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Chapter 4. Tips and Techniques > Customizing Your Web Browser

Customizing Your Web Browser

When you install Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), it will be set up so that whenever you go online, you'll be taken automatically to the Microsoft Network (MSN) home page at www.msn.com (Figure 4.8). Similarly, when you install Netscape Navigator, it assumes that you want to begin all of your online sessions at the Netscape home page, located on the Web at home.netscape.com (Figure 4.9).

Figure 4.8. This is the MSN home page, the place that Microsoft hopes Internet Explorer users will begin all their online sessions.


Figure 4.9. Netscape's home page includes a drop-down menu that lets you choose the search engine you use for your queries. The default is Netscape Search, but we've chosen Google instead.


We prefer, instead, to have our Web browser take us directly to our favorite search engine. After all, when we go online, it's usually to search for something. And even though both MSN and Netscape offer a selection of search tools on their home pages, neither site offers the range of features that you'll have access to if you go directly to one of the Big Six search engines.

That being the case, we've customized our Web browser so that the search engine we use most often comes up automatically when we sign on. We can also get to it quickly at any time by clicking on our browser's Home button (Figure 4.10). The other Big Six search engines are all included in our IE Favorites and Netscape Bookmarks lists, so that we can easily consult them when we need a “second opinion.”

Figure 4.10. Once you've customized your Web browser with your preferred home-page location, clicking on the Home button will take you there instantly.


If you'd like to customize your Web browser so that it's optimized for searching, here are the steps to follow.

To make your favorite search engine appear automatically:

  • Internet Explorer 5 (Windows Users). Click on Tools and then choose Internet Options. In the home page Address box, type the complete Web address (including http://) of your favorite search engine. Then click on OK.

    Note: If you are running an older version of IE for Windows, click on View (instead of Tools) to change your default home page.

  • Internet Explorer 5 (Macintosh Users). Click on Edit and then choose Preferences. Then click on Browser Display in the list on the left side of the screen. In the home page Address box, type the complete Web address (including http://) of your favorite search engine and click on OK.

    Note: If you're running IE 4.5 for Mac, the link to choose from the list on the Preferences page is Home/Search (instead of Browser Display).

  • Netscape 4 and 6 (Windows and Mac Users). Click on Edit and then choose Preferences. On the Navigator page, make sure the Home Page radio button is selected. In the Location box, type the complete Web address (including http://) of your favorite search engine. Then click on OK.

Complete Web Addresses for Big Six Search Engines


To add other search engines to your Favorites or Bookmarks:

  • With Microsoft Internet Explorer, go to the search engine site, click on Favorites, and then choose the option for adding a page to your Favorites.

    Or use the keyboard shortcut if you're a Windows user, on the Macintosh.

  • With Netscape Navigator, go to the search engine site, click on Bookmarks, and then choose Add Bookmark (if you're using Netscape 4) or Add Current Page (Netscape 6).

    Or use the keyboard shortcut (Windows) or (Macintosh).

Tip

  • Once you've set your browser's default home page location as described here, that's the site that will greet you whenever you sign on. It's also the one you'll be taken to when you click on your browser's Home button or select the menu option that tells the browser you want to “Go Home.”


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