No announcement yet.

10 Internet Explorer 8 tips

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 10 Internet Explorer 8 tips

    1. Personalise the title bar
    By default the title bar – the top-most part of the screen – displays the title of the web page followed by a piece of text that says something like, "Internet Explorer provided by…" Few people know that you can change this to whatever you like, for example on my copy of IE8 it says "Ian's IE8 – the best browser by far."
    To make this change you need to edit the Windows registry, something you should approach with caution. Whenever you edit the registry, you should take a backup of your system first in case something goes wrong, and make sure you close all Internet Explorer windows.

    If you've got Windows XP, press Start, then select Run and type regedit and hit Return.
    For Windows Vista and Windows 7, type regedit into Start and press Return.

    Once the Registry Editor has started up, press the + sign next to HKEY_ CURRENT_USER, then double click on Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main. With Main still highlighted you'll see a long list of values on the right-hand side.

    Right click on any white space in the right hand pane, and select New > String Value, call it Window Title and press Return. Now double-click the registry entry, type anything you like in Value Data box and press OK.

    Close the Registry Editor and start IE8 and you should see your text in the title bar.

    2. Maximise screen space
    The menu bar in Internet Explorer (File, Edit, Tools and so on) is useful but takes up valuable space on your screen. Many people don't realise that you can remove it and bring it back easily when needed.
    If it's already showing, select View > Toolbars and click on Menu Bar to uncheck it. You can now bring it back at will by pressing the Alt key.

    3. Search faster
    Most search engines have a facility to provide search suggestions or recommendations based on the keyword you type into the search box. You can invoke this useful feature from any page by typing a question mark, followed by a space, followed by your search terms into the address box (where you would normally type the web address) – but don't press Return.

    You then see a list of the most common searches, which may help you find what you were looking for. For example, if I want fancy dress costumes, I could type ? Fancy dress into the web address box and see a list of suggestions of what to search for.

    4. Save paper and ink when printing
    If you want to print a page, but don't want all the images on the page to waste your ink, you can use the developer tools to get rid of them. To activate the feature, press F12 on any web page and you'll see a new window open up.

    Select the Images menu item and press Disable Images to switch off all images on the page, something that can speed up printing if you're only interested in the text content. If you select View Alt Text from the same menu item, it displays text describing the images instead.
    Also try selecting View > Link Paths. You can see all of the links, and select them easily for copying to the clipboard.

    5. Browse more easily on netbooks
    If you're viewing a website on a tiny netbook screen, make the page bigger by pressing the F11 key. This switches IE8 into full-screen mode, removing all trace of the browser and letting the web page occupy the entire screen. If you move your mouse near the top of the screen, the missing parts of the screen reappear temporarily. Get back to normal by pressing F11 again.

    If you have a web page that you want to display in full screen all of the time, create a shortcut to IE on your desktop, right-click it and select Properties. Then after "iexplore.exe" in the target box (after the closing quote mark), type –k followed by a space followed by the web address.

    For example, if I wanted to view my Office Live Workspace in fullscreen mode I would put "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" –k

    Then whenever I clicked on the shortcut, it would open Internet Explorer at that web address, in full-screen mode.

    6. Edit header and footer on printouts
    IE8 gives you some control over what appears in the header and footer of printouts. Choose File > Page Setup (if the File menu is not shown, press Alt once).

    In the Headers and Footers section you can select text to appear on the left, middle and right of the printout, such as the web address, page title, page number, total number of pages, or a custom value where you can enter whatever you like.

    7. Launch a site using InPrivate Browsing mode
    InPrivate Browsing is a new mode in Internet Explorer 8 that removes all traces of your browsing, including history, temporary files and log-in data.

    But if you don't want to constantly turn this feature off and on, you can create a shortcut to launch just a specific website with InPrivate mode activated.

    To do this, create a shortcut as described above, append –private followed by a space, followed by the web address of the site you want to access, for example -private

    Now when you double-click this shortcut, it loads up with InPrivate mode switched on every time.

    8. Master your add-ons
    IE8 introduced the concept of Accelerators, a feature that enables you to perform a number of useful functions just by highlighting a piece of text on a web page. Although IE8 comes with a standard set of accelerators preinstalled, you can find many more (and also other add-ons such as web slices, visual searches and plug-ins) at

    However, the more you install the more crowded you will find your accelerator menus becoming. You can control them by going to Tools > Manage Add-ons. You'll see a list of all currently-loaded add-ons by default but you can change this to show all add-ons by pressing the button under Show.

    On the far right you'll see the Load time column (you may need to resize the window to see it). Click on the Load time column header to sort by the time each add-on takes to load. This way you can see which add-ons are slowing down your browser's start-up time, and by disabling these you can speed things up. To disable any add-on, click on it and press the Disable button.

    9. Increase your download limit
    By default Internet Explorer limits you to two simultaneous downloads to ensure that your bandwidth is used as effectively as possible. However, with very fast connections becoming more common, you might prefer to increase the number of downloads you can have running at the same time.

    Microsoft has provided a simple wizard to increase the download limit to 10. Visit and click Fix this problem.

    10. Solve any problem
    If you're having trouble with Internet Explorer 8 crashing, it could be due to a problem with one of your add-ons. Running the browser with all addons switched off can help you check if this is the case, and may get you back in control of your browser to fix it.

    You may also find that IE loads up much quicker without add-ons switched on, and may be quicker generally. If this is the case, refer to tip 8 for suggestions on how to find offending add-ons that are slowing you down. You can add a prefix to your Internet Explorer shortcut to enable it to open in a sterile mode, free of add-ons and settings that may cause conflicts.

    First, create a new shortcut for Internet Explorer (or amend your existing shortcut) by right-clicking on it and selecting Properties, then add –extoff after "iexplore.exe" in the target box. Alternatively, if you're using Windows XP press Start > Run, enter iexplore –extoff into the box and press Return; if you're using Windows Vista or Windows 7, press Start then type iexplore –extoff into the search box and press Return.