Switching from Internet Explorer to FirefoxBy Lawrence Abrams on July 23, 2004 | Last Updated: February 27, 2012 | Read 120,094 times.
Table of Contents
If you are a Windows user then it is possible the only web browser you know about is Internet Explorer. You may have started hearing information about the various other browsers available for you to switch to. Your reasons for wanting to switch can be varied. Some want to switch to another browser out of curiosity, others for certain features, and many for the enhanced security. Many of you may find this task of switching browsers to be daunting and therefore never make the attempt to switch. This is the farthest from the truth and there is no reason you should not try out another browser and feel comfortable doing it.
Even if you decide to switch, remember that Internet Explorer will still be available to you on your computer, and should remain so, as certain functions in the operating system do rely on it. This tutorial will cover switching from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox as it is the browser, other than Internet Explorer, that I am most familiar with. Though this tutorial covers switching to Firefox, many of the other available browsers support the methods discussed here.
Firefox is released purely as a web browser with the team of developers focusing entirely on the browsing experience. Thunderbird is a mail client and newsgroup reader based on the Netscape Messenger application. Camino is a web browser developed for Apple computers and Mozilla is an application that consists of both a web browser, email and newsgroup application, and HTML editor.
As you can see many projects were developed based on the source code of the Netscape Communicator version released in 1998. Each has their particular niche that they fit in and should be used accordingly.
Feature List and explanations:
Installing Firefox is a snap to do. Just follow these instructions and we will have you up and running in no time and with your Internet Explorer settings migrated over.
Step 1: Download Firefox
The first step is to actually download Firefox. You can download firefox from the following link:
On that page you will see a link that says Download Now! Click on that link to start downloading Firefox. Once the file has been downloaded to a location on your hard drive you should continue to step 2.
Step 2: Remove any previous installations
If you have installed Firefox on your computer in the past it is recommended that you first uninstall that version before installing a new one. To uninstall the previous version please do the following:
Step 3: Install Firefox
Navigate to the folder that you had downloaded the Firefox setup file to and double-click on it. When you do this you will be presented with a screen similar to the figure below.
Click on the Next button. You will next be presented with the License Agreement for Firefox.
After reading the License Agreement if you can not abide by its terms, please press the Cancel button to cancel the installation. Otherwise you should select the radio button that is labeled "I Accept the terms of the License Agreement" and then press the Next button. You will now be presented with a screen similar to the figure below.
If you would like to specify the directory that Firefox should be installed in then you should choose the Custom installation and press the next button. For most people the default location, C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox, is adequate and you can press the Next button. The following screen, as shown below, will contain a summary of the installation location and what will be installed.
If what is being installed and where it is being installed is good for you, then press the Next button. Otherwise click on the Back button to change any of these settings. When you press on the Next button you will be presented with a screen similar to the one below.
Firefox is now installing the application on to your hard drive. When the installation is complete you will be presented with a final screen showing the status of the installation.
If you see this screen, then Firefox has been installed properly. Leave the checkmark in the box labeled "Launch Mozilla Firefox now" and then press the Finish button. When the installation exits, Mozilla will start automatically and we will continue with the next step.
Step 4: Starting Firefox for the first time and importing Internet Explorer settings
When you start Firefox for the first time it will ask if you would like to import your Internet Explorer settings into Firefox. If you had Firefox installed previously it may not ask you to import settings or make it your default browser. If this is a new installation you will be presented with a screen similar to the one below:
Select the radio dial labeled Microsoft Internet Explorer and then press the Next button. It will then import the settings from Internet Explorer, such as Favorites, start page, etc into Firefox and then present you with the browser. If Firefox is not set as the default browser for Windows it will also show you a screen similar to the one below.
If you would like Firefox to be the default web browser that Windows knows about, select the Yes button. If you would like to keep Internet Explorer as the default then press No.
Firefox is now fully installed on your computer with your Internet Explorer settings imported. Read the next section to explore the screen layout of Firefox so you are more familiar with it.
Below that, designated by the red box, is the File menu. The file menu contains commands that will print the current page, exit the browser, change the options, and a myriad of other options. One of the most important functions that can be found in this menu bar, is the Bookmarks menu. This is where any web site you bookmark, or save its location for later viewing, will be able to be found.
The section designated by the blue box contains the buttons, address field, and search bar. The buttons from left to right are go back to the previous page, go forward to a previous page, refresh a page, stop the loading of a page, and go to your home page. To the right of the buttons is the address field that will allow you to manually type in a web address and have Firefox go to that page. The final field, to the right of the address field, is the search bar. This field allows you to type any keyword you want and Firefox will use the configured search engine to search for that keyword.
The section designated by the green box is the Bookmarks Toolbar. This toolbar contains those bookmarks that have been stored in a special bookmark folder called "Bookmarks Toolbar folder". By placing a bookmark in that folder, a button that corresponds to that bookmark will appear on the toolbar for easy access. Sites that you put on this toolbar should be sites that you frequent often or want easy access to.
The section designated by the yellow folder is the Tab bar. Any web pages that you open up inside a tab will appear on this bar.
The last section, and definitely the most important, is the large section, which we have trimmed, below the tab bar. This will contain the contents of the web page you are currently visiting.
Select the options that you would like imported into Firefox and press the Next button. You will then see a screen saying that the settings are being imported. When it is done you will see a screen similar to the figure below.
Another issue is that many of the popular toolbars that people use with Internet Explorer are not available for Mozilla based browsers. Though this is slowly starting to change, it may be some time before toolbars like the Yahoo Toolbar or the EBay toolbar are available for Mozilla. Currently there are many projects established create clones of these toolbars that work with Mozilla, some of which are even better than the originals. If not having these toolbars will not pose a problem, then be patient until they are available, otherwise continue to use Internet Explorer for these features.
Is it also important to note that the Microsoft Windows Update site, http://www.windowsupdate.com, does not work with any browser other than Internet Explorer based browsers. Due to this if you want to update your system, and not wait for them to be downloaded to your computer by Windows automatic update, then you should use Internet Explorer to connect to windows update in order to update your system.
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