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Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2.3 for Mac review: Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2.3 for Mac

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The Good Good handling of JavaScripts; good handling of histories.

The Bad No tabs or pop-up blocking; slow; confusing preferences.

The Bottom Line Other Mac browsers offer more features and better performance, but keep IE around to access troublesome sites.

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6.8 Overall

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Before Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer 5.2.3 would be the last OS X version, the venerable winner of 1990's browser war was already showing its age. Microsoft hasn't produced a major upgrade in years, and IE now lacks must-have features that are common in other browsers. For instance, IE is the only Mac browser without the capability to block pop-up windows. It also doesn't support tabbed browsing, the ability to have multiple Web pages open in a single window.

IE has also fallen behind in its support of Mac OS X features. (Microsoft says it hasn't gotten sufficient access to the OS itself over the years.) For instance, IE uses its own (perfectly adequate) security settings instead of using Mac OS X's Keychain feature as Camino and Safari do. (The Keychain Access utility is a handy single location for editing all passwords used on the Mac, including user logins, local servers, and Web sites.) We like IE's high degree of configurability, but finding what you need in the confusing Preferences dialog is mostly a matter of trial and error.

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Internet Explorer is reliable, but its features and performance are falling behind those of the newer browsers.


IE has also fallen behind on the performance curve. Safari, Camino, and even Opera are all faster in rendering pages and more responsive with resizing screens.

But don't trash your copy of Internet Explorer just yet. If you're having problems accessing some aspect of a Web page with another browser or a plug-in isn't working, there's a good chance IE will do the job. For instance, IE and Camino were the only browsers that successfully played music at Live365.com; the others failed to execute the JavaScript properly. Internet Explorer often works with plug-ins where other sites have problems. The issue is compatibility; because IE is the number one browser worldwide, most Web sites take the time to make sure it will work.

IE is still a free download from Microsoft, and it's well supported. The browser includes extensive online help, and Microsoft provides online tips and FAQs.

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