INTERNET EXPLORER: TIPS & TWEAKS

Satheesh C B | Wednesday, March 05, 2008 | 0 comments

CHANGE INTERNET EXPLORER DEFAULT DOWNLOAD DIRECTORY
By default Internet Explorer uses the same directory path to save files whenever you download a file from  the Internet. You can change this default path at any time by opening the Registry Editor and going to:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer]
Download Directory=C:\Documents and Settings\User\Downloads
This STRING specifies the default directory where IE will save downloaded files. Enter the path to wherever you want the new default to be.
REMOVE ʹLINKSʹ FOLDER IN FAVORITES
Another common annoyance of Internet Explorer 6 is its insistence that a folder called ʹLinksʹ be kept in your Favorites listing. Every time this folder is deleted, it will be recreated the next time Internet Explorer is launched. To get rid of it permanently, use Registry Editor and go to:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar]
LinksFolderName=Links

To delete Links for good, edit this STRING so that it equals a blank (empty) value. Now go into your Favorites and delete the Links folder (right‐click on it and select Delete) and it wonʹt reappear ever again.
CUSTOMIZE INTERNET EXPLORER TITLE BAR
If you want to customize what is displayed at the top of each Internet Explorer window (typically the nameof the site followed by Microsoft Internet Explorer), go to:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
Window Title=Microsoft Internet Explorer
Create a new STRING called Window Title (there is one space between the two words), and assign whatever text you wish to use. The next time you launch a new Internet Explorer window this text will be displayed at the top of IE.
INCREASE MAXIMUM SIMULTANEOUS DOWNLOADS
By default Internet Explorer only allows 2 downloads at a time. This is the Internet Standard for maximum number of simultaneous connections to a server. You can increase this value beyond 2 by going to:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]
MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server=0x00000005(5)
MaxConnectionsPerServer=0x00000005(5)

Create two new DWORD keys with the names shown above. To assign values to them, double‐click on each one and before entering a value, make sure to select the Decimal view option. Then enter the maximum number of simultaneous downloads you want in the ʹValue dataʹ box  and click Ok when done. The number shown in the right pane for these keys will be displayed in Hexadecimal format first followed by the  normal Decimal value in brackets ‐ make sure the value in the round brackets is the maximum number of connections you want. Note that increasing the maximum number of simultaneous connections to a server is technically a breach of Internet Standards, so if you experience any problems reset these values to 2.
DISABLE INTERNET EXPLORER SEARCH ASSISTANT
When you click the Search button or press CTRL + E to use the Search function in Internet Explorer, by default this brings up the Search Assistant interface. This interface is annoying, and can be improved byusing the Registry Editor and going to:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
Use Search Asst=No

To use a custom search sidebar (See below) and get rid of the somewhat annoying default interface, turn off  Search Assistant by setting this entry to No. Note that the ʹMainʹ registry key may not exist in your registry, so in Registry Editor right click on the ʹInternet Explorerʹ key, select New>Key, and call it ʺMainʺ (without
quotes). You will then have to create a new STRING value in the right pane called ʺUse Search Asstʺ  (without quotes, and remember to include a space between each word), double click on it once created and give it the value ʺNoʺ (without quotes).
USE CUSTOMIZED INTERNET EXPLORER SEARCH ASSISTANT
If you have disabled the default Internet Explorer Search Assistant, you can customize the search sidebar to have a Google search interface instead for example. To do this, open the Registry Editor and go to:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
Search Page=
http://www.google.com
Search Bar=http://www.google.com/ie
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search] SearchAssistant=http://www.google.com/ie
Create or change all of these STRING entries to the values shown above to implement this tweak.
CHANGE INTERNET EXPLORER ADDRESS BAR SEARCH ENGINE
By default you can perform an Internet search by entering a word in the Internet Explorer Address Bar, as long as under the Tools>Internet Options>Advanced section in IE the option ʹJust display results in the main windowʹ or ʹDisplay results, and go to the most likely siteʹ is selected. Internet Explorer will use the
Microsoft Network (MSN) search engine to perform the search. To use a better search engine such as Google open Registry Editor and go to:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search]CustomizeSearch=http://ie.search.msn.com/en-us/srchasst/srchcust.htm
Changing the STRING value to that shown above will allow Internet Explorer to use other search engines.
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchUrl]
Provider=gogl
This STRING determines the search engine used if a customized search engine is allowed (See above). The values which correspond to other search engines are listed below:

