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Internet Explorer 10: Using Search Engines to Find Things

The Internet Explorer 10 Window

Like Windows 8 itself, Internet Explorer 10 now has two faces — one version of the application that’s optimized for touch screen and tablet PCs, and one version that’s more familiar and has more features (and, in my opinion, is better-suited to mouse control). The window you see depends on how you run the program.

The new Internet Explorer 10 web app is shown here. You reach this version of Internet Explorer by tapping or clicking the Internet Explorer tile on the Start screen. As you can see, the Address bar and a minimum number of controls appear at the bottom of the window, which always occupies the entire screen.

You can’t run plug-ins in the web app, which may prevent you from visiting some sites or viewing some content. The web app does have the popular Flash player built-in, however.

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The following figure illustrates the more familiar Desktop version of Internet Explorer 10, which you reach from the Desktop taskbar — move your mouse down to display the taskbar, and then click the Internet Explorer icon. Like older versions of Internet Explorer, the Desktop version can run in windowed mode and minimized.

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Luckily, both versions of Internet Explorer 10 use similar controls — just far less of them for the web app.

You can click or tap in either version of Internet Explorer 10, so don’t feel that you have to use gestures in the web app — it’s just easier because the web app was designed for touch screen operation. Conversely, you can tap within the Desktop version of Internet Explorer as well, but it may be harder to use that way.

After Internet Explorer unveils itself in all its stately grandeur, note the following major controls and important spots:

  • The Address bar: Here’s where you type (or paste) the URLs for websites. From the Desktop version, you can click the drop-down list to see the addresses you recently visited — the web app displays a strip of frequently-visited and favorite websites when you begin tapping.

    Click a site to return to it with a minimum of fuss. You can also enter a word or phrase in the Address bar, and Internet Explorer searches the web for sites containing that text.

    The all-important Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption icon appears on the Address bar, next to the website’s address. If you do a lot of online shopping, you see this tiny padlock icon whenever you’re entering your personal data or credit card number; it indicates that the site you’re visiting is secure, which means that the encrypted information you’re typing can’t be intercepted by hackers. (Secure site addresses also begin with the “https://” prefix, instead of just “http://”.)

    By default, Internet Explorer 10 uses Bing as your web search provider, but you can also switch to other popular providers like Google and Yahoo!. From the Desktop version, click the Tools icon on the toolbar (it looks like a gear), and then click Internet Options on the pop-up menu that appears.

    Click the Programs tab, and then click the Manage Add-Ons button; from the Manage Add-Ons dialog box, you can add or change search providers.

  • The toolbars: The toolbar display in both versions includes a number of pop-up menu buttons. Within the Desktop version, the toolbar also displays any tabbed web pages you might have collected in your travels.

  • The Menu bar: These menus make it easier to reach some of the more advanced features within the Desktop version. To display the Menu bar, right-click the window title bar (the strip of color at the top of the window) and click Menu bar on the menu that appears. To hide the Menu bar, repeat the process.

  • The Command bar: The Command bar includes buttons that let you add or change your Home page, view and subscribe to RSS feeds, read mail using Live Mail, and print web pages. To display the Command bar, right-click the window title bar and click Command bar on the menu that appears. To hide the Command bar, repeat the process.

    The Help window within the Desktop version of Internet Explorer can be displayed from the Menu bar or the Command bar, or you can press F1.

  • The Favorites Center: You’ll find this configurable panel very convenient, but it’s only available in the Desktop version of Internet Explorer 10. It can be toggled between displaying all sorts of information, including your Favorites, your surfing history, and your RSS feeds.

    To display the Favorites Center, you can choose the Favorites Center button on the toolbar (it carries a star icon) and then choose the panel you want to see, or you can press the shortcut key combinations. To banish the Favorites Center from the Internet Explorer window, click the Favorites Center button again.

    You can resize the width of the Favorites Center by hovering your mouse pointer over the left edge of the bar until it turns into a double-arrow cursor. Then click and drag the separator to the desired spot.

  • Content window: Believe it or not, the Internet Explorer window shows you web content, too (among all the other stuff). Clicking or tapping an underlined or graphical link in the Content window whisks you somewhere else (either within the same site or on a completely different website).

    Other Windows-style controls, such as drop-down lists and text entry boxes, can also be displayed and used as part of your surfing. It all depends on the webmaster who designed the page you’re viewing.

  • Status bar: Last and smallest — but certainly not the least — the Internet Explorer Status bar (available in the Desktop version) displays information about the page you’re viewing. If you rest your mouse pointer on a link or photo on a web page, the status bar displays information about that item.

    Use the Zoom level menu on the right side of the Status bar to zoom out or zoom in on a page within the Content window — a helpful feature if you prefer to zoom in to relieve tired eyes after a long night of web surfing!

    If your Desktop Internet Explorer window doesn’t have a Status bar, right-click the window title bar and click Status bar. Note that this is also how you can display (or hide) the Menu bar, Command bar, and Favorites bar.

    The web app can also display the address for a link or photo: tap and hold (or hover, if you’re using a mouse) on the item to display a box with the address.

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