Mac Tips: MS Internet Explorer

This tip is officially ancient. If you're still using the old versions of Internet Explorer described here, please contact me so I can borrow your time machine. I promise I'll share the stock market loot.

Explorer's advantages:

  • Explorer can store more URL favorites (aka bookmarks) and edit them better. I have almost 3000, and Navigator gags somewhere around 1000.
  • Explorer keeps a global history that you can refer back to days later. Navigator dumps the list as soon as you close a browser window.
  • When you resize a window, Navigator slooowly redraws the entire page from scratch. Explorer doesn't.

Here's some tips for improving Explorer:

To make better use of monitor space and other tips:

  • Set the button bar to "Text only." These huge icons eat up valuable screen acreage. (Preferences-->Browser display-->Toolbar settings, or just Control-click in the button bar)
  • To gain more room, turn off the "Explorer bar". In the "View" menu (or toggle it on/off with CMD + T ).
  • Trim the names of bookmarks in your "Favorites bar" and add sub folders. Open the "Toolbar Favorites" folder in your "Organize Favorites" window. You can fit more in the bar by using short names and subfolders.
  • Customize the toolbar to improve on the "default" set. Go to the menu (View--> Customize Toolbars) and drag items to and from the toolbar.

    My picks? "back, forward, stop, refresh, (divider), smaller, larger, (divider), home, (divider), favorites, add, history, (divider), print, source, sherlock, search"
  • Spend a minute organizing that long list of favorites into categories. You're not still using the set that came with Explorer, are you?
  • If you are tired of every new browser window automatically loading your home page, turn it off or change it to a better page (Preferences-->Browser display-->Homepage) (hmmm, how about

Here's some more advanced hacks to make Explorer work more intuitively:

Version 5:

Version 4.5 only:

  • Set up "dummy proxies" to speed up Explorer's launch time (pre-version 5 only).
    1. Quit Explorer.
    2. In the Internet Control Panel (or Internet Config on pre-OS 9 systems), enable advanced User mode (Edit-->User Mode).
    3. Open the "advanced" tab, click on "Firewalls."
    4. Enter a dummy location into the "proxies" fields (, but don't check the box to enable them. This should shorten the launch time of Explorer.

  • Fix the "Search" button in the Button Bar to send you to your designated Search URL (Preferences-->Home/Search). Otherwise it opens the clunky Explorer Search tab. This requires ResEdit. (by Gregory Chan):
    1. Quit Internet Explorer.
    2. Make a copy of IE to experiment on.
    3. Open up the copy of IE 4.5 with ResEdit.
    4. Open the Tlbr resources.
    5. Open the ID for the specific toolbar you use (there might only be one).
    6. Search for "SRCP" and change it to "SRCH." (About halfway down) Save the change.
    7. For more on this hack, read this MacFixit report (about 1/3 way down the page) and this TidBits discussion (post #6).

  • Hack the window size settings to survive relaunch. Read this MacFixit report (about 1/2 way down the page).