I used Internet Explorer and Bing for 28 days [Recap]

IE month

Some people would consider the idea of using Internet Explorer for a whole month to be some sort of ancient torture device. They imagine themselves strapped to a chair in a dark dungeon with an old Windows PC on the desk in front of them. The only app available on the desktop is Internet Explorer, and you are forced to use it against your own will.

That nightmare is very real for people who still think Internet Explorer is the old piece of garbage it used to be. The truth is Microsoft has done a lot in the last few versions of IE to make it a respectable browser. The problem is not many people are willing to actually give it a chance. Chrome and Firefox have roped users into their ecosystems and it’s hard for anyone to leave. Especially for something with the reputation as IE.

During the month of February I strapped myself to that chair in the dark dungeon and forced myself to use only Internet Explorer and Bing. During my time I learned a lot about how to make it work for me, and how Microsoft’s approach to IE is so different from other browsers. Let’s get started.

Toolbox vs Tool

I was initially having a very hard time using Internet Explorer until I had an epiphany. In order to use IE and be happy with it you have to understand how Microsoft approaches a browser compared to Google or Mozilla. Chrome is a toolbox, while Internet Explorer is a tool.

toolbox

Google does not own Windows. Their goal with Chrome is to give you everything you will ever need to not only browse the web, but also do all the other stuff that people do on PCs. They want you to be in Chrome 100% of the time because then you are living in their ecosystem and using their services.

Microsoft owns Windows. They are not trying to keep you in Internet Explorer. They already have you in Windows. All they are trying to do with IE is give you a tool for browsing the web. All the other things can be done with their other tools, such as Office, that work outside of the browser. Once you understand this it’s easy to use IE.

Adapting

With this discovery I went ahead and used IE as Microsoft intends it to be used. Instead of using a TweetDeck web app I download TweetDeck for Windows. Instead of using the Gmail notifier browser extension I found a Gmail notifier taskbar widget. I had to learn to live outside the browser. It’s a big change coming from Chrome or Firefox, but by the end of the month it felt like second nature.

The funny thing is that this is exactly how I started using a computer for the first time. Chrome had made me forget what it was like before everything was done inside a browser window. A lot of people will argue that that is the better way to do things. Neither way is better than the other, just different. You will have to decide which one you prefer.

Tips & Tricks

There are a few tricks I picked up during my month with IE. First of all, if you’re using IE on a desktop PC do not use the Metro version. That version may be great for touchscreen tablets, but it’s not good for mouse and keyboard power users.

Turn on the favorites bar and put the tabs on their own row. You can do this by right clicking on the menu bar. I found this configuration to be a lot easier for a power user like myself. Having all your bookmarks just a click away is important, and this also gives much more room for multiple tabs.

ie tabs

If you own several Windows 8.1 devices and use IE on all of them you can sync data between them. Things like open tabs, bookmarks, and passwords can all be synced across devices. In order to do this go to the Windows Settings > SkyDrive > Sync settings > turn on “Web Browser” under “Other settings.”

What about Bing?

binghome

There’s not much for me to say about Bing, and that’s a good thing. I actually started using Bing on all my devices a little while before this challenge. I was getting sick of all the “fluff” in Google search results, and since I was already using Bing on my Windows Phone and Surface tablet I decided to make the switch on PC too.

I’ve never missed Google Search since I made the switch. Every once in a while I will consult Google Search if I’m having a very hard time finding something, but I did the same with Bing when I was a Google user. Sometimes you just need a second opinion. There is no reason everyone can’t use Bing. It’s perfectly fine and every bit as capable as Google.

The Decision

Now that the month is over there is one final question: will I continue to use Internet Explorer? I will continue to use IE on my phone and tablet, but I’ve decided to go back to Chrome on my desktop. If my profession didn’t rely on using the web so much I could absolutely use Internet Explorer with no problems. Unfortunately there are just too many extensions that I rely on in Chrome. I’m just happy that I can say I gave IE a fair chance. Can you?


  • timmyjoe42

    Skydrive? :)

  • Edgar Cervantes

    Awesome honest opinion! I have to say I am one of those that just stick with Chrome because it has been great from the beginning. We can judge IE all we want, but things change and I need to be more open-minded about it.

