A Guide to Internet Explorer 9 Features

A Guide to Internet Explorer 9 Features
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Missing Features?

Plenty of Internet Explorer 9 features exist that make it different from the previous versions of the browser. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, you know that there are many changes to the new browser from Microsoft, especially to the Interface. This article on Internet Explorer 9 features aims to cover the ones that are not easily traceable. While you may know some of these features of IE9, let us further discuss them to help you understand how you can benefit.

Menu Bar: The first among these hidden features of IE9 is the Menu bar. For people who just installed the Internet Explorer 9, it comes as a surprise that there is no menu bar in IE9. However, it is just an illusion. The IE team has hidden this feature to offer more canvass space for the websites you are browsing. To see the menu bar, just press the ALT key. Once you press ALT, you get the traditional menu bar that hides again when you press ALT or when you click anywhere in the browser.

Compatibility View Settings: One of the emails I received recently was about a user not being able to use Facebook on IE9. Each time he logged onto the site, he had to click the Compatibility button so that Facebook works properly. Though it helped, clicking on the Compatibility button would reload the website. Among the features of IE9 is the ability of displaying older websites in compatibility mode if you cannot view it properly. For older websites, IE9 will display the compatibility button next to the Address bar. It was easier in IE8 where you could add the websites to compatibility list so that they always opened in compatibility mode without you having to click on the compatibility button each time you visit the website. Did you know that you can do the same with IE9 too? Press ALT + T to open the Tools menu. You will find the Compatibility Settings option in the menu (see image). Just add the websites that you cannot view properly in IE9 to the Compatibility view settings so that you do not need to reload the website again by clicking on the Compatibility icon.

Features of IE9 - Tips on New Tab Page

Opening Recently Closed Tabs - Did you close an Internet Explorer tab accidentally? You can always restore it using the new page window. IE9 keeps a log of recently closed pages so that you can re-open them without searching Temporary Internet Files folder. To re-open a recently closed webpage, open a new tab page and see if it exists in any of the thumbnails under Your Most Popular Sites. If it is not visible in the thumbnails, click on the triangle next to Reopen Closed Tabs. It presents you with a list of recently closed webpages. Click on the one you wish to re-open again. If the Recently Closed Tabs does not present you with the website you are looking for, press CTRL + H to open History so that you can find the webpage.

Fig 2 - Internet Explorer 9 Features - How to Open Recently Closed Tabs

Removing Traces of Most Popular Websites on the New Tab Page - The new tab page shows you the top ten websites that you have been using. It also presents you with an activity indicator to show how frequently you use the listed websites. You may feel uncomfortable with the feature if you are on a shared computer. In such case, you can easily remove the thumbnails so that none can check out what websites you have been visiting. Open Internet Options and select Delete Browsing History on Exit. This option is available on the General tab of Internet Options. Once you enable the option, the new tab window will show blank thumbnails whenever you re-open IE9.

Fig 3 - Internet Explorer 9 Features - Remove Most Popular Websites

These were just four hidden features of Internet Explorer 9. Did you know that you can increase the number of popular websites list to 25? Please turn to the next page for more tips on using Internet Explorer 9 features to your benefit.

Internet Explorer 9 Features - Features You May Have Never Noticed

The previous page offered you four Internet Explorer 9 features that you may have come across but did not know how to make better use of them. This page continues with similar lesser known or hidden features of Internet Explorer 9.

Adding more Thumbnails to Most Popular Websites - By default, Internet Explorer presents you with ten thumbnails under Your Most Popular Websites in the new tab page. You can increase the number of thumbnails to 25 by tweaking the Windows registry. To ease the process, I’ve created a ready to use code for adding more thumbnails to the new tab page. Just download the file, change the file extension to .reg and double click it. When you re-open the browser, you will find that IE9 is now capable of showing up to 25 websites on the new tab page.

How to Pin a Particular Page Instead of Entire Website: Among the best Internet Explorer 9 features is the ability to pin websites to Start menu and to the Windows Taskbar. Click on the Tools icon to expand it. In the menu that appears, click on File and select Add Site to Start Menu. To add a website to Taskbar, drag the website Favicon to Taskbar. However, when you use these methods, the home page of the website opens when you click on the icon. To set IE9 to open only a particular page, drag and drop the tab instead of website Favicon. You can also drag the tab to Start button that automatically opens so that you can drop the webpage to the Start menu. You will however, need some practice to use this method. For more details, please read our article - Learn to Pin Tabs in IE9.

Manage Add-ons to Speed up IE9 - You must have encountered the Manage Add-ons window when you installed any add-on to Internet Explorer 9. One of the Internet Explorer 9 features is that a notification bar appears when you or any application adds any add-on to IE9. It asks if you wish to enable the add-on. It also offers a link to Manage Add-ons window. But did you know that you can use the window to retain (if not increase) the speed of IE9? Against each add-on in the Manage Add-ons window, you can see the time it takes to load. If you feel that your IE9 startup speed is low, you can use the Manage Add-ons window to disable the add-ons that take more time to load. You can access the Manage Add-ons window from Tools icon.

Fig 4 - Internet Explorer 9 Features - How to Manage Add-ons in IE9 to Increase Startup Speed

Adding Search Providers to IE9 - When you search from the Address bar in Internet Explorer 9, the browser employs Bing search engine. You can always change the default search provider using the Manage Add-ons window. If the search provider you want is not listed in Internet Explorer -> Manage Add-ons, you can always add it manually. Check our article - Adding Search Providers to IE9 - to know how to add search providers to IE9 and how to make it the default search provider in IE9.

Change Search Engine from Address Bar - Internet Explorer 9 features several search providers when you install the browser. They include Bing, Google, and Yahoo. You can add more search providers such as Wikipedia, eBay Search etc using Manage Add-ons window (see the linked article in above tip for details). However, you need not open the Add-ons window each time you wish to use a different search engine while searching from Address bar. One of the interesting features of Internet Explorer 9 is that you can type the keywords in Address bar and just click on the logo of the search provider to use the search engine you want.

Fig 5 - Internet Explorer 9 Features - Adding Search Provider to IE9

These were 9 Internet Explorer 9 features that may enhance your browsing experience. If you too have anything to share, please feel free to use our comments section.

Bonus IE9 Hidden Features

1. Now you can place the tab bar below the address bar in Internet Explorer 9. To acheive this, right click on any tab and select Show Tabs on a Separate Row. This will place the tabs below the address bar. To come back to the default view (tabs next to address bar), right click on the tab and disselect the option that says Show Tabs on a Separate Row.

2. You can now disable websites from collecting information about your location. To acheive this, open the Internet Options and go to the Privacy tab. Select the option that says Never Allow Websites to Request Your Location Information.

What is New in Internet Explorer 9

IE9 Comparison with IE8

IE8 vs Google Chrome

This post is part of the series: Internet Explorer 9 - Tips and Tricks

This series on Internet Explorer 9 offers you several tips and tricks to enhance your browsing experience. It tells you how to make Google the default search provider, how to use the Address bar for convenient browsing, and covers IE9 shortcuts key among other information.

  1. Adding Search Provider to IE9
  2. Ten Terrific Tips for Your IE9 Toolbar
  3. Using IE9: Delete History, Preserve Privacy
  4. 9 IE 9 Features You Should Know About
  5. Save Time While Working on IE9 With Shortcut Keys