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Step 4: Get the Latest Browser and Plug-ins

Out of the Box Laptop Tips


You shouldn't use a 2011 computer with a 2009-era web browser. Unfortunately, a number of Windows PCs still come with the outdated Internet Explorer 8 pre-loaded. Not only is IE 8 significantly slower than other browsers; it also doesn't support the latest web standards.

To find out which version of Internet Explorer you have, select About Internet Explorer from the browser's Help menu. If there is no Help menu visible in Internet Explorer, look for the About Internet Explorer option under the gear icon, though this probably means you have IE 9.

Windows Internet Explorer 9

If you have IE 8 pre-loaded, visit to download an update to IE 9. You may also want to try Google's Chrome Browser ( or Mozilla Firefox ( to see which you like best. Our tests have shown fairly similar performance on all three browsers.

Each of the major browsers has its own set of unique features. IE 9 has a clean look and lets you pin favorite sites to your task bar. Chrome opens faster than any other browser and supports cloud printing. Firefox has the most extensions and customization options.

After you've downloaded the latest browser, be sure you have the latest plug-ins for Flash, Java, and PDFs. Chrome updates Flash automatically and comes with a built-in PDF reader, but for IE or Firefox, you will need to download the latest versions of these plug-ins from and

You'll also want to remove unnecessary tool bars. The more tool bars in your browser, the less space is available to view your favorite web pages without scrolling. Right-click on any extra tool bars, such as the Bing bar, and make sure they are unchecked in your browser's view menu.


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