  • kgherman

    I actually never bother moving from IE to chorme or firefox… I have simply never seen the reason to given that all I need my browser to do for me is surf the net!

  • http://www.gamesobscura.com/ themizarkshow

    I love Chrome because I can move between my PC, Macbook, Android phone, and iPod without losing anything in the switches. That array of devices keeps me from considering IE or Safari as serious contenders, although I use both in a pinch.

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex

    One time I tried giving bing a chance. I’m currently looking to buy a house. Google street view is a must. I lasted 1 day.

  • Comet

    Use Google Earth?

  • Hexagon

    Hence the reason why I use multiple browsers. I use Opera (the Chromium incarnation) for any Google affiliated activities (Chrome’s private browsing always has that Incognito message, while Opera only has those sunglasses, and brings up the Speed Dial. Yes, I use Opera because it looks better on start-up), IE for browsing and FF for research/work. It feels nice to break out of the mainstream – everyone I see has one single browser on their desktop (namely, Google Chrome).

  • Nham Thien Duong

    Bing has the same feature, but it’s U.S. ONly (–_–)

  • Nham Thien Duong

    After the release of Internet Explorer Mobile 11, Internet Explorer will also be able to do that, but that’s mostly for us Windows Phone users. :-)

  • Nham Thien Duong

    I’d say that I use the browsers equally, the only reason I don’t use Internet Explorer more than Google Chrome is that I like how Google Chrome saves files, and that my Microsoft-account is always signed into Internet Explorer (I’m on Windows 8.1 (Blue)) while I also use other Microsoft-accounts, I have tried Google Chrome’s web apps, which are the same as you have in the Google Chrome O.S. (yes, Google tries to ship it as an O.S. now) but it’s still inferior to Microsoft’s similar offerings, to compare, Google Play Vs. the Windows Phone Store, Google Chrome’s Web Apps Vs. the Windows Store (as both are on desktops) & the Microsoft Office’s Web Apps (which is on the web only, and works similar with Microsoft Office & Microsoft Office 365 as these apps do with Google Chrome), Microsoft simply has more of each feature, only under a different brand… the same goes for Bing.

    Microsoft split the M.S.N. in 2, one to battle Google (Windows Live) and one to battle Yahoo! (what remained of the M.S.N.) because of this they don’t give ”well integrated services”, though Microsoft is trying to do that once more (as it’s ”a winning model”), the M.S.N. Toolbar, the Windows Live Toolbar and the Bing Toolbar all became one Bing Toolbar, most of Microsoft’s online services now come R.T.M. with Windows & Windows Phone, and Microsoft Office Online puts the Google Apps to shame, as a search engine Bing is equal to Google, only both have different features, I’m a Binger and I like it, but I return to Google for Google Visual Search (once a month) and Google Translate’s romanizations of Traditional-Chinese characters, something that Microsoft still hasn’t implemented in the Bing Translator. :-(

    If you compare Internet Explorer 11 to Google Chrome I’d say that it’s almost an even fight, only Internet Explorer slightly wins, my Father is a WaterFox (a faster version of FireFox) user, my sister prefers Google Chrome (most people I know), my Mother Internet Explorer, and I have 9 browsers on my Computer (even Netscape Navigator), so I always test each one and see what they’re best at, the only thing I dislike about Internet Explorer is that prior to Internet Explorer 11 it didn’t synchronize across devices, Internet Explorer 11 and Internet Explorer Mobile 11 are set to finally do this, then I could finally declare Internet Explorer the winner.

    Also, another thing with Microsoft is that you can be in 3 or 4 ecosystems, and they’d all belong to Microsoft. An example made with calculators bellow, as for Chromebooks, they’re still very far behind anything Microsoft has to offer, their best shot would be Android laptops, and even Android lacks most of Windows’ features.

  • Jeremy

    I hate IE and now I hate you too.

  • InyRules

    I have to use IE at work because it’s the only browser our database works 100% on, but I use Firefox to actually browse, and Chrome at home and on my phone. Once in a while, I will use IE to search or go to a website, and it just loads endlessly. At first I thought it was just my internet connection, but then I started testing it and opening the same webpage in Firefox, and it almost instantly opens, while it just hangs and loads in IE.

