DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 4, 2015

Emailed Questions, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:52 am

For the past two weeks I have answered questions which I regularly receive from readers.  There have been more emails so this week is part three of answers I have given and what I have suggested.

Many people ask, “What is the best browser to use on a PC?”  This is an extremely hard question for me to answer.  I cannot really tell you what is best for you.  The reason is that they are all very similar with some having add-ons that the others may not.  It is really a matter of preference.  Currently the top three on the market, in order of popularity, are Chrome, Firefox and MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer).

Chrome - Firefox - MSIE logos

My current favorite is Chrome, made and maintained by Google.  I just like the way it works and the Extensions (add-ons) available. Extensions give the browser additional capabilities that are not there by default.  I also use Chrome for my Android tablet and phone.  However, this again is personal preference.  I used Firefox exclusively up until a couple of years ago and it would still be my second choice.  When Windows 10 comes out MSIE will go away to be replaced by “Microsoft Edge” and then my preference may change.  Pick one, try it out and if you like it keep it, if not install one of the others.  The only one you cannot uninstall on a PC is MISE as it is basically part of the operating system and needed to run your computer. Microsoft Edge logoNext, “How can I password protect a zipped file in Windows 7 or 8.1?”  Quick answer is you cannot.  With Windows XP you could but not in the following two versions.  Why did they remove that capability…who knows?  Longer answer is that you need to download a third party app.  For the uninitiated a zip file is a file that can contains one or more files combined together which makes them smaller and easier to handle.  I use a zipped file to keep my past tax returns in; therefore, the reason for a password to keep prying eyes out.

The third party app for zipping files I recommend and regularly use is 7-Zip (7-zip.org).  I used to swear by WinZip but it is about $30 for the better version, compared to free, so there is no comparison IMHO.  There are many others but this one has been around for quite a while and is trustworthy from what I have determined.  The size savings can be significant depending on the types of files zipped.  I just tested the theory on a variety of file types, mostly text files.

Zipped file imageI zipped the 52 document files of my 2014 columns at a size of 850kb into one file of 716kb.  I also password protected them all in about five seconds.  I can then delete the original files and have only one smaller file.  As long as I do not forget the password I can retrieve them in another five seconds either minutes or years later having all of the original files.  You may zip any type of file including pictures, text, spreadsheets, videos, etc.  However, they compress at different size savings.  Text files give you the greatest compression with pictures and videos usually the least.

Let me know if you appreciate this series of email answers and I will run a few more next time.

I will be having some upcoming columns about Windows 10; however, I will wait a week or so for you to start formulating your questions and sending them to me.

December 10, 2013

My Favored Browser

Apparently there are a few of you getting new computers for Christmas.  (Do not let the kids read this if they do not know about it.)  I have received many questions about what to do to set them up.  I have several suggestions; however, one of the best I have written about before.  If you missed Ninite, go to DoubleClicks.info and search for "Ninite" to read all about it. 

The next most popular question I get is something like, "I can’t afford to pay the $99.99/year for Office 365 or $399.99 for Office Professional."  In my opinion there is one very clear answer, "Libre Office."  If you have not read my information regarding it before go to the site and search for "libre."

Finally, there is the question I don’t believe I have tackled before.  The question is usually stated as, "Ron, what is the best browser for me to use?"  The answer is easy, "I have no idea, thanks for asking."

Now on to a slightly more helpful answer, since for you personally, I have no idea what you would favor.  There are many excellent browsers out there and they all have some features which may be better or worse than one of the others.  To me it is sort of like brands of cars.  One person would say that a particular car manufacturer has the only good cars available…the best in the world.  The next person will tell you why they hate those cars with good reasons.  It is all a matter of personal taste and preference.

So the following is my personal opinion concerning browsers.  Keep in mind that when I started out on the internet, the browser everyone wanted was called, "Netscape" and would cost you around $50.  Now owned by AOL, it has pretty much disappeared from the scene and is free.  All browsers are now free so the cost barriers are gone.

Here are the top five in use today in alpha order.  I have included a short description, my opinion and the percentage of people using this on average this year as of the end of October.  

image

  • Chrome, "Get a fast, free web browser, one browser for your computer, phone and tablet."  You can tell who owns this puppy by the link.  I think this is an excellent browser and my #2 favorite.  It is fast and does allow you to have the same bookmarks, etc. between your devices. 52.08%
  • Firefox, "Different by Design, Proudly non-profit, Innovating for you, Fast, Flexible, Secure." OK, this is my favorite, again it is a preference since I am used to it and have been using it for years.  It has more "plug-ins" than the others which are added features allowing you to do different tasks online.  28.49%
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer, included with each and every Windows computer sold and must be left on your computer for other things to work properly.  I use this for work only as our company makes all of its software for MSIE only; however, with some Firefox plugins I can make most things work on FF instead.  12.55%
  • Opera, advertised as the smallest and fastest browser in the world!  For me this is an OK browser but just doesn’t have the snap and pizazz of others.  1.73%
  • Safari, you can tell by the URL who owns it.  My opinion on this one is the same as Opera, so again personal preference.  3.95%

The top three here have always been the top three by percentage for many years; however, they have jumped back and forth in order for a few years.  Google’s Chrome browser is excellent and if you do not have a preference yet, try it or any of the others and form you own opinion.  They are all able to do what you need, so enjoy the variety.

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