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Intended to increase the usefulness of Internet Explorer, Secure IE offers extra features for tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, and security improvements. Also, though it represents a leap forward for IE, it doesn't improve much on IE's competitors. Although the tabbed browsing is convenient, you can't open sites in new browser windows. Its pop-up blocking is weak, failing some of our easier tests. It also purports to block Flash ads, but it seemed effective only half the time in our tests. Annoyingly, whenever it blocks an ad, the browser takes center stage, even if you were working in another application.
Secure IE's security manager lets you fine-tune how it handles ActiveX controls, cookies, and downloads. Its included download manager is a mix of good and bad points. On the one hand, it adds characters to downloaded file names, which keeps you from accidentally installing programs--a good security measure. However, that same feature makes it difficult to actually run programs you download. Its research features include adding notes or highlights to Web pages and toolbar access to multiple and customizable Web search engines. Secure IE offers some useful features for people still tied to IE, but its added features don't trump IE competitors.