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Safer Applications

This is part of some remarks I've put together for friends
who are stuck with Windows. You should have read this first.

Microsoft distributes a few applications that have proven historically been very dangerous - namely, OutLook and Internet Explorer (IE, the web browser). Because so many people use these, they are the primary applications used by crackers to attack your system. Unfortunately, they also have a history of letting the bad guys in too. While not required, I'd encourage you do seriously consider finding alternatives for Email and your web browser. Here are some safer choices:

Email Programs

Email has been around for a very long time - long before Microsoft has been offering OutLook. Unless you have some very important requirement to use OutLook, I'd encourage you to find an alternative. Some popular choices are:

You do not need to ever use OutLook, and should not. You'll not actually be able to remove it completely from your system, but you can at least delete the icon from your desktop (if you see it there).

Web Browser Programs

Internet Explorer (IE) should be avoided as much as you can. Some places on the web create web sites which require IE (for no good reason). Many times the Microsoft site will just not work without IE, so you can't just get away with never using it, but you can avoid using it as little as possible. Find an alternative. Some popular choices are:

Unlike OutLook, you cannot avoid using IE for some tasks. Microsoft will sometimes require you to use IE (for updates, for instance). Some web sites are so Microsoft-centric, that they only test for IE and code their HTML pages to require it.


Microsoft Word is very popular and can do an amazing range of things. Most people only need a very basic word processing program. Since Word is so popular, it's also a target for crackers. If your needs are simple, consider using an alternative (and saving the cost of Office).

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Copyright (c) 2004 Terry Gliedt. Direct comments or questions to
Be sure to use a subject of 'Coping with Windows' or your Email will likely be tossed out by my SPAM filters.
Last Revision: May 13, 2004