Microsoft to ‘warn’ Windows 10 users not to install Chrome or Firefox

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  • Updated 2 days ago
  • Acknowledged
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Mohammad Hussein al-Baghdadi

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Posted 1 week ago

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Brad, Viasat Employee

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"please use Internet Explore: Resurrection" 
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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I hate Edge! IDC what Microsoft says!
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GabeU, Champion

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Well, it does say that it won't be in the final product, but it certainly would be annoying, no doubt.  I'm keeping my Chrome, whether MS likes it or not.  If they want me to use Edge, make it worth using.  
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david, Champion

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I'll quit using Microsoft before I quit using Firefox. I'm about one good Windows aggravating from moving everything to Mint Linux anyway although that might not happen until Win 7 ends next Jan. '20 as I just got rid of my last install of Win 10.
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Ronald Stricklin

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After Vista I left the windows world, well except for fixing other peoples computers with windows.
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GabeU, Champion

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Vista was pretty bad, though I think Me was the absolute worst.  

Linux Mint is a great OS.  Have it on a second HDD in this desktop.  
(Edited)
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Mark Davis

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i have been using FIREFOX with windows 10 and i have had no problems!
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johnny c

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Use Chrome, Firefox, Sparrow, Edge, no issues.
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fmj77

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So MS is going to warn us to abandon browsers that are much faster and secure than their own? No thanks.
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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For all of you Firefox and Chrome die-hards, please give Viasat Browser a chance.  It is way faster over Viasat Internet as it has been optimized for satellite, it protects your privacy by blocking trackers and it blocks ads and HTML5 video preloads/autoplays to save you data.  If you like Chrome, you will like Viasat Browser as it is built off of Chromium; you get the same look and feel and security features.  

If you are skeptical, I don't blame you.  Search the forum to see what other customers are saying about it.

Viasat Browser (formerly the Sparrow browser) is available for Windows and Mac and is now also available for Android and iOS. 
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Michael McDowell

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When will we get a 64 bit version?  How long before you update to ver 69?
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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We are testing ver 68 right now.  After that, the next one will be version 70.  We shoot for releasing about 6 weeks after the Chrome release, but the 68 release was delayed due to some bugs.  I'm unable to provide you with a timeframe for the 64-bit version at this time.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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64 bit would be appreciated!
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Brian Coverstone

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I read the link you sent.  The difference between Satellite and other ISP's is the RTT.  I feel that writing a new browser might be re-inventing the wheel in a way that is not the most efficient.  ViaSat might be better off suggesting TCP settings that will work best with satellite for various scenarios.  Such as HTTP/2, or Chrome's newer QUIC protocol.

What you don't want to happen is for TCP to send a retry before the first timeout interval has passed, which can be quite common in a satellite environment.  I think all applications would benefit from a few registry tweaks when using a satellite link.

The question is, what are those tweaks?
(Edited)
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Old Labs

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It's not reinvention of the wheel... it's simply built upon the open source Chromium base just as Chrome is (and other open source Chromium based browsers). Viasat has "tweaked" it as follows:

  • Installs with uBlock origin enabled by default - despite years of touting the benefits of an ad blocker in this community, you'd be surprised how many novice users don't take the time to do so. Not so much a tweak as simply good practice on satellite internet plans with data usage thresholds.
  • Disables autoplay media by default - again the benefits of disabling autoplay have been touted here and could always be accomplished on one's own (either with a browser setting or extension) - aimed more at novice users who don't want to take the time to investigate "unexpected" high data usage.
  • Disables HTML5 media pre-loading by default - probably an even bigger data usage culprit that goes entirely unnoticed as it occurs in the background. Again possible in some other browsers with an extension - actually the Viasat browser appears to force the preload attribute to metadata only unless none is explicitly specified.
All of those when take together provide a better overall experience (better loading web pages although most of those are targeting excess data usage - less traffic means better performance with today's bloated web sites). It's really aimed at novice users who are uncomfortable in taking the necessary steps on their own; however, the biggest tweak appears to be the Viasat browser's predictive intelligence which results in seemingly faster page loads. Off hand I would suggest this is based upon Vasat's prior web acceleration client/server technology (the client is built in to the modem and the server still appears to be the 1st hop after your gateway - it probably also includes some TCP acceleration) which is still in place.

Over time as more and more web sites switched to HTTPS removing the ability to do some of the deep packet inspection required for that acceleration, the web acceleration logic (predictive intelligence) became less effective and was shifted into the Viasat browser at the application layer.

It targets users not having technical acumen or those uncomfortable with tweaking their own browser setting or installing extensions (probably the larger share of the Viasat user base). It works but I've resorted back to using a Firefox variant that provides me with better overall data usage patterns for my specific purposes.

DavidBrowserGuy may provide some additional details - if anyone knows them, he does.
(Edited)
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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The core technology that we developed is machine learning that learns what connections need to be set up and which objects should be prefetched to make the page snappy.  Some of the techniques are described in this patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US9037638.
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Brian Coverstone

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Ah, say no more, you had me at Chromium!  The ViaSat browser link should mention that.

I like that autoplay is disabled, I keep that set that on my Chrome.
To save even more data, consider disabling the pre-fetching of resources as well.  It's a priority step below pre-loading https://www.technipages.com/google-chrome-prefetch

(Edited)
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Brian Coverstone

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Has ViaSat ever considered setting up a giant proxy for caching common web resources?  You would then also have the advantage of viewing resources requests in plain text instead of encrypted.

Of course, this wouldn't reduce the actual satellite transmission, but would reduce the internet bandwidth required by ViaSat's central office.  Actually, it might reduce the satellite transmission because plain text is much easier to compress than encrypted text.
(Edited)
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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We don't recommend that you disable prefetching.  The overhead is low and the speed improvements are significant.
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DavidBrowserGuy, Browser Expert

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These days, most web content is end-to-end encrypted and hence cannot be cached without introducing a man-in-the-middle.  For Viasat Browser (or Chrome users) approximately 90% of pages are now encrypted.  https://transparencyreport.google.com/https/overview?hl=en
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fmj77

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My only complaint with Sparrow is that it doesn't let me search for Chrome extensions. I type in something, hit search and nothing ever shows up. If you know how to fix this please enlighten me.
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Brian Coverstone

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@DavidBrowserGuy, when you use a proxy, the data from the browser to the proxy is either not encrypted, or uses a private certificate that the proxy can decrypt, so that it can look at the request headers.
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M.E.M.

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Harvey Mueller

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They may remove the warning box but methinks below the scenes they will do their best to cripple Firefox and Chrome.  For years I've seen Firefox start crashing after each Windows 'update'.  

I installed and use the ViaSat browser and like it.  Seems stable and fast.  
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