Internet Explorer 5.0 and 5.5 Tips

Internet Explorer 5.0 Tips

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How to Make Web Pages Available for Offline Viewing

This article describes how to make Web pages available for offline viewing using Internet Explorer 5. When you make a Web page available offline, you can read its content when your computer is not connected to the Internet.
NOTE: Some Web sites use HTTP headers or META tags within a Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) or Active Server Pages (ASP) document itself, to prevent their contents from being stored in your disk cache (Temporary Internet Files). In this case, the Make available offline and Synchronize options may appear to work, but the Web site content is not stored in your disk cache. As a result, the site is unavailable for offline viewing. For example, after you click the Make available offline option and then synchronize your Hotmail inbox, you are unable to view your Hotmail inbox offline.
Click here for more.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-009

Incorrect VBScript Handling in IE can Allow Web Pages to Read Local Files
Frames are used in Internet Explorer to provide for a fuller browsing experience. By design, scripts in the frame of one site or domain should be prohibited from accessing the content of frames in another site or domain. However, a flaw exists in how VBScript is handled in IE relating to validating cross-domain access. This flaw can allow scripts of one domain to access the contents of another domain in a frame.
A malicious user could exploit this vulnerability by using scripting to extract the contents of frames in other domains, then sending that content back to their web site. This would enable the attacker to view files on the user's local machine or capture the contents of third-party web sites the user visited after leaving the attacker’s site. The latter scenario could, in the worst case, enable the attacker to learn personal information like user names, passwords, or credit card information.
In both cases, the user would either have to go to a site under the attacker's control or view an HTML email sent by the attacker. In addition, the attacker would have to know the exact name and location of any files on the user's system. Further, the attacker could only gain access to files that can be displayed in a browser window, such as text files, HTML files, or image files.
Click here for the bulletin, or goto Windowsupdate to download the patch.

Set a New Home Page

When you boot up any browser for the first time, its home page--the page your browser automatically loads when you hit the Home button--is already set to Microsoft's manufacturer's URL. To change your home page, find the page you want to view at start-up, pull down the Tools menu, and choose Internet Options. Click the General tab. In the Home Page area, select Use Current to use the page you're currently viewing, or type any site's URL into the text box. To start each session with a blank page, click the Use Blank button. Or, even simpler, drag and drop any URL from your address field onto the Home button in your toolbars.

Add and Remove Toolbar Buttons

If you want quick, one-click access to IE's search or cut/paste functions, just add shortcut buttons to IE's toolbar. Right-click the toolbar, then click Customize. A dialog box pops up showing all the buttons available. With a few clicks, you can add the buttons to your toolbar. Just select the button you want, hit Add, and click Reset. IE immediately puts the button in your toolbar.

Change Text Size

Don't like the way certain sites display text on your browser? Are online fonts too small for you to read? IE 5 offers a simple remedy. First, set your browser to override Web page settings. Select Tools/Internet Options, click the General tab, then click Accessibility. In the resulting dialog box, check each of these top three check boxes: "Ignore colors specified on Web pages," "Ignore font styles specified on Web pages," and "Ignore font sizes specified on Web pages." Click OK to return to the Internet Options dialog box. Next, choose the View menu option and select Text Size (Largest, Larger, Medium, Smaller, or Smallest). These changes won't affect all text on every page, but they should work for most standard pages.

To Change Your Background and Font Colors

And suppose you hate the background or font colors on some Web sites. Turns out you can change these too. Once again, set your browser to override Web pages' settings (see the previous tip). Then, on the General tab of the Internet Options dialog box, click Colors. Deselect the Use Windows Colors check box. Click the boxes beside your preferred Text and Background options and select the colors you want to use. (Keep in mind that choosing the same or similar colors for the background and text will make it impossible to see the text.) You can even change the colors of visited, unvisited, and rollover hyperlinks.

Change Default Programs

When you click the Edit or Mail button in IE 5, Windows launches a word processor or an email client, respectively. To view and modify which program IE automatically launches, click Tools and select Internet Options. In the Internet Options window, click the Programs tab. Use the pull-down menus after each category, such as HTML Editor, Email, Newsgroups, and so on, to change which program will open when you click the corresponding button.