  • dingl_

    Its pretty well known that Google hinders its services in IE.. even IE11. I often times get the spinny wheel deal on YT but go to any other site with HTML5 video.. Plays just fine
    I highly recommend if switching over to IE11, try to get off as many Google services as possible. YT is probably the only exception sadly.. but what can ya do

    Also! its been said that Google has a cookie issue… so if you start getting weird playback issues, dump your cookies/cache as well and try again

    That said, I’m really digging IE11 on Win8.1, its an enjoyable browser.. Especially the touch version on my Venue8Pro.. Chrome doesn’t hold a candle to it

  • Perplexico

    IE isn’t the torturous, horrible, unsafe POS it used to be.. but it still isn’t GOOD. Chrome is still way better.. there’s no reason to use IE, but a bunch to use Chrome.

  • AMbro86

    As someone learning HTML and CSS, Fireox and Chrome are worlds above IE. I don’t necessarily hate IE, I’ve updated it the latest version and it’s better than it used to be. But when I can write some code and have it come out looking great in Chrome and Firefox, but IE has some ridiculous default settings (why do all my images have blue borders around them by default? Do I really have to indicate “no border” every single time?) and they are resistant to the direction of pretty much all the rest of the web.

    Unfortunately, if I decide to do more HTML development in the future I’ll have to make stuff work with IE (*sigh* and even OLDER versions of IE) and that will be a pain in the butt. It’s time that Microsoft get their act together and make IE better.

    Now if all you’re doing is web surfing, and you love IE, then by all means continue. But this is several more hours of development, and thus wasted time and money, trying to shoehorn IE into the picture. If I had my way I wouldn’t touch IE ever again just for this reason. But Devs who work professionally don’t have that luxury and absolutely must have a working IE compatible page.

  • AMbro86

    Unfortunately that comment is only true for regular browsing. For web developers it can be very torturous, and waste several work hours that could have been allocated elsewhere.

  • AMbro86

    This isn’t a Google problem, but rather a problem with IE not playing nice with HTML 5. The joke among web devs is; “How do you tell if it’s HTML5? Open it in IE; does it work? No? then it’s HTML5.” For all their talk about HTML5 Microsoft hasn’t adequately upgraded IE to deal with it properly, and the syntax that IE recognizes is still stuck in older versions of HTML.

  • Ryan Lounsbury

    My biggest complaint with IE11 (and previous versions) is the lack of bookmark syncing between not just desktops but my mobile devices as well. It is nice that with a Microsoft Account & Windows 8 I can finally sync across that platform. Unfortunately, my work environment is Win7 and even if it was Win8 I’d have a domain account and not a personal Microsoft Account to login to my work machine. I’d rather have IE control the sync and not my Microsoft Account tied to a Win8 login. Maybe I’m not understanding this process still.

    That being said as of late I’ve gone to all Microsoft solutions for the moment to see if it fits my work flow better. I don’t really use Google services or extensions in Chrome (same with Firefox and their ecosystem). I now use Win8 on my home desktop, Windows Phone for my mobile, an have a Surface + Dell Venue 8 Pro as my tablets of choice so it makes sense that I go all in with Microsoft’s options. I’ve used Chrome for a long time and I like it but don’t love it and don’t really use the extensibility it offers.

    I do bounce back and forth between Google and Bing and often use both but Bing is my primary search engine. Sometimes it doesn’t give me what I want and I have to go dig around in Google.

  • Sij

    On touch (WP and RT) nothing beats IE. Yet. We’ll see.
    The great thing about Windows is that it offers choice. You can opt out of the MS ecosystem and fully enter and invest in another.
    For me, Google does not offer what I want from online services and technology. I don’t like they picked up the fight against MS for ultimately the OS. I hope the world realizes what’s at stake.
    Ultimately choice.

