Ask Leo: You Have to Keep IE Up to Date


By Leo Notenboom

I keep seeing where hijacking, vulnerabilities, infections, etc., of various

applications are prevalent. The latest one is another IE vulnerability; among

other things. I believe there is a manual work-around for IE but no patch has

been issued. I have IE8 installed. I use primarily Firefox (v3.6.13). My

question is this … am I still vulnerable to attach(s) although I do not use

IE8; or whichever application may be installed on my computer? Thanks and good


In general if you don’t have or use a particular piece of software then you
can safely ignore the updates and or vulnerability notifications that you might
run across.

In general.

Internet Explorer, on the other hand, is a special case. Use it or not, you
must keep it up to date.

Internet Explorer Whether You Want It Or Not

The most obvious scenarios are these:

  • Some websites work only with Internet Explorer. As IE’s market share
    declines this is less common, but since businesses can count on IE being on
    every Windows machine they’ll sometimes simply take the easy way out and worry
    only about IE when designing their web site. Want to visit their site? You’ll
    have to fire up IE.

  • Some software will automatically fire up Internet Explorer if you use online
    help or “Visit our website” types of features. Frequently they’ll use IE even
    when it isn’t your default browser.

  • There’s little to be done in cases like this, other than to be slightly

    Internet Explorer will come up, whether you want it or not.

    But at least it’s obvious.

    Internet Explorer is More Than Internet Explorer

    The problem is actually more complex, albeit it conceptually fairly simple:
    Internet Explorer is found in more places than just Internet Explorer.

    IE is comprised of several components – an HTML rendering engine, internet
    access components, bookmarking functionality and so on. Perhaps the most
    important, though, is that HTML rendering engine.

    I’ll use that as my example.

    When you visit a web page the contents of the web page are described in
    HyperText Markup Language, or HTML. Everything from references to images to the
    highlighting of words is specified in HTML. The rendering engine’s job is to
    read that HTML, interpret it and make things appear as instructed.

    For example, when the rendering engine sees “<strong>this should be
    bold</strong>” as HTML input, it produces “this should be
    ” as its output displayed in the browser.

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    14 thoughts on “Ask Leo: You Have to Keep IE Up to Date”

    1. I have Windows 7, 64 bit, 2010 Pro. I upgraded to IE 9. I have not had any problem!
      the only thing I might dislike are the ICONS instead of drop down mwnu’s.

      anmother bonus is anti-virus, anti malware and spyware and a good firewall. IT IS FREE

      Many 3rd party vendors are caught in the trap set by MS. It is a savings to us. About time I would say?

    2. for Steve: I had the same issues with MS Update. Contacted them and they emailed back with suggestions and a couple of fixes. They were quite diligent in working with me to get the Update problem resolved.

      Here’s what did it.

      Reset Windows Update Components
      1. Access the link
      2. Click “Fix this problem” link and click “Run” in the “File Download” dialog box.
      3. Follow the steps in this wizard.

      Now try Windows Update to see if the issue has been resolved.

    3. I, like many other users of Thunderbird have had problems with the fact that email messages being sent are not recorded in the “Sent” email file. In fact all previously sent messages that had been in the file are gone. This started about two months ago and try as I may I have not found a solution. Going to a T’bird User comments page I find that this problem is wide spread and no one has found a solution. I have finally given up and will have to go to some other email program. Any suggestions on a good email replacement would be appreciated.

    4. I sometimes feel “left-out” of the IE dilemma by virtue of going months and months without a serious issue. The once-or-twice a year infections actually serve a beneficial purpose in terms of tweaking eradication expertise.

      With several updated back-up drives always at the ready, there isn’t any reason to fear the boogey man. I expect to be using XP IE8 SP3 for the next 10 years, given the fact they are installed on 4 back-up drives for use on two identical HP laptops.

    5. everytime i tried downloading ie9 on my windows7 ultimate machine i get a click click click in rapid succession on my speakers have given up and will stay with ie8.

    6. Amazing isn’t it? IE5 lasted years, and so did 6, then all of a sudden we get 7, 8 and 9 in short order! No wonder people want to use something else…

    7. Everytime I try to upgrade to IE8 it will start and then come up with a message saying “nothing was changed on your computer restart” I can never get IE8 to install. What gives?

    8. What I’d really like is a way to uninstall it completely. I’ve yet to find a site that ‘needs’ IE – if Mozilla won’t work, then Opera or Chrome will.

    9. I am having trouble with updates from windows , the same ones keep asking to be installed. I install them, but they reappear again. Sometimes, the update process starts, but keeps rolling back to the beginning, and I can’t use my pc. Only action I can do is switch off pc at mains.
      Any ideas?
      Thanks, Steve

    10. I threw up when I tried using IE9. Maybe you can turn off that auto search from the URL field. That search in the URL field is a PITA. Maybe you can bring back some of the other displayed fields, but why are they removed in the first place? I don’t need one more line in my window when I have to sacrifice other useful information.

    11. I use Firefox and it’s been a long time since I’ve used IE. But if I download the newest version, what will that do to my Firefox? I don’t want it to get all messed up.

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