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8 October 2006

Tips and tricks for Internet Explorer

Most people use Internet Explorer to browse the net. It loads up fast because parts of it is loaded by Windows as the latter boots up. Using the feedback from its huge user base, Microsoft has made numerous improvements, which you can use to your advantage.

  • Disable the Links toolbar and save space. Remove the Explorer view for the same reason.
  • Customize the toolbar via View » Toolbars » Customize.
  • Blank home page: Set your home page to a blank one so that it loads up faster. This is done via Tools » Internet Options » General » Use Blank.
  • Offline browsing:You do not have to connect to the Internet to revisit a page. You can access it from the cache. This is done via Tools » Internet Options » Temporary Internet Folders » Settings » Check newer versions of stored pages: » Never. After setting up IE like this, you can browse offline by, click on the History button. This will open up the History folder in a left pane. Browse through this to access the pages that you have visited earlier. You check the latest version on the net however by clicking on the Refresh button.
  • Computer Security: Some websites have ads that tell you that your computer could be transmitting vital/private information about you, which could be targeted by hackers and viruses. They will tell you to download a security software. Considering the fact that they are using wrong tactics to sell their product, it is quite possible that their software could be doing more harm than good. No matter which software you use, it is not possible to completely hide your computer on the net. People who have always-on Internet connections like broadband or cable should instead use firewalls like the trusty ZoneAlarm or Tiny.
There are other websites that will ask visitors to install ActiveX controls like Gator or Bonzi. These are spyware and Internet users should avoid them.
Neither should you install programs like MP3 Dancer. These are spyware. Even if you uninstall them, they will still remain on your computer without your knowledge.
  • Tip 1: IE's autocomplete feature may throw up some web addresses at the address bar, which you may not want others to see. So, clear the history. This is done by Internet Options » Clear History. If otherwise you want to selectively remove history items, then delete the appropriate folders inside the History folder. In Windows 9x/Me, the History folder is inside the Windows folder. In Windows 2000/XP, it will be inside the Documents and Settings\«User name»\Local Settings\ folder.
  • Tip 2: Deleting the files in the Temporary Internet Files folder can remove only part of your tracks. Cookies stored by websites usually remain in this folder with their full web address. So, that is a security violation. To remove them, choose Internet Options » Temporary Internet Folder » Delete Cookies.
  • Tip 3: All evidence is still not removed. There is a file inside the Temporary Internet Files folder called index.dat, which has some evidence of your browsing history. Delete this file too. IE will regenerate another index.dat later.
  • Paranoia 4: When the Autocomplete feature is enabled, all your personal information including passwords are stored on the computer, which is available for others to misuse. So, when you are done with browsing at your office or an Internet cafe, follow the above three steps and clear the saved data by choosing Internet Options » Content » AutoComplete » Clear Forms and Clear Passwords. Sometimes, the Internet Options menu option might be disabled in your office or web cafe. So, delete the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IntelliForms key from the registry. If you want to steal or backup passwords, export this key and import it on a different machine or installation. You will also have to copy the {username}.pwl file and cookies to the new machine/installation. Sometimes, there are ActiveX programs that sit silently recording everything. You can check them out at Internet Options » Temporary Internet Files » Settings » View Objects. This will open the Downloaded Program Files folder in the windows folder. By right-clicking the contents, you can either remove them or check out their properties.
  • Tip 5: In certain Internet cafes, silent keyboard loggers are installed by certain people to collect userids and passwords, and send them to their email addresses. Remove these programs from memory and only then browse. Also disable form fillers such as Gator in Internet cafes.
  • Downloading recalcitrant files: Most people use a downloaded manager to download huge files. But, sometimes they run into problems when the download manager is not able to catch the correct url of the file. In such cases, open the source of the page via View » Source and do a search for the download file. Usually, the full url of the file will be found here. Copy this and paste it in the download manager. If some website prevents you from right-clicking to save an image on it, just look inside the Temporary Internet Files folder for it.
  • IE Toolbars : Add the Google toolbar to IE. With this toolbar, you will get to the results without having to visit Google's home page first.
  • ESCAPE: Many people do not know this. If a page is being downloaded and you want to stop it, then pressing the Escape key will do that. Also, pressing Backspace key will take you to the previous page.
  • Saving web pages: Beginning with Version 5, IE allows saving a web page in a single file including its images and other embedded content. To do this, choose Save As from the File menu. Here in the Save as type, choose Web Archive, single file (*.mht). Sometimes, MHT files may not show anything even though its thumbnail does show something. If you disable Javascript, you will be able to see the whatever something you saw in the thumbnail.


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posted by VaTsAl at 1:26 pm | Permalink