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Change the Home Page
Your Internet Explorer home page is the site you land on when you open a new IE window or click the cute little "home" button on the toolbar. If you have never customized your home page, it likely defaults to MSN.com or another site that someone else chose for you, and you might not have given it another thought. Wouldn't it be pleasant though, if every time you opened Internet Explorer it was a site you use often and enjoy?
To customize your IE home page, open Internet Explorer and navigate to the site you want to set as your default home page. Make sure you only have one tab open. Go to the Tools menu, click Internet Options and make sure you are on the General tab. In the Home Page section, click the Use Current button, and then click Apply to save the changes. Do you find yourself typically opening two or three particular sites every time you log on? You can customize Internet Explorer to remember these settings. Follow the same steps as listed above, only open multiple tabs and navigate to a different site on each tab. From any of these tabs, open the Internet Options dialog and click Current. The Home Page section will display each site on a separate line. Click Apply to save these changes. The next time you open Internet Explorer, it will be customized with the default tab settings you selected.
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Change the Search Settings
You probably have a favorite search engine, such as Google, Ask.com or Dogpile. If you need to look up information or find a website, it is likely that you head to that search engine and search away. Instead, you can skip a step or two and customize Internet Explorer to search using your favorite engine directly from the Address bar.
Customize your search settings by opening Internet Explorer, clicking on Tools and then selecting Internet Explorer. On the General tab, click the Settings button in the Search section of the dialog. The Change Search Defaults dialog will open. Click the Find More Providers link.
A new Internet Explorer will open, taking you to the Windows Search Provider page. This is where you get to customize your searches. You have two options. You can select a search provider from the extensive list offered, or you can create your own. To choose one from the list, click the search engine name. Click Add Provider in the dialog that opens.
Using a search provider not in the list is a little trickier. Open a new IE tab or window and navigate to the search engine's web address. Type the word TEST in capital letters into the search engine and click Go. When the search results are listed, place the cursor in the address bar, press Ctrl+A to select the text, press Ctrl+C to copy it and then go back to the Windows Search Provider page. Click inside the Paste URL box and press Ctrl+V to paste it. In the next box, type a name for the site and then click Install.
Click the Add Provider button and close the window. For either manner (choosing from the list or entering your own search provider) you must now go back to the Internet Options box to customize the settings. Click the Settings button in the Search section, click the search provider in the list and then click Set Default.