The Best Internet Browser for Older Computers

By Jacob Andrew

Many older computers can still be used for Web browsing.
i Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

If your old computer keeps chugging along and you can’t bring yourself to replace it, you may be looking around for the best software to keep it running. Among these applications, Web browsers typically require little in the way of hardware to operate. Choosing the best browser for your old computer may come down to exactly what makes your computer “old” and what you hope to accomplish in the way of Web browsing.

Keep It Up To Date

Regardless of which browser you choose, you should always keep it as up to date as possible. Online attackers routinely develop new and inventive ways to harvest information from your computer. Browser manufacturers stay on top of this, plugging security holes and releasing them through updates. Having an out-of-date browser will leave you at risk as well as possibly being incompatible with new standards such as HTML5.

Best Browser for Single Tab

If you don’t open multiple tabs of browsing windows, or don’t know what that even means, then you’ll likely choose Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer uses significantly less random access memory, or RAM, on start-up than its competitors. Furthermore, Internet Explorer continues to receive support when installed on versions of Windows still supported by Microsoft.

Best Browser for Multi-tab

For those who like to opening multiple pages at a time, Firefox is the best way to go. Though it’s initially heavy on the RAM usage, it keeps the memory consumption lower as you open more tabs. Firefox also has the added benefit of being update-able regardless of whether your operating system is still supported by the OS company. Firefox, however, does not support version of Windows prior to XP SP2.

Computers That Are Too Old

That being said, virtually no browser supports an operating system older than Windows XP. Released in 2001, the more-than decade-old operating system represents the oldest your machine can be before it is unable to install newer browsers or updates. In instances where your computer is older, consider using the default browser that came with the machine, as it will be better designed to work within that environment. However, it is still strongly recommended that you update your operating system or purchase a new computer to avoid the security loopholes presented by outdated software.