The world didn’t come to an end this evening,

and neither did my computer.  I’m not surprised that we’re all still here hours after the predicted Rapture (I caught the news at 9, and they didn’t mention the end of the world), but I wasn’t so sure about the computer.  About five o’clock this afternoon I gathered up my courage and downloaded Internet Explorer 9.

Why should that be a problem?  AOL has been nagging me to upgrade, and then WordPress started pushing.  But a couple of weeks ago when Microsoft included the new browser in its regular monthly updates, my computer choked.   After five minutes with no apparent movement, I had to suspect something was wrong.  So, in spite of the dire warnings (“do not turn off your computer”), I turned off my computer.  Over and over again.  And restarted it, alternately in normal and safe modes.  And each time it hung about a third of the way through whatever it was attempting to do, first trying to configure the (incomplete) downloads and then trying to reverse them.

I was very distressed.  It wasn’t that I needed to look anything up, or that I was expecting a life-changing email.  It wasn’t a Facebook or Twitter addiction–I don’t use either one.  It was just the idea that I couldn’t use my computer.  I was cut off from the outside world.  I was even cut off from much of my inside world, as long as the computer didn’t work–my life is tangled up with Word, Excel, Quicken, and C-Organizer (an excellent substitute for Outlook if you’re not looking for an email program).

Fortunately, on about the fifth try, my computer managed to reverse whatever screw-up the updates had caused, and my desktop reappeared.  I didn’t see any dire warnings about the updates on line over the next couple of days, so I guess it wasn’t a widespread problem.  I don’t turn my computer off very often, so the memory gremlins may have had it tied in knots before the download started.  But the whole incident made me wary of upgrading.

This afternoon I went out to the Microsoft site to get the new browser, and the whole process went through without a problem.  It did take several minutes and one reboot, complete with various warnings not to turn off the computer, but it did the job.

So far the results are worth the effort.  Internet Explorer 9 only works with Windows 7 or Vista, and it has the look and feel of Windows 7.  No big changes or learning curve, but several new features.  You can pull an open tab away to form a new window and use the Windows 7 Snap feature to have a full view of two web pages at once.  The search box has been combined with the web address box.  When you open a new tab, you get a more useful display of frequently viewed pages, and you can pin individual web sites to the task bar.  The Explorer icon on the task bar even has its own right-click jump menu.

And this time it didn’t give my poor, hard-working computer indigestion.

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