  • evilsushi

    If your having problems with your html 5 working, then your probably using parts that haven’t been finalized yet. Webkit based browsers are “Leading the standards”. In other words they are implementing them before they become standards. IE is strickly standards complient, in other words it has only implemented the standards that have been officially finalized or have at least high chance of being standardized in their current form. The reason microsoft has chosen to do this has to do with IE6. When MS and Netscape were battling it out for browser supremecy both browsers would lead the standards and eventually when the standards were finalized it would look nothing like the standards implemented by either browser. This is how come so many complain about rendering quirks in IE. The problem was that since the IE had such a commanding lead in the browser share many people made thier site work specifically with IE, this lead to a problem for microsoft, if they fixed the browser they would break the Web, especially for businesses. It took them till IE 10 to fix the mess, but now you have other browsers leading the standards so it looks like they are more standards complient but in fact they now have the actual rendering quirks and MS is actually the one following the rules. You would be better off coding for IE11 first then look at webkit, becuase if it works in IE10/11 then it should work in any webkit browser.

  • evilsushi

    You use chrome on your phone? I was very dissapointed by the Chrome implementation on Android, it is the worst mobile browser I have used.

  • evilsushi

    Use skydrive to sync bookmarks across different systems.

  • evilsushi

    yea, I think he was meaning cross platform specifically though. In this case it is better to use an non OS aligned solution such as chrome or firefox. Do They have chrome for iOS now?

  • evilsushi

    That joke is old and no longer relevent. HTML 5 is not a single standard it is a bunch of standards, many that haven’t been finalized yet. Webkit based browsers aren’t ahead of IE on HTML 5 standards they are ahead of IE on HTML 5 proposals. Many of these proposals will change before finalization and will break any website that used the old proposal. My recomendation is that if it doesn’t work in IE 11 then don’t use it, because it has not been finalized.

  • ritwik

    I m using ie and bing always , I don’t even have chrome on my pc …. :)

  • Hard Little Machine

    You know what? No one on the planet cares what you’re paid to say you ‘discovered’. No one. Not even a little bit.

  • http://winsource.com/ Joe Fedewa

    At least one person did. ;)

  • Aaron

    Having all your most used resources in one place is always going to be a superior model. If some of the programs I use weren’t so finicky in Linux…I would dump Window’s like a bad habit.

  • Colin Knapp

    LOL! What?? Chrome is THE favorite of web developers. You don’t need the ‘-webkit’ designations anymore and Chrome has the superior Element Inspector/JS Debugger. So, please tell us why Chrome is bad for web development.

    If anything IE is the headache for developers as not everyone is using IE10 or IE 11, most are still using 8 and 9 – and 8 and 9 are terrible.

  • Rick Romero

    Uhhhh no. You’ve turned Microsoft’s ‘Embrace and Extend’ mantra into some sort of standards war – not even close. MS ensured that their developer tools only made IE compliant HTML, and forbid PC licensee’s from pre-installing other browsers. That’s not a war, it’s an abusive monopoly – hence the lawsuits. This is why there are still sanctions in Europe, and for a short time in the US you could choose your own browser – but PC manufacturers couldn’t actually provide anything other than IE.

    Of course, that doesn’t excuse idiot web designers from not ensuring they used standards compliant code – they should have all been fired.

    IE is still garbage. When I’m forced to start it up, I can’t hit ‘Stop’ and have it actually stop loading the Home(Adware) page. I can’t type in a hostname without IE thinking it’s supposed to be something other than what I want to connect to and it helpfully connects to me an invalid system – where the browser suggests something else must be wrong.
    IE still a POS and not welcome on my networks, my equipment, and not supported if you have issues with it and my site(s).

  • AMbro86

    Um, I was talking about IE. I think Chrome is great and easy to develop for.

  • Len Waugh

    IE may seem fine for the average user. And they can’t be expected to know better, but IE is still a drag on innovation and a head ache to developers.

    The latest IE versions are better. But they do not go far enough and by using IE, even on sites IE works great on, your just encoraging MS to stick with it’s non standard practices.

    The IE box model by default is incorrect. Microsoft refuses to support any video or audio format that is open standard (because they are part owner of the patent troll firm that owns the compression rights of the competing standards).

    All this extra bending over backwards to work on IE systems means we can not add everything we would like to make the web a much greater experence. And adding options for one browser and not all is a no no to most large sites. Not to mention the time costof making the site essentually twice.

    Sadly the type of person who knows this and cares are already using webkit or gecho. The less tech savvy doesn’t know how it could be and by extention doesn’t care.