Msn ‐ MSN (default)  Lksm ‐ LookSmart  Aols ‐ AOL
Yaho ‐ Yahoo  Askj ‐ Ask Jeeves  Infs ‐ InfoSpace
Alta ‐ AltaVista  Nets ‐ Netspace
You can also change the search provider by launching Internet Explorer, opening Search (CTRL + E or click the magnifying glass), clicking the Customize button, then clicking the ʹAutosearch Settingsʹ button. Select your Address Bar search engine provider there. Note that you may have problems searching from the
address bar if you use a proxy or some Firewall software. Also note that whichever provider you choose for the search bar, the search will still be processed through MSN initially, which will then pass the search to the chosen search engine and show the results in that engine. This behavior canʹt be changed.
REPAIRING INTERNET EXPLORER
If youʹre experiencing difficulties with Internet Explorer, the first thing to do is to double‐check your settings in detail. However sometimes Internet Explorerʹs behavior can be so inexplicable as to leave you wondering what exactly is going on. Since Internet Explorer is a core component of Windows XP, it cannot be
completely uninstalled or deleted from your system and then reinstalled ʹcleanlyʹ (unless you use NLite ‐ see the Installing Windows section). You can however attempt to fix the problem by doing one of the following:
SCAN FOR MALICIOUS SOFTWARE
Many viruses, trojans, spyware, browser hijackers and other types of malicious software can significantly alter your Internet Explorer behavior ‐ such as changing your default home page or the number and size of IE Windows which open.                                         REINSTALL INTERNET EXPLORER
If you suspect a corrupted system file, you can use the System File Checker to scan for and repair all such files. The System File Checker will require that you have your original Windows XP CD handy. See the Backup & Recovery section for details.
Alternatively, you can trick Windows into thinking Internet Explorer 6 isnʹt installed, and this will allow you to reinstall Internet Explorer over the top of your existing installation (which isnʹt normally possible). To do this, open the Registry Editor and go to the following key:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\
{89820200-ECBD-11cf-8B85-00AA005B4383}]
IsInstalled=1

Change or create this DWORD setting to =0 and click OK. Now go to the Microsoft Internet Explorer Homepage, download the correct full version of Internet Explorer and install it. Once completed, go to
Windows Update and install all the available patches and updates for Internet Explorer once again. These steps should resolve any issues you are having with Internet Explorer if the cause was a corrupted file or registry entry. If they donʹt then see below.                  TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES FOLDER
If youʹre having problems with Internet Explorer while browsing the Internet, such as freezes or laggy behavior, it may well be that the Temporary Internet Files folder is the culprit. If youʹve previously tried to manually delete files from there, or even tried moving or deleting the entire folder, this may trigger problematic behavior in Internet Explorer which can only be resolved by doing the following:

1. Empty your Internet Explorer cache by opening Internet Explorer, going to Tools>Internet Options and clicking the ʹDelete Filesʹ option, ticking the ʹDelete all offline contentʹ on the next screen and click OK.Also click the ʹDelete Cookiesʹ and ʹClear Historyʹ buttons while you are there.
2. Reboot your PC and make sure you donʹt open Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer, or anything which accesses them.
3. Go to Start>Run and type ʺCmdʺ (without quotes) then press Enter. This opens a Command Prompt.
4. Type ʺCD\ʺ (without quotes) at the prompt to take you to the root directory.
5. Open Windows Task Manager (CTRL + ALT + DEL) and under the Processes tab highlight the Explorer process and click ʹEnd Processʹ. The desktop will vanish, but this is normal.
6. Go back to the command prompt, and copy or type the following text (including the quotes) into the command prompt and press Enter:
del "%userprofile%\local settings\temporary internet files\content.ie5\"
7. Answer ʹYʹ when prompted if you want to delete the file.
8. Go to the Windows Task Manager again and click on the File

Menu and choose ʹNew Task (Run)...ʹ and type ʺExplorerʺ (without quotes) and hit Enter. This will reload the desktop. Doing the above will delete the Index.dat file which lies in your Temporary Internet Files folder and in doing so it will be recreated with the correct references to your cached internet files the next time you open Internet Explorer. Any strange browser behavior should be resolved.
DNS CACHE ISSUES
Whenever your browser tries to load up a page on the Internet, it has to access a Domain Name System (DNS) server to resolve or translate the text address you use (e.g. www.Google.com) into the actual IP address for the website (e.g.: 216.239.57.99). As you can see, the concept of having text for an address rather than a bunch of numbers makes remembering addresses a lot easier for users.
However since your browser needs to check DNS addresses each time it loads any web pages, the browser speeds up this process by caching (locally storing) the addresses you use for a period of time so that next time you try to go to the same address it uses the IP address it has cached rather than looking it up again on
a DNS Server. Unfortunately if a site is down temporarily, or has recently moved, then your DNS cache may store the site as being inaccessible for a while even if it comes back online shortly afterwards, and therefore every time you try to connect to it for several hours you will get an error message. To resolve any DNS problems with web pages not loading up at all or loading up with outdated information, go to Start>Run and type ʺCMDʺ (without quotes) and press Enter to open a new Command Prompt window, then in the Command Prompt type ʺipconfig /flushdnsʺ (without quotes) and press Enter. This will clear your DNS cache. Furthermore, to make sure that your browser never stores a ʹnegativeʹ DNS cache entry – i.e. one which says a site is inaccessible – then go to the Registry and do the following:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dnscache\Parameters]
MaxNegativeCacheTtl=0
                                                            If the value above doesnʹt exist, create it as a new DWORD and assign it a value of 0 so that no negative DNS entries can be kept in the DNS cache. You can also set the length of time in ʹTime To Liveʹ (TTL) for a ʹpositiveʹ (or working) DNS cache entry to remain active before being updated. To do this, in the Registry go to:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dnscache\Parameters]
MaxCacheTtl=10800
If this entry doesnʹt exist, create it as a new DWORD and assign it a value which measures (in seconds) the  total Time To Live for the positive cache entry. Make sure to enter the amount of seconds in Decimal – not Hexadecimal – view.

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