Disable Animated GIFs

Animated gifs may make your browsing experience seem more like TV, but they can also bring your browser to a virtual standstill. So, if you're sick of constant distractions and slow downloads, stop them from loading altogether. Head to Tools/Internet Options and click the Advanced tab. Scroll down to the Multimedia section, deselect the Play Animations option, and click OK. From now on, you'll see only the first frame of each animated GIF that loads.

Cut Down on Multimedia

Likewise, do away with bandwidth-eating streaming video and audio. Select Internet Options from the Tools menu and click the Advanced tab. Scroll down to the Multimedia segment and uncheck the boxes in front of Play Animations, Play Sounds, Play Video, and Show Pictures. To restore these settings, just recheck the boxes. To turn off Java, select Internet Options and the Security tab, then click the Custom Level button. Check the Disable box to turn off ActiveX Controls and Java applets, or check Prompt to have IE warn you when an applet tries to load.

Use a Blank Home Page

Every time you boot up IE, the browser takes you straight to whatever home page you set. But it takes time to load any Web page--time you might not want to waste. So, eliminate a home page altogether and start up on a blank page. Here's how: Pull down the Tools menu and choose Internet Options, then click the General tab. In the Home Page area, click the Use Blank button, et voilà, no more home page.

Increase Your Cache

If you often revisit one site several times per surfing session, this tip will save you lots of time. When you visit Web pages, your browser stores HTML code and graphics from those sites in a folder called a cache. The cache helps you get files fast when you hit the Back button because they're coming from your hard disk, not over your Net connection. For best surfing speeds, we recommend you allocate at least 10MB of your drive to the browser. From the Tools menu, select Internet Options and choose the General tab. In the Temporary Internet Files section, click Settings. Under "Amount of disk space to use," drag the slider to the right; you should choose about 5 percent of your hard disk.

Stop Long Downloads

This tip may be obvious, but it's also highly effective. If you're waiting for a page to load and it's taking forever, push the Stop button. Then hit Refresh to start over. Sometimes the path the page takes to get to your PC contains Net burps that slow it down, and refreshing will send it back to you via a new, clear route.

Navigate With Just One Word

Don't bother typing entire domain names (for example, into your browser. Instead, simply type the site's name (tipsdr) in the Address bar and press Ctrl-Enter to automatically add http://www and .com on each side of the word--a real time-saver.

Organize Your Favorites

It's not enough to stuff random links into your Favorites list. You'll need to be able to find them later, which means organizing them into the right folders. From the menu bar, select Favorites/Organize Favorites. You'll see a dialog box listing your current bookmarks and offering several button options. From there, you can create new folders and rename, move, or delete folders and bookmarks.

Print Your Favorites

Now that your list is in order, it's easy to print one of the Web pages in your Favorites folder without visiting the site itself. Just right-click the page from the Favorites menu and select Print from the pop-up menu. IE will send the site's page directly to your printer.

Export Your Favorites

If you have access to more than one computer (for example, one at work and another at home) and you'd like the same Favorites list on both of them, you can export your Favorites list as an HTML file and copy it to your second computer. To do this, pull down the File menu and choose Import And Export, step through the wizard and select Export, then pick the Favorites file you want to export to and the file where you want it to go. You can send it to any drive on your system (including a floppy) or to any computer on your network.

Import Netscape Bookmarks

If you're migrating from Netscape Navigator to Internet Explorer (or if you use both browsers interchangeably) you'll want to import Navigator's Bookmarks into IE's Favorites folder. Select Import And Export from the File menu to start the Import/Export Wizard. Click Next, make sure Import Favorites is highlighted, and click Next again. Select Netscape Navigator under "Import from an application" or browse to the bookmark.htm file under "Import from a file or address" and click Next. Finally, select the folder where you want to store the new bookmarks, click Next, and click Finish.

Take Giant Steps Back and Forth

While it's easy to move back and forth between Web pages one at a time with IE's Back and Forward buttons, you can also leap ahead or back several pages at a time. Right-click either button (or click the tiny down arrows next to each button), and a pop-up menu displays the last ten sites you've visited. Then, simply select the page you'd like to jump to from the pop-up menu that appears.

Browse With Hot Keys

Keyboard shortcuts save loads of time because they let you execute certain commands without digging through menus to find them. IE makes use of many standard Windows shortcuts, plus a few browser-specific ones. For example, to move back and forth between Web pages without clicking the Back and Forward buttons, hold down the Alt key, then hit the left arrow to move back and the right arrow to move forward.

