IE Fills the Whole ScreenInternet Explorer can run in full screen mode, which is a great thing if you want to show a demo of a web site, but a big concern when all your navigation is gone and you don't know why. In full screen mode, all your toolbars and navigation fields will be gone, in addition to your start menu at the bottom of your screen.

If one day you find your browser like this, don't worry, you can get back to normal by hitting the "F11" key.  This toggles you in and out of full screen mode. 

You may have hit the F11key by mistake, or in some cases, a web based program may automatically set your browser in full screen mode (such has if your kids play a game like MineCraft on your system, which happened to me).  It's quick to restore things back to normal with F11.  Full screen mode may also be something you want to try for demos or other presentations.

While we're on the subject, when you get your tool bars back, you can also customize what you see.  Right-click your mouse in the grey area on your toolbar and you'll get the choice to add a "Favorites" bar and "Google Toolbar", which are useful.  You can pick and choose how much screen real estate you use for navigation.

Tags: Internet Explorer, Full Screen Mode

Quick Way to Change Text Size in Internet Explorer

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 1/30/12 12:14 PM

Magnifying GlassIf you want to zoom in or zoom out of a web page to make the font bigger or smaller, a simple trick is to use the control key and the scroll on on your mouse:  Hold the control key (Ctrl) and then spin the scroll up or down.  The scroll wheel is located between the left and right buttons on the mouse.  Not every mouse has a scroll, so you can also use the control key with the plus sign and minus sign.  A third option is to hit the ALT key plus "P" to pull up the page menu and then select "zoom".

This is a good trick to remember if you find a small font size on your screen one day.  Since is possible to change the size by mistake, it's good to know how to change it back.

Tags: Internet Explorer, web page, font size

What version of Internet Explorer are you using?

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 4/6/11 9:20 AM

Internet Explorer 9.0If you run into a problem using a web site, one of the first questions you'll be asked is "What version of Internet Explorer are you running?"  At first, you may be stumped because your program will just say "Internet Explorer", but finding the version is easy:

1. Open Internet Explorer

2. Press ALT+H and then click "About Internet Explorer".

You'll be able to see the version and cipher strength (SSL Encryption) you're using.

By the way, if you're running Firefox instead, using ALT+H will also give you the version number.

Updates to Internet Explorer are provided free of charge from Microsoft through Windows Updates.  Keep in mind that staying up to date with the current version is highly recommended for full functionality and enhanced security. However, if you rely on web-based applications for running your business, always check with your vendor before making a major update to make sure they support the latest browser version.

The latest version is Internet Explorer 9.0, and you can download it and read about it on the Microsoft Web Site.  The site has information about whats new in the latest version, and feature comparisons to other browsers.

Tags: Internet Explorer, Software Version, ALT+H

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