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Firefox - How It All Fits Together

Q. I am considering changing my Web browser to Firefox. I am currently using Outlook Express for my email. If I switch over to Firefox, does this also switch my e-mail program? How does my ISP and email get connected with Firefox, and what about all my Internet Explorer settings, and Google?

A. The short answer is that you donít have to do anything with any of those other programs and services because the free, Mozilla Firefox browser does not interact with any of your other programs, settings, or email.

Firefox is a stand-alone Web browser; itís what you would use to navigate and view Web sites and Web pages instead of Internet Explorer or Netscape.

The relationship between an Internet Service Providers (ISP), email, and Web browser can be confusing, so let's run through that to clear it up:

Your ISP, (Comcast, Earthlink, etc.) provides your access to the Internet. It's a data pipeline. Think of it as spigot on your house to which you would attach a hose.

Your browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox) is a software program that allows you to view data delivered by the pipeline (your ISP), and your browser would be the hose that you attach to the spigot. The spigot doesn't care if you hook up a garden hose, or a water sprinkler, or a heavy-duty industrial type hose.

Your ISP delivers data to your computer, and whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, Opera, iRider or any other browsers to view that data, your ISP doesnít care.

It's the same thing with email. Your ISP will hold your email until you decide to retrieve it by checking to see if you have any email. When you check email, your ISP doesnít care whether you use Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape, or some other program to check your email.

Firefox does not have the capacity to check email. It's only for navigating to and displaying Web sites and Web pages.

Mozilla does have an email program, however, and thatís called Thunderbird, and itís also free. So Firefox is for Web browsing; Thunderbird is for email. Both are excellent applications that I use daily.

You also mentioned Google. Google is a Web-based search engine and will function exactly the same whether you Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, or any other browser.

To further confuse things, there is also a suite of software known as Mozilla , that includes an email program, browser, address book, newsgroup viewer.

For complete information about all Mozilla products, visit the Mozilla Web site. There are several extensive FAQs there, one about Firefox, one about
Thunderbird
, and one about the Mozilla Suite.

Last but not least, if you switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox, do not attempt to remove IE. Just leave it on your computer. It will not conflict with Firefox in any way. There will be occasions when you will still need to use IE when certain sites wonít display under Firefox.

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