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The Difference between Windows 8's Two Web Browsers

Windows 8 comes with two web browsers. Adding to the confusion, each bears the name Internet Explorer. Although they look completely different, the Start screen’s browser is really just a stripped-down version of the desktop’s browser.

Because they’re basically the same beast, they share your browsing history, cookies, saved passwords, and temporary files. Deleting those items from one browser also deletes them from the other.

The browsers differ in a few other ways, but most obviously through the limitations of the Start screen’s browser. The Start screen’s browser shows sites only in full-screen view; you can’t place two sites side by side to compare them. It also won’t let you save a Home screen; instead, the browser always opens to the last site you visited.

The Start screen’s browser can only display Flash on a list of Microsoft-approved websites, so on some sites, you’ll miss out on not only some movies but some advertisements. (Not that you’ll miss those.)

If you find yourself needing a more powerful browser while in the Start screen, perhaps to watch something in Flash, right-click a blank portion of the currently viewed website. (On a tablet, swipe your finger inward from the top or bottom.) When the app’s menu rises up from the screen’s bottom edge, click the wrench icon and choose View in Desktop.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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