Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 221754 - Last Review: March 29, 2007 - Revision: 3.2

This article was previously published under Q221754

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This article describes how to search the Internet by using the Address bar in Internet Explorer or by using the Address toolbar on the desktop or taskbar.

You can type common names or words in the Internet Explorer Address bar and then click Go or press ENTER to obtain a list of Web sites that closely matches your search criteria.


When you type a Web site name without a domain type (such as .com or .org) in the Address bar, an Internet client feature called AutoScan searches for the following Web sites:,,,,, and

Internet Explorer 4

The AutoScan feature is always used before the AutoSearch feature for single-word queries. For multiple-word queries, the AutoSearch feature is used.

To use the AutoSearch feature for single-word queries, type go, find, or ?, followed by the topic you want.

The AutoSearch feature uses a random search engine to perform your search in Internet Explorer 4. For additional information about how to customize your AutoSearch search engine, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
198279  ( ) How to Change the Default AutoSearch Search Page
The following options are available when the Web address you specify is not found:
  • Never search
  • Always ask
  • Always search
The AutoScan common root domains option is set to Always ask by default.

Internet Explorer 5

The integration of the AutoSearch and AutoScan features in Internet Explorer 5 has one major goal. For single-word queries, AutoSearch occurs before AutoScan by using The Microsoft Network (MSN) AutoSearch feature.

To customize or disable Address bar searches, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Internet Options.
  2. On the Advanced tab, under Search from the Address bar, click the search option you want, and then click OK.
The following AutoSearch and AutoScan options are available in Internet Explorer 5:
  • Display results, and go to the most likely site
  • Do not search from the Address bar
  • Just display the results in the main window
  • Just go to the most likely site
The Display results, and go to the most likely site option is the default setting. The AutoScan and AutoSearch features are dependent on each other in Internet Explorer 5. You cannot disable AutoScan only (and use only AutoSearch) or disable AutoSearch only (and use only AutoScan). Therefore, the following search options are not supported in Internet Explorer 5:
  • AutoScan, no AutoSearch at all
  • AutoSearch, no AutoScan at all
NOTE: If you are a corporate user and your organization does not have Internet access, you may want to disable automatic searching. Note that Internet Explorer 4 and Internet Explorer 5 do not automatically search or scan for single-word queries that you type in the Address bar on the desktop or taskbar. To use the AutoSearch feature from the Address bar on the desktop or taskbar, type ? before your search term or terms.

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 Service Pack 1
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 1
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 2
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 128-Bit Edition
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Standard Edition
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