  • david

    Garbage. This is a self consoling string of reasons to justify not moving into the 21st century of the web. How is having a single tool better than a tool box? Msft producta are trapped in 1999. Stick with IE and your Nagging updates and lazy security. I hope you get hacked , hard.

  • Colin Knapp

    The reply to the comment that you originally submitted made it look like this:

    “Chrome is still way better.. there’s no reason to use IE, but a bunch to use Chrome.”

    Then the next train of thought…

    “Unfortunately that comment is only true for regular browsing.”

    Hopefully you understand my confusion! My bad!

  • AMbro86

    You clearly aren’t a web developer or you’d feel differently about that. When Webkit based browsers and Mozilla are all using the same code for HTML5 and IE is the odd man out you can hardly claim they are “sticking to the standards”. Standardization means universal compatibility. When literally everyone else but IE are doing things a certain way that means they are standardized, but IE is not.

    IE is propriety, WebKit is open source. Mozilla is open source. So tell me again about how IE is being standards compliant?

  • Dave

    Why so angry? Why is someone’s choice of a browser that upsetting to you?

  • Dave

    Chrome has been on IOS for a while. Not really any better than Safari.

  • Dave

    Very nice reply.

  • david

    Because msft doesn’t care about your online security, which affects the web as a whole. They need to re engineer the entire os and instead they are hanging onto a conception of the world that is 14 years out of date. People who use IE are more likely to get hacked, lose their identity and these things actually matter. When is msft going to give updates a for free and automatically??? Relying on grandma to update when prompted is STUPID. Msft holds you hostage to updates, charges for the next versio and doesn’t care if your system is hacked In between. Wake up. They are not working for you. You are working for them.

  • dave

    Let’s get real here. winsource posts about living inside windows…and how its not that bad. How any of you pay for programs like office, virus protection or new versions of any then amazes me. Wake up! These should be free and you shouldn’t have to deal with any of it. Microsoft should be happy you are even using their crummy metro ui and making you bang your head on the table. Think about it. You are paying them for this. Try Linux, unbutu or chrome os for free. Or just keep giving you $ to microthief.

  • dave

    Uh…do you use a windows phone that will not let you actually download another browser? Chrome mobile is awesome. You can see your other devices, history, autofill, bookmarks and settings from your desktop. Last time I checked ie didn’t do that. If you don’t do any of those things, stay old.

  • Dave

    +1. Microsoft is not thinking about users best interest. The company only cares about taking your money and doing the least amount of work they can. Have fun with that.

  • dave

    Oh yeah? You surf the net often? Is it like awesome with your Microsoft internet explorer and outlook? I bet it is. Archiving is fun, I love that. Makes my sunday. I bet you use the zune too, as well as your microsoft phone with bing maps to find your way into a lake.

  • evilsushi

    Did you actually read my comment, I said chrome on android. While I currently use windows phone, I recently moved from a note 2. While android is powerful the experience is not as smooth as Windows Phone or iPhone. Chrome on android has lots of features but between dreadfully slow performance and missed touch response I found the experience much like android underwhelming. btw IE 11 has all those features you mentioned.

  • evilsushi

    Haha “Microsoft developer tools making IE compliant html” that is the most ignorant comment I’ve ever heard. While Microsoft has some powerful developer tools they have never had a strong presence in web tooling. While MS was guilty of embrace, extend, and extinguish if you compare IE 6 with the equivalent Netscape browser they were equally bad at standards because they were both leading the standards bodies when it came to implementing features, which incidentally is what is happening today with webkit

  • evilsushi

    Being open source is not the same thing as being a standard. HTML standards body is the only one that can decide the standards. IE suffers from some legacy issues when it comes to developers because they code it to work with older versions of IE rather than modern IE 10 and 11. this why IE 11 browser agent identifies itself as gecko instead of trident so developers don’t screw up the current code with legacy compatibility quirks.

  • Dave

    Windows updates automatically for most people, that is the default setting. But my IPhone doesn’t, I have to update it manually. Is that somehow different? I know that you can change it to update automatically, but I think that the default is to do it manually.

    People who use IE are more likely to hacked. But that is also because it is the most used, and used by people who are less likely to have knowledge of how to protect themselves. It is not because IE is less secure. Many test have been done and shown that all browsers can be hacked, it’s just that hackers go after the one with the larger share of the market.

