September 02, 2004

Q: I have a Dell laptop with Windows 2000 Professional. Netscape is installed on the computer, even though I use Microsoft Internet Explorer for my browsing and Outlook Express for my e-mail.

My problem is that when I click on a link in an e-mail, I go to that site via Internet Explorer, but if I then click on a link within that site, it opens Netscape.

How can I set this computer to use only Internet Explorer at all times?

A: Welcome to the default wars between Microsoft and Netscape.

When one first runs Netscape, it is easy to read over a setup prompt that asks if you want to make Netscape the default browser that runs when you head for the Web. Your machine is set to say, "Yes, make it Netscape."

Microsoft has a typical and, I must say, heavy-handed way to fix this. You just click on Tools in the Internet Explorer window. If Internet Explorer is not set as the default browser, you will find a selection to Reset Web Settings. Click there and Internet Explorer gets to be quarterback, and Netscape gets sent to the bench, where it must wait for you to call it back into the game.

If you do fire up Netscape, chances are that you will get asked to make it your default browser. This time, say no. Then look for the "ask again" box that lets you stop getting that prompt each time you run the browser of Microsoft's leading competitor.

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