Add Buttons to the Links Toolbar

The Links toolbar is a quick and easy way to access your favorite Web pages without entering the Favorites menu. First, turn on your Links toolbar (if you haven't already) by right-clicking any toolbar and selecting Links from the pop-up menu. To add a new button to the toolbar, drag any URL link from the address field to the toolbar and drop it. Tah-dah!--an instant link to any site.

Open Multiple Windows

Ever need to open a second Web page but don't want to close the one you're on? Internet Explorer lets you open more than one browser window simultaneously. Click File in the main menu, select New, and then Window. To close a browser window, click the X in the top right corner or select Close from the File menu. You can also open a new browser window with Ctrl-N.

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Disable AutoComplete

Chances are, you occasionally visit a Web site, fill out a form, or perform a search you don't want anyone else to know about (like that time you bought your husband's birthday present online). You should know, however, that when IE's AutoComplete function is active, some sites' search and entry fields retain the words you've entered; anyone who uses the browser after you and visits that site can see the last entries you made. To turn off this part of AutoComplete, choose Tools/Internet Options, then click the Content tab. Click the AutoComplete button in the Personal information section and uncheck the Forms box in the AutoComplete Settings dialog box.

Cover Your Tracks

Internet Explorer also stores a record of all the Web sites you've visited in its History folder. It's convenient for you, but also means that the boss can easily find out you've been surfing the want ads. Here's what you can do to get rid of unneeded URL histories: From the Tools menu, go to Internet Options. Under the General tab, find the History section, and click the Clear History button.

Delete Individual History Pages

If you don't want to clear your entire History folder, on the other hand, it's easy to remove just single pages. Click the History button on your IE toolbar to open the History window frame. Then right-click any file you want to dump and select Delete from the pop-up window.

Toss Your Cookies

The History folder isn't the only place IE records your surfing habits. Many Web sites drop little files into your system that let them keep track of your passwords and the dates and times of your visits. To get rid of these files, delete the contents of the Cookies folder and the Temporary Internet Files folder in your Windows directory (but not the folders themselves). All traces of where you have surfed will disappear.

Use IE's Search Assistant

One of IE 5's handiest and most effective tools, the Search Assistant, helps locate sites, places, and people on the Web by accessing several different search engines, including Yahoo, AltaVista, and To display the Search Assistant, click the Search button in the toolbar. A new pane opens on the left side of your browser window. Pick the kind of search you want to perform, either for a Web page, an address, a business, a map, or results from one of your previous searches. Enter the text you want to find, then click Search. By default, IE 5 uses to run Web site searches. To run the search using a different search engine, click the Next button in the Search Assistant pane, and a drop-down menu displays the services you can choose from.

Fine-Tune Your Searches

It's also possible to fine-tune the Search Assistant. Click the Search button on the toolbar and select Customize. Now you can specify which types of searches you want to appear in the Search Assistant window and which sites the assistant will use for those searches.

Type Keywords Into the URL Box

In addition to the handy Search Assistant, IE 5 also lets you type search terms directly into the URL address field. So rather than typing, say, into the URL field, just type macys directly into the URL box, and IE will automatically perform an MSN search of the Web.

Find Related Links

If you're interested in a site you're currently viewing and would like to check out similar sites, select the Show Related Links from the Tools menu. IE uses the interest-matching service Alexa to search for Web pages on similar topics, then displays them in the browser's normal Search window.

Search Your History

Suppose you need to find some information you recently saw on a Web site, but you can't remember where or when you saw it. Provided you haven't erased your History in a while, IE will search your previously visited sites for keywords. Just click the History button, select Search from within the Explorer bar, and hunt away.

Sift Through Long Pages

Say you've performed a Web search for a specific word or phrase, but the resulting page of links is so long that you can't find the site you need. Just search for keywords on the currently open page. Choose the Edit menu option and select Find (on This Page) or hit Ctrl-F. Enter the word you're looking for into resulting the dialog box and hit Enter. As with other Windows-type searches, you can limit your search by clicking the Match Whole Word Only or Match Case boxes.

Organize Your Hard Drive

Case in point: IE 5 can also operate as a file management tool similar to Windows Explorer. To view your hard drive from within your browser window, type C: in the Address bar; the window will display the drive's contents. The toolbar buttons will change, and you can use them as you would those in Windows Explorer. For example, you can copy files from one folder to another using Copy and Paste, and double-click a document to open it in its related application.