    When you say Microsoft makes you pay for the next version do you mean of Windows? Because IE updates are free. If you do mean updates to new versions of Windows then so does Apple.

    Why would I think that they are working for me? They are a corporation just like Apple and Google. They are there to make money.

  • AMbro86

    Haha! Yeah auto updates from MS! They always happen at the worst times, require you to restart, and restarting takes several minutes longer with updates. I turn auto update off for the singular reason that when they hit your whole system takes a hit, anything beyond web browsing is slowed down, and even web browsing takes a hit. So I tell Windows to notify me of updates, so I can install them when I shut down my PC. It still takes several minutes to shut down, and several more when I boot up again, buy I find that preferable to the inevitable update that decides to start right when I’m doing something important.

  • AMbro86

    Iha! And you think Microsoft is the paragon of choice? Look I’ll agree that Windows is pretty good at allowing a degree of freedom to users. But Microsoft is moving more and more to an ecosystem just like Apple and Google. In fact the only reason we have choice is because Google and Apple give users an outlet. When MS has no competition their products get lazy and we all suffer, when they have competition they get lean and actually make some good products. This is apparent in the browser space, and it is even more apparent in the mobile space.

  • dave

    What were you on? Jellybean? You may be the only person who actually enjoys windows phone. How is it OK to only allow IE as your browser? Not even apple is that restrictive. Msft isn’t an open company. If you want to live in that, have at it. Enjoy your tiles!

  • dave

    Do you two realize when you delay updates you expose your system to malware on the web? Most users like your mom, don’t. Updates are critical to your security and msft relies on the user to enable them. They also charge you for the next version of windows. Every update from Google is free. Period. All software should do this automatically and have your back. Why? Because your mom ignores them then loses her retirement account. She ignores them and sends me spam. Not doing this enables more people to get attacked online, and they could fix it but they won’t. Auto updates should download proportionally to your connection speed and have no I’ll effect on browsing or using your device. This is how it happens on Chrome and Chrome OS. Msft could do this, but free OS updates would erode their core business so they charge you for it. Security takes a back seat to their profits pure and simple. Do you realize how incredible it is that 24 hours after cansecwest and pwinum exploits were found Google updated all users on Chrome and Chrome OS to safe versions? Ibet you are still waiting to update your machine. BTW IE has more holes now than ever. How many of their users are still not updated after these exploits have been known for weeks? Their system sucks.

  • Dave

    Your complaint was that Microsoft doesn’t update, but now your complaint is that it does but that it isn’t at the right times for you and it is too slow. Seems like Microsoft is updating their software, which is what you were complaining that they weren’t doing.

  • Dave

    The same can be said for Apple, but no one ever does. Everyone hates on Microsoft, but Apple does the exact same thing, but everyone loves them.

    But yes, all OS’s should be free and all update should be free and no companies should be allowed to charge for anything.

  • AMbro86

    Don’t be a smart A. You know what I meant. Anyone who has ever used Windows should know what I meant. But whatever. You MS fanboys are delusional. Go on, use IE for all I care. The world is changing, the internet is changing. Don’t come crying to me when you get left in the dust.

  • Clyde

    You make it sound like it’s something shameful to enjoy a certain kind of E-Mail or web browser. Why can’t we all just get along? :(

  • Dave

    Not being a smart A, but how do you think Microsoft makes money? Same thing for Apple. Chrome OS is the only one that is free, unless you are also considering Linux.

    As far as being a fan boy, not really. I am using Chrome right now, gmail, google docs, and have an IPhone and an IPad. My wife has an android. So I am not a very good fan boy. I just don’t get why everyone always acts like Microsoft is so evil and terrible when they are not really any different than Apple. Apple charges for OS, and Safari isn’t that secure or cutting edge. Where is the hatred for Google for all the Google+ crap everywhere, the ads on Youtube videos, and the data mining of you email and browser for personalized ads?

  • AMbro86

    In that case your just being a troll because you have been contrary in every post you make. In either case I’m fine with this thread.

  • Daniel Tkach

    I’ve been using IE 11 for 2 months. It works great, so simple and fast, I hope to never need to install another explorer again.

  • Andrew

    dave do you work for MS cause it sure looks like it