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Tech Q&A: Windows 10’s new Edge browser is blocking Norton Security

Q: I used the Norton Security software before upgrading my PC to Windows 10. Now I get the following message from Norton: “Edge is your default browser and does not yet allow extensions that otherwise would protect you from phishing and other risky sites. Change your browser to a supported browser.” What does this mean, and what should I do?

Joseph Campbell, Burnsville, Minn.

A: Edge, Microsoft’s new Web browser, is the default, or automatically used, browser in Windows 10. While you can use a different browser, such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (also included in Windows 10), Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you must change your PC’s settings first.

You’re getting the Norton warning message because Edge doesn’t support the add-on software, or “extensions,” needed by some Norton features, such as “identity safe” (a password manager for websites), “safe search” (rates the safety of websites found in search results), “safe Web” (rates the safety of websites), “anti-phishing” (blocks fake websites that trick people into giving away personal information) and “scam insight” (prevents revealing personal data to suspicious websites.)

As a result, Symantec Corp., which owns the Norton products, says that, for now, its customers should avoid using the Edge browser and instead rely on Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox, which are compatible with the Norton software. To use your Norton software to select a different default browser, see tinyurl.com/q3gc58b.

Why does this compatibility issue exist? It’s unclear. But it may be part of a Microsoft competitive strategy to take over the PC security software market by offering free software that potentially could replace traditional for-pay products such as Norton.

Microsoft previously offered free antivirus software as part of its Security Essentials program, even though that put it in competition with Norton and other companies that sold antivirus software for Windows. Now, with Windows 10, Microsoft offers free security features such as SmartScreen (to identity malicious websites), and an improved Windows Defender program (to identify harmful software you’ve downloaded before you get into trouble by using it).

Q: I have a Dell 962 All In One printer with wireless access that I bought in 2005. It previously worked with Windows XP, and I’d like to use it with PCs that have Windows Vista and Windows 8.1. Can I download new software drivers for the printer to make this work?

Bob Porter, Eden Prairie, Minn.

A: Dell provided Windows Vista software for your printer in 2007, and updated it in 2011 (go to tinyurl.com/qcmn3tu and choose the Vista operating system). That means your printer is unlikely to work with Windows 8.1, which was introduced in 2013.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers may write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Please include a full name, city and phone number.

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