The Battle of the Best Browsers

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The Battle of the Best Browsers

Mahima V., Student Help

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You’re working on your K12 course one morning and suddenly you hear your computer making this loud sound like a fan trying to cool your computer. Suddenly, a message pops up saying, “High Disk Usage caused by Firefox,” while another message slams into your face saying, “The Adobe Flash plugin has crashed. Reload the page to try again. Send crash report.” Unfortunately, you’ll have to close your browser or force shutdown your entire computer because everything becomes frozen!

 

You must get very tired of seeing these types of messages repeatedly – I know I do! Some might say to use another browser such as Safari, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer. Yes, it can be the browser, and no, it is not always the browser. I will show you how to check which browser or application is hogging up all the memory on your computer. In addition, I will let you know which browser might take the least amount of memory on your computer for K12 courses.

 

First of all, you’re probably wondering, what is a browser exactly? Most of you know what a browser is, and some of you do not. In the computer world, a browser is a software application that has a graphical user interface to find, display, and retrieve files, content, other sites, images, videos, news articles, etc. across the World Wide Web (also known as, “www” – familiar right?). Our world is awash of browsers. However, most of us only know the best four browsers – Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

 

Google Chrome is easy to use, reliable, and has some extra add-ons by Google. So, if you use Google as your search engine a lot, then use Chrome! Chrome is definitely faster than the other browsers. Google Chrome usually takes less memory than the other browsers; however, it can also clash with Adobe Flash Player just like Firefox. Ergo, you will most likely get the same error messages. Also, when you use Chrome for K12 courses, sometimes the images get cut-off or snagged to the side! Mozilla Firefox is also user-friendly and reliable. Firefox allows its users to install any customizable add-ons like the other browsers. Further, it is much easier to delete history, clear cache, and access the advanced settings in Firefox than in the other browsers. Unfortunately, Firefox hogs up too much memory with its open tabs and windows, especially with K12 courses. Safari looks fancy, pretty, works for browsing, but is not efficient for “hefty” work – do not use it for K12 courses. Safari bogs down in response time, stumbles when websites have a lot of graphics, or crashes with intensive memory utilization from videos or flash websites. When using Safari for K12 courses, I noticed the images are cut off as it does on Chrome. Internet Explorer seems the best option for K12 courses.

 

Internet Explorer (IE) does take more memory than Chrome, Safari and Firefox, however this is a misconception. The other browsers trick your system by breaking each tab into a separate task. When you add up the tasks, the memory usage adds more than the IE! Moreover, it does not clash or have issues with Adobe Flash Player, Flash-websites (forget about iPad/Pod…No Flash at all). Another peculiar problem that emerged in the outer browsers was mis-loading of PDFs. Unfortunately, Firefox really had a problem with PDFs on Vista, Win 7, and Win 8 operating systems. I used to use Firefox all the time and I loved it. Sadly, as I kept using Firefox, my PC started to slow down and not function properly (half loaded screens, missing graphics, place holders for objects, broken links, etc.) That is when I started to compare all the browsers. I started using the wonderful and most trustworthy window application, Da-da-da…the Task Manager. 🙂

 

On your PC and Mac, there is an application called the Task Manager. The task manager allows you to see which processes and programs are running on your computer. It also shows you the general status of your computer, such as the Applications running, Processes, Services, Network, Performance (CPU Usage, Memory), and Users. I will refresh your memory on how to access the task manager, show how you can find which processes are consuming the most memory of your CPU, and show you how to tend to those naughty applications in the background. This will ensure that your computer’s performance will be stabilized. Moreover, by using the task manager, we will be able to see which browser is best for you.

 

WARNING: You must be careful when ending processes. You do not want to end a process you do not understand or know about. Ending the wrong applications, even the ones you have no clue about, can damage or create more problems for your computer! If you promise that you will be careful, only then you may move on and continue reading.

 

Steps:

  • It doesn’t matter where you are on your computer, just press Ctrl+Alt+Delete (for a PC); for a Mac, just press Command Key+Option+Escape key
  • Click “Start Task Manager”
  • Go to the “Processes” tab
  • Click the “Memory” header that’s listed on the bar above your processes. when you click this it will arrange by ascending or descending order.
  • Click the Memory header to display a descending order (triangle down). (The larger numbers at the top)
  • Now, when I open one K12 course in each browser along with my Student Home Page, I see this:

ImageInside-Browsers

As it can be seen from the image above, Firefox takes up the most memory, then Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Safari. However, Google Chrome and Safari chop off images from the K12 courses. So, the only browser that seems to work best for K12 courses would be Internet Explorer. Chrome and the other browsers are not “bad,” but are still very useful. Therefore, don’t stop using these other browsers, just the use the right browser for the right sites. I was a Firefox fan until I discovered that Internet Explorer works better with our school’s courses. However, if you’re in middle school, then use Google Chrome! Some courses, like the Art courses, don’t work on other browsers except for Chrome.

 

There are many things you can adjust to increase performance from the Task Manager. There are usually many non-essential applications running in the background that can be switched off. Also, and very important, this is a good place to find MALWARE! I am sorry, but I must diverge at this point, because this is important.

 

Malware is used to track you, to ferret out your personal info, or hijack your computer! Hijack? Yes, a hacker can use your computer as an access point to disguise his computer and do hacking through your computer. Usually malware disguises itself as legitimate application and services, but gives themselves away by hogging up unusually high amounts of memory or CPU resources. This can be seen especially just after you turn on your system or when close all your apps normally and the system is in idle. These malware programs will just keep chugging along.

 

So when you finally find the best browser for your needs, always remember to have internet security ON all the time.

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