MSN Explorer is an AOL-like front end on top of Microsoft's MSN service. It came out in late 2000. It was an attempt to make web browsing easier and more friendly. MSN Explorer suceedes in being a fairly decent Hotmail client (although Outlook Express and Entourage are much better). The free download is only for Windows. It is a bit of a memory pig in my experience, weighing in at over 7 megs with only one window open.

While open, MSN explorer takes the place of IE in as far as it is the default browser. (It's really just an IE control inside a bunch of highly decorated windows). It's a good choice for families with multiple accounts and only one computer. You can sign in and out fairly easily. If you are a novice web user, and highly use MSN's services, then this is for you. Otherwise, you may just want the lighter IE, and just use OE for your email.

The obvious disadvantages of the system is that it is only available for windows, and (as far as messaging goes) the network is tiny compared to AOL's. The download is free, and available from the MSN network. It is Microsoft's sixth attempt at an interface for the Microsoft Network, and much better than the previous attempts, in many regards.

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