How-To Geek

Using Internet Explorer 9 with Windows Vista

Are you one of the many Vista users who want to get in the Internet Explorer 9 Beta fun?  Although Microsoft mostly focused on Windows 7 specific features in it’s information, IE 9 still has a lot of great features for Vista.  Let’s see how you can use the best new features from IE 9 including pinning sites and site specific browsers in Windows Vista.

Get Started With IE 9 on Windows Vista

Installing IE 9 on Vista works almost the same as it does on Windows 7.  The biggest difference is that you’ll need to have Service Pack 2 installed before you can install it.  If you don’t already have it installed, IE 9’s installer will let you know that it’s not supported on your current service pack.  Install Service Pack 2, and then run the installer again to setup IE 9.


IE 9 will now install the same as it does in Windows 7.  It should only take a few minutes, and then you’ll be prompted to reboot your computer to finish the setup.


You may be asked to select security settings when you first run IE 9.


After that, you’ll be ready to enjoy the latest IE features and speed in Windows Vista.  Be sure to try out some of the demos at Microsoft’s site to see how much faster the new IE is.


Pin Sites to Your Vista Taskbar

One of the most talked about IE 9 features is the ability to pin websites to the taskbar in Windows 7, enabling you to user your favorite sites and webapps with more native Windows integration than before.  Windows Vista’s taskbar doesn’t include the new pinning features, so at first it seems like Vista users are left out of the fun.

But, don’t despair: it turns out, there’s still a way you can pin your favorite sites to the Vista taskbar with the Quick Access toolbar.  If you don’t already have it enabled, right-click your taskbar and select Toolbars, then Quick Launch.


Now, browse to the site you want to pin to your taskbar, and drag the tab down towards the taskbar, just as you would in Windows 7 to pin it to the taskbar.


Drag it over to the Quick Launch toolbar, and the site will turn into a transparent square.  Release it there, and your site will be pinned to your Quick Launch bar.


Your pinned sites will use the site’s favicon and title, and you can pin as many as you would like to make it easier to access your favorite sites and apps.


When you launch a pinned site, it will open in a customized IE window with the pinned site’s favicon in the left side and customized back and forward buttons that match the site’s favicon.  If you browse to another page and want to go back to the pinned site, simply click its favicon to go back to that page.


If you’d rather not clutter up your taskbar with tons of icons, you can drag pinned sites from the Quick Launch bar to the desktop.


Now your pinned sites will be easily accessible from your desktop.  These shortcuts will still open a customized browser just like they did from the quick launch bar.


The only thing you miss out on is the specialized jump list shortcuts to different parts of your pinned websites.  If you right-click the pinned shortcuts, you’ll see a normal icon right-click menu.  You can click Delete to remove a pinned site from your shortcut if you wish.


Pin Sites To Your Start Menu

Another way you can quickly access your favorite sites without cluttering up your taskbar is to add them to your start menu.  To do this, browse to the site you want to add, click the gear button in the top right corner of IE 9, select File, then click Add site to Start menu.


Click Add in the popup to confirm you want to add the site to your Start menu.


You’ll now see a new shortcut for your pinned site in your Vista start menu.  Click it to open it in a new personalized IE 9 window.


Your pinned site will even show up in Vista’s start menu search, so you can quickly access it by without even touching your mouse.


Sites pinned to the Start Menu open in specialized IE windows just like those pinned to the taskbar, so you’ll still get the great customization whichever way you prefer.


View Sites Side-by-Side

Another nice new IE 9 feature in Windows 7 is that you can view sites side by side with Aero Snap.  Windows Vista doesn’t include Aero Snap, but you can still view your favorite sites side by side with IE 9.  First, drag the tab you want to see side-by-side off of the window to open it in a new window.


Then, make sure you only have the 2 windows visible.  Right-click on your taskbar, and select Show Windows Side by Side.


Now you’ll see the two sites side by side just as they would with Aero Snap in Windows 7.  You could also get the same effect with the Aero Snap addon for Vista, but it seemed to not work good with IE 9 in our tests.


These tips should help you get the most from IE 9 in Windows Vista.  If you come across any other IE 9 tips and tricks, feel free to let use know in the comments!  If you want to learn more about IE 9 beta, here’s some more articles from across the How-to Geek network about some of the new features:

Internet Explorer 9 Screenshot Tour

Download IE 9 in Your Own Language

Add Google As Your Search Provider in IE 9

Use Aero Snap with IE 9 Tabs in Windows 7

Other Links

Download IE 9 and Try out its New Features at

Internet Explorer 9 System Requirements

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 09/21/10

Comments (8)

  1. Hariharan

    Finally Some light is shed on Windows Vista also.

    Would have loved to have Aero Snap in Windows Vista natively.

    But still all of all a Very good OS and has still lots of capability

  2. traffikator

    I loaded it and at first the sites loaded faster and I loved the auto fill. But, I had to uninstall it. It constantly locked up, some websites which I comment on, the comment boxes appeared to be inaccessible. Oh, well I will wait for the service pack. I am running Server 2008 BTW.

  3. madmaven

    I miss the links bar and the menu bar and my search window up in the right corner. Also all the hidden things now make itmore work for a tech/repair person to repair microsoft. Does anyone know if you can get the menu bar back or the links bar. cant find it anywhere. so long old pal….sigh……..

  4. madmaven

    Hey I just found that if you right click up above in the black space you get a list of menu bar, favorites bar(links) and all the stuff they turned off to speed it up. oh well.. I like some of those things and where I live speed isnot an option anayways.

  5. sonya staffolani

    Hi to the Team at HTG, I was excited to think that IE9 would make browsing faster and easier – No, it did not. In truth, IE9 is a total disappointment since it is sooo slow and web pages will not load and if they do they need lots of time. How best can I return to IE8 without causing more damage, that I am sure the download to my Vista lappy, than has already happened. Soo unhappy. cheers anyway sonya

  6. james

    just downloaded ie9; however, it attempt to make me use bing in that i do not want
    also slown bringing up home page which is google
    how to resolve these issues?
    thank you

  7. Sheia

    Downloaded the new IE9 and it is horrible. Slowed my computer to a crawl. When I try to load IE it gives me errors and shuts down. Reloads every time you try to load a page. Doesn’t work on Windows Vista at all. Need to find a way to go back to IE8 and forget any updates until I can afford a new computer with the new Windows 7. Having to use a different web browser now until this issue is resolved. 7/19/11

  8. Bill

    How do you email a web page using IE9

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