Computer Terms for Confused Windows Users

This is by no means all of the terms that can be confusing, but these seem to be the most confusing.

Explorer. This can be Windows Explorer (you explore Windows with this) or Internet Explorer (you surf the Internet with this).

Internet Explorer is often called IE, which is Internet Explorer abbreviated. While Internet Explorer comes with Windows, it is NOT Windows! You don't have to use Internet Explorer to surf the Internet. You can use Chrome, Firefox or Opera. There are a lot of other web browsers as well, including Apple's Safari.

Outlook. This is the email program that comes with Microsoft Office. It is NOT the same as Outlook Express which came with Windows until Microsoft introduced Vista.

Outlook Express is sometimes called OE. OE was part of Internet Explorer until Internet Explorer 7. To make matters more confusing, Microsoft made a new webmail service called  (Not the same as Outlook or Outlook Express.) Microsoft seems to be really fond of the name 'Outlook'!

You can download mail from into Microsoft Outlook, but you can't download (It is a web service, not a program to download)  You can also download mail from into any other email program on your computer.

(Confused yet?)

Windows Mail is the email program that came with Vista. Not quite as good as Outlook Express and just a bit buggy. So then Microsoft 'fixed' it with a new email program they named (are you ready?) Windows Live Mail. Windows Live Mail is also known as WLM. The first release of Windows Live Mail was also a bit buggy. So finally Microsoft fixed it and now you can get Windows Live Mail 2011!  MS has updated all this and you can now get Windows Mail 2012! (I think it may be 2013 by now, but I am not sure!)

(Now I am confused!)

The softies like the word 'Live' as well.  All those flashing tiles on Windows 8 are 'Live' as well.

Many folks will get confused about 'versions'. When asked what version of Windows they are using they usually know, but when asked what version of Internet Explorer they have, they have no idea and don't know how to find out. (Click 'Help' on the menu and then 'About'.) This worked just fine with older versions but then Microsoft got cagey and hid the menu bar. 


(Right click on a blank space at the top of Internet Explorer and click 'Menu' to bring it back)