When you use the Internet, you view websites in a "browser." A
browser is a program that accesses and displays files and other
data available on the Internet and other networks. Three of the most
commonly used browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox (Mozilla), and Netscape Navigator.
Browser programs are frequently updated to add functionality and
address problems. If you are using an older version, you
may not be seeing websites the way they are meant to be displayed,
and there could also be security issues (e.g., someone could hack
into your computer.) To check what version you currently
have on your computer, open the browser program, go to the toolbar
up top, click on "Help," and then click on "About
[the name of the program.]" It is a good idea to periodically
update your browser, as long as you have enough space on your computer.
easiest way to update your web browser software is to download
(transfer the program to your computer) a file over the Internet.
You can download a file for free by going to the company's
website, and clicking on a link that usually says something like "download
now." (Sometimes they will ask you for some basic information
about your computer, like whether you want it in English, and what
operating system it uses--e.g., Windows 98 or Windows XP.) Then
follow the instructions on your screen.
You'll usually be asked whether you want to open
the file or save it to your computer (see graphic example). If
you do save it to your computer, it will be saved as an *.exe
file. You'll need to remember where you saved it to. Once
the download process is complete, go to the file where you saved
it, and double click on it. This should initiate a program that
will automatically install the new browser on your computer.
It sounds complicated, but it's not really that
hard. The website you download from usually has detailed
instructions. If you don't want to download the file, they
often will offer the option of ordering a CD with a copy of the
latest program on it.
Click on the links below to go to the sites where you can safely
download the latest browser versions.