Geek School: Learning Windows 7 – Managing Internet Explorer

By Taylor Gibb on March 11th, 2013

Internet Explorer is a complex piece of software and hasn’t always been the browser choice of us geeks, but the truth is that it has gotten a lot better over the years so come and see what it has to offer.

Be sure to check out the previous articles in this Geek School series on Windows 7:

And stay tuned for the rest of the series all week long.

Compatibility View

Internet Explorer is notorious  for not being able to render pages that worked perfectly in previous generations of the browser. To remedy the situation Microsoft added a feature to IE called Compatibility View. In a nutshell, it allows you to view webpages using the rendering engines of past Internet Explorer versions. To use compatibility view all you have to do its click on the little icon that looks like a page that has been torn in half, which is located in the URL Bar.


RSS Feeds

If you don’t already know what they are, RSS feeds provide a great way for you to stay up to date with your favorite websites by allowing you to subscribe to them. When one of the websites you are subscribed to adds new content, for example when How-To Geek releases a new article, you will automatically be notified. In Internet Explorer, if the RSS button turns orange it means that the website you are viewing supports RSS feeds.


Once you have subscribed to the feed, you can quickly check if any new content has been added.


Security Zones

Internet Explorer assigns all websites to one of four security zones: Internet, Local intranet, Trusted sites, or  Restricted sites. The zone to which a website is assigned specifies the security settings that are used for that site. Let’s take a closer look at what type of websites each of the four zones should contain:

  • Local intranet – This zone should contain sites that reside inside your company’s firewall.
  • Trusted – This zone contains all sites that you know are trusted, for example the site of a business partner.
  • Internet – This zone contains all sites on the internet that are not in the Trusted, Local intranet or Restricted zones.
  • Restricted – This zone contains sites that you do not trust.

If you want to you can also change the security settings that are applied to any particular zone. To do this, click on Tools and then choose the Internet Options menu item.


Then switch over to the Security tab.


You can either choose one of the pre-defined security levels by moving the slider, or you can click on the Custom level button.


Configuring a Trusted Site

To add a site to the Trusted Sites security zone, select the zone and then click on the Sites button.


Now enter the URLs of any sites that you know for sure are not a threat.  Then click add.


You can do the same for the other zones, just be careful about what you add to each zone.

Managing Add-Ons

Internet Explorer has add-ons which are the equivalent of plug-ins in Chrome and Firefox, and serve to extend the functionality of the browser. One of the more infamous types of add-on is a toolbar. These are those pesky search bars that often get added to Internet Explorer when you install some kind of application.  To manage toolbars, click on the Tools menu and then choose the Manage Add-ons menu item.


From here you can right click on any toolbar and disable it. If you wish to uninstall the toolbar, you must use the Control Panel to uninstall it just as you would any other application.


Search Providers

Another type of add-on is a Search Provider, which allows you add additional search engines to Internet Explorer. To add a Search Provider, switch over to the Search Providers section.


In the bottom left hand corner of the Window you will see a Find more search providers… hyperlink. Click on it.


From here you can choose from thousands of providers.


Once added, you can search that site directly from the search bar.


Keep reading to learn about security features and more.

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Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 03/11/13
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