Internet guidesThe Microsoft Internet Explorer is installed as standard with all of the Windows operating systems, as a result it is the most widely used method of accessing, translating and displaying web pages, accounting for over 80% of the market. It is easy to use and easily customised. Many other browsers are an adaptation of it.
If you are not using internet explorer 6, you should upgrade. It is free, has newer features and improved security measures. If you need information about the browser you are using, click here or on help at the top of the screen and select about Internet explorer.
If you are not using internet explorer 6 Upgrade NOW, Click hereApple Mac users please note that Internet Explorer for the Mac is only available up to version 5,
Windows XP users, please note, the latest version of Internet explorer is included in service pack 2, issued by windows. It is recommended you have this as it includes many security issues which came to light after XP's release. Click here to get yours
Lets start with a quick run through of the buttons which are set as standard, then we will move onto removing the ones you don't need, and adding none standard ones you like.
The internet explorer places its tool bars within its window. The bars remain constantly in view and the web pages are displayed in whatever area is left.
Across the top of the window is a blue band, which displays the title of the web page you are viewing. In the top right hand corner there are three small boxes, to minimize, full screen and close the window. These boxes are on the top of all windows.
A typical Internet explorer toolbar
Directly underneath the blue top of the window is the tool bar, one or more bars that contains applications you can use to supplement your surfing.
The top bar is for Standard buttons Clicking on these will produce a drop down list of options. These options may vary according to the programmes you have in your computer, e.g. The print options will only be available if you have a printer installed.
The middle bar is called the explorer bar and holds a variety of features and applications.
A third bar is called the Address bar. This has an input box, in there you can type the address of a web page you wish to visit e.g. http://internetinspiration.co.uk, and it will retrieve that page for you or you can open any programme in your computer, by typing in the location of the file, e.g. C:\my documents\my file. If you do not know the file path, click the blue chevron on the right hand side of the box, a list of the programmes on your computer is displayed.
Certain applications can install additional features or toolbars.
We will go through each button in turn and explain its function.
Clicking on FILE, on the Standard buttons bar will show a drop down list with the following options -
New, will open the page in a new window, useful if you are using more than one page at once, you can switch between pages without having to reload each time.
Open, will open a chosen file or document from your computer.
Save as, will save text or image to a specified part of your computers memory.
Print, will open your printer programme to print the document you are viewing.
Send, will give you further options which will enable you to send the page you are viewing to a friend via e-mail, or send a link to the page to a friend by e-mail.
The shortcut to desktop will create a small button, called an icon on your computers desktop. Clicking on this will open your internet connection and go to the page in a single click. Useful if you are using a particular site regularly. The button on your desktop can easily be removed by right clicking on it and selecting remove shortcut.
Properties, will display a few technical details of the page you are viewing.
Close, will guess what? close the window.
EDIT, will allow you to copy and paste any selected area of the page. If you do not understand these terms, Click here.
Select all will select the entire page to copy.
Find will search the page you are viewing for any words you type in.
VIEW, is where you decide what bits of the Internet explorer you see and what you don't. You can customise the browser to your own personal needs or requirements. Clicking will produce a drop down list.
Hold your mouse over Toolbars, (the small triangle means there are more options). You will see another list. (You can also pull up this list by right clicking anywhere on the toolbar).
This will allow you to decide which of the toolbars you want so see
Clicking on Standard buttons will add or remove the standard navigational buttons. Note how the amount of space available to view the web page increases and decreases as you add or remove the tool bars.
The Status bar will show or hide the narrow bar across the bottom of the window. This displays the status of the web page you are viewing, you will see how much is loaded, and see the word done when complete. It can also display the address of the page that is loading and show if you are on a secure page by displaying a padlock in the right corner
Once you have arranged your toolbar how you like it, clicking on lock the toolbar will prevent you accidentally changing it.
Links, you can add a link direct to your favourite or most used sites. Many people find this feature unnecessary as it does basically the same job as favourites, so they disable it by clicking to remove the check mark.
Customise will allow you to decide which buttons appear on your explorer bar includes back, forward, stop, refresh, home, search, favourites, history, media, mail, print, edit, discuss, map drive, folders, full screen, cut, copy, paste and encode. Simply highlight any feature you wish to add in the left hand box and click the add button, it will then be seen in the right hand box and in your tool bar. Should you wish to remove any of the features from the tool bar, highlight the item in the right hand box and click remove.
