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Article ID: 835567 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 4.3

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A collection of tips and hints for getting the most out of Internet Explorer

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Windows and Internet Explorer have become so integrated that you don’t need to use the Net to benefit from IE (although it does help!). Here’s some great tips for getting it to work harder for you.

Remove AutoComplete

It can be useful when you’re entering URLs, but you may not want to use it. To remove Internet Explorer’s AutoComplete feature, go to View, Internet Options and select the Advanced tab. Under Browsing, uncheck Use AutoComplete.

Remove channels

IE4’s channel bar comes loaded with shortcuts to channels from Microsoft business partners. You can easily clear them off your channel bar by selecting Channels from the toolbar, highlighting each channel, then right-clicking and picking Delete. You can also make any Web site a channel by browsing to the site and dragging and dropping the URL icon from the address bar to the channel bar.

Look out for older versions of IE

If you have Internet Explorer 4.0 or above, beware of programs or services that install an earlier version of IE over your existing one. Older versions will not detect the presence of new versions, and will therefore install oblivious to their existence, which can cause lockups, and other nasties.

Save a URL as active content in IE4/5

You probably already know that dragging and dropping a URL or hyperlink from your browser window on to the desktop creates a shortcut to the site. If you use the right-mouse button to drag it, a menu will appear and give you the additional option of saving the page as active content.

Browse in full screen

Internet Explorer 4.0 or later enables you to surf the net in full screen. Just select View, Full screen, and then right-click on the remaining toolbar and choose Auto Hide. To change back, leave your mouse at the top of the screen until the toolbar appears, select View, Full screen and then press [F11] to bring all the other toolbars back.

FTP with Explorer

If you type an FTP address in the Address box of any Explorer view (whether you’re on the Internet or just browsing your own hard disk), you’ll go to the site and be able to use the window as an FTP client.

Useful screen saver

IE 4.0 comes with a screen saver that displays a slide show of all Active Channel content you select. Right-click on the desktop and select Properties. Switch to the Screen Saver tab and select the Channel Screen Saver. Click on the Settings button and a list of all your channels will appear in the Channels box. Select the ones you want in the screen saver and click on OK.

IE4’s Start Menu

As you may have noticed by now, items that you add to IE4’s Start menu behave just like regular folders and files. Right click on any Start-menu item you’ve added to get a context menu, which enables you to modify the item’s properties as well as offering other options.

Using the address bar

You already know that the IE4 Address bar doubles as a guide to your local desktop. What you may not know is that the old DOS command of typing two full stops and pressing [Return] works to navigate back up the directory tree. Enter it repeatedly to work your way all the way back to the desktop icon.

Access Web sites from the Start menu

Love to type? You can type URLs directly into the Run box on the Start menu.

Change links’ colours

You can tell IE4 to change the colour of any link when the mouse pointer hovers over it. Select View, Internet Options, then click on Colors under the General tab. Check Use Hover Color and click on the colour box to select your desired colour.

Please back up your Favorites list!

Makes sense, really. Should you ever have to reinstall Internet Explorer or even Windows, one thing it’s easy to forget about is your Favorites list, and that can take a long time to reconstruct. In Internet Explorer 5, the process is a simple one. Select File, Import and Export, then choose Export Favorites before picking your entire Favorites folder. Choose a location and a name, and your Favorites will be stored as a single HTML file, which can be re-imported later using the same wizard.

If your version of Internet Explorer doesn’t do this, a more time-consuming option remains. Simply open up your Favorites folder, hold [Ctrl] and manually select those favourites you want to keep, then copy them on to a blank disk. Reinstalling them is a simple case of copying them from the disk back into the Favorites folder.

Stop Internet Explorer reminding you about updates

If you don't want any reminders that a new version of IE is available, open Regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\{89820200-ECBD-11cf-8B85-00AA005B4383}. Right-click on the Version Available key and select Delete. Finally, close Regedit and you’ll be free from IE’s incessant prompts.

Make sure your modem is optimised for the Net

If your modem speeds aren’t what they should be, there could be a missing parameter in your Registry. If you have Windowns 98, access the Network Control Panel and find Dial-Up Adaptor, Advanced and set the IP Packet Size to 576.


This material is the copyright material of or licensed to Future Publishing Limited (http://www.futurenet.co.uk/) , a Future Network plc group company, UK 2004. All rights reserved.


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