Launch Programs From Your Browser

IE also lets you open any program on your system from your browser, provided the program has a desktop shortcut. Just type the name of your shortcut in IE's address bar, and the program will launch. For instance, if you have a desktop shortcut to Microsoft Word, type Microsoft Word in the address bar, and the program will automatically launch. Keep in mind that you must enter the exact name of the shortcut as it appears on your desktop.

Read a Web Page Offline

Don't have time to finish reading your online newspaper before you have to log off the Web? Big deal. With Internet Explorer, you can take it with you. To read a Favorites or Links bar item offline, right-click it, then click Make Available Offline. IE stores the Web page, complete with graphics, into a temporary folder. Then you're free to read it on your own time.

Save a Web Page for Offline Viewing

Here's another way to make a Web page available offline: Select File/Save As; choose a folder for the file; alter the filename (if required); from the Save As Type drop-down list, select "Web page, complete (*.htm,*.html)"; then click Save. Anytime you want to view the page again, simply open the file; it will appear as you saw it on the Web, with all of its images, sound files, and so on. Or if you'd rather not waste disk space on graphics files, you can opt to save the page as a text-only file instead.

Mail a Web Page

If you want to pass along an online article or a cool Web page to a friend, there's no need to copy and paste it into an email. Just click the Mail button and choose either Send A Link to fire off the URL or Send A Page to transmit the entire HTML page. Note: Your recipient will need to have an HTML-capable mail reader to view the page. You can also select Send and choose Page By E-mail or Link By E-mail from the File menu to perform the same actions.

Use IE As Your FTP Client

In addition to viewing standard HTTP Web pages, IE also operates as an FTP client--an app that lets you download files directly from another online computer. Type the URL of an FTP site into the address bar (be sure to type ftp:// instead of http:// before the URL) and click Go or press Enter. If you need to enter a username and a password, select Login As from the File menu and enter your name and password. Once you're connected to the site, you can drag and drop files from your hard drive to the site to upload them, or download files from the site to your hard drive.

Add Address Toolbars to the Windows Taskbar

Have you ever wanted to open a specific Web page without launching your browser first? If you're running Windows 98, there's a simple way to do it: Just add IE 5's Address toolbar to your Windows 98 Taskbar (located at the bottom of your screen to the right of the Start menu). Here's how: Right-click an open spot on the Taskbar, choose Toolbars, and select Address from the pop-up menu. To remove the Address toolbar, right-click the taskbar again and uncheck Address under Toolbars in the same menu.

Repair Internet Explorer

If IE 5's on the fritz and you can't locate an obvious cause, try the Repair button. In the Start Menu, go to Settings/Control Panel. Then double-click Add/Remove Programs and select Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and Internet Tools. Click the Add/Remove button. A pop-up window asks you whether you want to add a component, repair Internet Explorer, or restore the previous Windows configuration. Select Repair Internet Explorer. This self-repair tool fixes any IE components that may have installed incorrectly. After the process is finished, restart Windows.

Stop Jerky Browsing

Occasionally, long Web pages load slowly or jerkily. To iron out your browsing, simply select Internet Options from the Tools menu. From the Advanced tab listed under Browsing options, select the box labeled Use Smooth Scrolling. Click OK to save changes. Now your pages should scroll without hitches or hiccups.

Limit Cache Size

Earlier, we recommended that you increase your cache size to boost your surfing speeds (see Surf Fast). But if you don't have a large hard drive, increasing your cache may not be a viable option because it will eat up space. So, to limit the amount of space IE uses, select Internet Options from the Tools menu and click the Settings button under Temporary Internet Files. Slide the bar under "Amount of disk space to use" to the left or enter a smaller number of megabytes in the field to the right.

Reset Default Settings

Sometimes, however--and believe us, it's not easy to say this--your IE problems are entirely your fault. After you've made a lot of changes to IE's preferences or customized your home page, IE may start to misbehave. If you have no idea which tweak caused the problem, back up to square one and start over. To restore IE's default settings, select Internet Options from the Tools menu, then click the Programs tab and the Reset Web Settings button.

Resume Your Download After a Disconnection

If your modem connection breaks during a download or if a download times out, sometimes the download window will remain open. If you leave that window open, reconnect to the Internet, and start downloading the file again, IE will resume the download where it left off.