Back onto the drop down list for View, clicking on Status bar or explorer bar will add or remove these two tool bars.
Go to will offer you a a route back of forward to a recently viewed page
Stop will stop the web page loading.
Refresh will reload the web page.
text size allows you to increase or decrease the size of the text displayed
Encoding is the language your computer is set to understand.
Source allows you to view the coding that produces the page you are viewing
Full screen will adjust the size of the window to the size of your screen
Next along the Standard buttons bar is Favourites, allows you to save the address (URL) of a particular site without having to remember or retype it each time you visit. To add the site you are viewing to your list simply click on add to favourites from the drop down list that appears.
To recall a page you have previously added to favourites, simply click on the site from the drop down list.
Many sites now offer a link to add them to your favourites. Alternatively you can right click on any blank part of the page and click on add to favourites from the drop down list that appears.
Tools, will offer News and Mail. This will allow you to read or send your e-mails, It will also let you send a link for the page you are viewing to a friend via their e-mail, by clicking on send page.
read news will open a news portal, you can select your preferred source of news.
Synchronise will let you view pages on your favourites list whilst off-line.
Windows update will take you to the Microsoft web site to check for updates to the version of windows you are running, which includes your internet explorer. It is important you keep your windows updated, as many security issues are resolved with a patch.
Internet options is an important one, it will open a box with a line of tabs across the top. Each tab will allow you to adjust settings according to your preferences or sensitivity.
On the General tab, you can change your home page (the page which always opens when you connect to the internet), if you want to change it, either type in the full address of the page you want or open the page in your browser and click the 'use current' button.
Whilst you have the General tab open, you may as well do a bit of spring cleaning. Each time you visit a web page, all the graphics are stored in a file on your computer. This allows the site to be downloaded quicker the next time you visit. These flies can use up a considerable amount of your memory, so you can empty them using the Delete files button.
You can also delete the cookies you have collected. Cookies are explained in the Privacy and security section of this site.
Settings will produce another box, where you can set the maximum size of your temporary internet files, and view what is in them.
Clear history. Internet explorer keeps a list of web sites visited. You can delete this with this button.
If you have difficulty seeing small text or certain colours, you can set your browser to over ride colours, font styles and sizes set in web pages. Still on the General tab, the colours button allows you to set colours of the text, background and links. Once you have set those, click the accessibility button and check the boxes to ignore colours, styles and sizes according to your preferences.
The Security tab, will allow you to set or change internet and intranet settings, according to your sensitivity. You can have different settings for sites you list as 'trusted' and 'restricted'. The settings are many and can mean very little to some, but at the bottom of the settings page is a drop down box to help you, it will adjust the settings to a high of low level for you, you can still reset individual settings yourself.
Content, allows you to set levels of what can be viewed and what cannot.
The content advisor will bring up another box so you can adjust settings for language, nudity, sex and violence. These settings are particularly useful when the internet is being used by children. More details of the rating system is available on the general tab of the content advisor.
Connections tab sets the method of connecting to the internet.
Programmes sets which applications you want to use to send e-mail, newsgroups, contact lists etc.
The Advanced tab, gives a list of options which specify what web page features your browser will accept, unfortunately there are too many to discuss here in sufficient detail to be of any use to you, if you are not sure what they activate or disable, best leave them alone at this stage. The default button will reset them to the standard windows settings should you ever get in any trouble with them.
The Help button, you should use as often as necessary. The contents and index will allow you to type in a word or question to get an answer or explanation.
On the whole the Internet explorer is an excellent tool, easy to use and fully customisable. The fact that is the most used browser also makes it the prime target for hackers, who constantly strive to find and exploit vulnerabilities, windows do a pretty good job of keeping up with them and issue a patch to cover any holes, but in order for you to benefit from the patches you must keep your system fully up to date.
Microsoft, and others have produced some interesting add-ons for Internet Explorer 5 and above, (You will have this if you updated your browser on the link near the top of this page). Get them from Web Accessories. we are also assembling the list below.
A word of caution about browser ad-ons, or BHO,s (browser helper objects). Many appear very desirable, but actually are cover for malicious applications which can hijack your browser. Click here for more information.
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