I no longer use Internet Explorer or Outlook Express, but of course, updates from Microsoft still come through for them each month. Do I really need those updates or can I disable them completely?

As you all know, Microsoft sends out their Windows Updates at the beginning of each month, which help to keep our computers safe and secure. Often times, those updates include material for some of Microsoft’s own programs, such as Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. But with so many other Web browser and e-mail options these days, a lot of you no longer use those applications and it seems silly to continue receiving those updates. So, is it really necessary to keep getting them? The answer may surprise some of you.

Yes, you still need those updates. Even though you don’t use those programs on a regular basis, they’re still a part of your computer and you need to maintain them. That’s especially true for Internet Explorer. If you don’t use Outlook Express anymore and you’re sure it will never be used again, you can stop its updates, but Internet Explorer really is a whole different ball game. As you may or may not know, Internet Explorer is an integral part of your operating system, as it contains certain components that help run Windows for you. That’s right, it’s not just a Web browser anymore!

Even more, a lot of those components are used by other applications on your computer besides Internet Explorer. One example is the HTML rendering engine. That is used by several other programs to display HTML content, but the main component lies within Internet Explorer. So, you see, if you don’t run the Windows Updates for Internet Explorer, you will lose some of your HTML capabilities. That one alone could affect a lot of the work you do on your computer. And that’s just one example of everything Internet Explorer includes.

So, if you’ve stopped installing the updates for Internet Explorer, you’ll want to start receiving them again next month (the next batch will come through in just a few days for March 2008). If you don’t update Internet Explorer, you’re also missing out on the updates for all the other components I mentioned earlier. A lot of the programs you probably use on a daily basis rely on Internet Explorer to run properly, so don’t take the chance of ruining those too. Simply install the updates each month and you’ll be good to go. Wow, who knew Internet Explorer could be so important?!

~ Erin