Ask the Doctor: Rolling Back IE7


I recently upgraded my cable Internet service from 5Mbps to 10Mbps. Not seeing any increase in speed, I contacted my provider’s tech support. The tech said Internet Explorer 7 is loaded with time-consuming security routines and that it is also designed for Vista. Since I’m running XP, he suggested I roll back to Internet Explorer 6 in order to see major improvements in web-page loading speeds. He also said I should uninstall SP3 first, or IE7 would not uninstall. So I tried this on one of my machines. Using Add/Remove Programs, I removed SP3, rebooted, then removed IE7. On reboot, I was back to IE6.

He was right! Even after allowing Automatic Updates to reinstall SP3, web pages are loading twice as fast, or faster.

Now, there has to be a catch, somewhere. I have had no problems (yet) with any of the web pages I’ve visited since rolling back to IE6. Am I putting my system at risk by having less security? Are there features in IE7 I’m missing out on by not using IE7? Is my system’s life in peril without IE7?!

I know you all like Firefox 3, but my question is simply about IE6 vs. IE7. I’m very pleased, so far, with the speedier IE6.

—Robert Bolerjack

Downgrading to IE6 will definitely force you to abandon some of the useful features of IE7—most notably, native tabbed browsing support and the wealth of security patches that Microsoft has issued for the latest IE 7 builds. Add-ons like the MSN Toolbar will replace some of IE 7’s built-in advantages, but IE 6’s numerous vulnerabilities and lack of compliance with web standards will eventually catch up with you. If you want both speed and functionality, we stand by Firefox. Or Opera. Either will give you a better experience than Internet Explorer.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes

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