Get New Updates and Add-Ons

Like all other software, IE is constantly changing and improving. To find Microsoft's latest updates and add-ons for Internet Explorer (including security patches), check out Microsoft's Windows Update page by selecting Windows Update from IE's Tools menu or from the Windows Start menu. (Make sure you're already connected to the Internet.) Windows Update prompts you to accept the Active Setup installation, which you must do to view the Updates page. Active Setup then checks your system to find which of the latest add-ons and updates you need, then lets you choose the ones you want to install from a list

Changing the Default Sound in Internet Explorer

You can change the default sound heard when opening new pages in the Internet Explorer.
  1. Start Regedit
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ AppEvents \ Schemes \ Apps\ Explorer \ Navigating\ .current
  3. Change the default value to the wav file you want to use.
  4. Leaving it blank will turn off the sound. This also changes the default sound when navigating to folders in the Explorer.

Removing a Branded Logo from IE

If a vendor has replaced the normal Internet Explorer spinning logo with their own, it is very easy to set it back to the default without editing the registry directly.
  1. Go to Start / Run
  2. Enter in rundll32 iedkcs32.dll,Clear Now start up your browser and the spinning logo will be back to the default.

Using Your Own Style Sheet for All Web Pages

If you want Internet Explorer to use your own style sheet for formatting:
  1. Select Tools / Internet Options
  2. Click on the Accessibility button
  3. Check Format documents using my style sheet
  4. Browse to the location of the style sheet you want to use

Toolbar Wallpaper

Sure it's frivolous to someone like me, but I bet there are millions of people in the world who would love the ability to change that standard gray toolbar at the top of the browser window. Well, now you can! Choose from many different patterns, styles and colors. And if you want an even bigger selection, visit, a site that provides hundreds of custom toolbar wallpaper. If you consider yourself the artist type, you can even create your own toolbar wallpaper and submit it to be published on the site. The only thing to watch out for is that users of Yahoo Companion may have conflicts when trying to install Hotbar. I really like this service. Hotbar is good fun and a must-have for someone who wants to spice up their browsing experience!
Get Microsoft's Toolbar Wallpaper here: Toolbar wallpaper

Explorer Bars

If you've ever clicked on the Favorites or History buttons on the IE toolbar, you've seen Explorer Bars in action. They're the little windows that open on the left side of the browser window that allow you to perform tasks while your main browser window remains open. You can view a complete list of the available Explorer Bars by clicking View > Explorer Bars.
Microsoft now allows third parties to offer their own Explorer Bars. Many companies have taken advantage of this fact to offer consumers quick and always-on access to their services. Among those offering custom Bars are Alexa, AltaVista, the New York Times and Bloomberg.
See a complete list of available Bars here: Explorer bars

Web Developer Accessories

If you're a Web developer, you'll wonder how you ever got by without this handy little feature. There are two accessories in this kit. The first allows you to see the DOM properties of a page in tree form. I haven't found this one very useful yet. But the killer is the View Partial Source command. Instead of hunting through hundreds of lines of code, with this command, you can highlight a block of text or other element on a page and see just the source code of that section. Talk about a time-saver!
Get it here: Web Developer Accessories

Internet Explorer 5.5 Tips

Print Frames

Sometimes printing pages from the Web can be a real pain because of all the graphics and frames that Web designers throw onto their sites. That's why IE 5.5 includes a print preview option. This feature shows you precisely what your Web page will look like on paper and helps you configure pages into print-friendly versions. Also, if you're viewing a Web page with frames and want to print only a certain frame, right-click anywhere inside the frame (other than a link or an image) and select Print Frame from the pop-up menu. IE will print only the selected frame.

Download the IE 5.5 Privacy Patch

When IE 5.5 launched earlier this year, bug hunters quickly discovered a security hole that lets a cracker--a malicious hacker--read files on your computer. So, if you're planning to download IE 5.5, you might want to get the patch as well. Be warned, however, this patch is only a beta, so install it at your own risk.

Internet Explorer Quits When You Attempt to Browse Shockwave or Flash-enabled Site

The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.
When you attempt to browse a Macromedia Shockwave-enabled or Flash-enabled Web site, you may receive an error message similar to the following:
This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.
If the problem persists, contact the program vendor.
Click here for the article from Microsoft.