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Use the Desktop Browser on Your Surface

The desktop browser on your Surface tablet works much like the one in earlier Windows versions. In fact, it’s almost identical to the one in Windows 7. On your Surface, you may find yourself opening it mostly after you attach a keyboard cover or plug in a mouse and keyboard. Combine a keyboard with the Desktop app, and you can pretend you’re working at a desktop PC.

To open the desktop browser, tap the Start screen’s Desktop app, and then tap the Internet Explorer icon from the taskbar along the desktop’s bottom-left edge.

The desktop browser offers many more settings than the Start screen’s browser. And because some of those settings also affect your Start screen’s browser, you’ll find yourself heading there periodically just to change the settings.

Set your home page on your Surface browser

The Start screen’s browser doesn’t offer a way to set a home page—the page your browser display shows when first opened. Instead, it merely piggybacks on the home page you set in the desktop’s version of Internet Explorer.

So, to set your home page on both browsers, load the desktop version of Internet Explorer and follow these steps:

  1. With the desktop version of Internet Explorer, visit the site you’d like both sites to display when first opened.

    Visit your favorite site by typing its address into Internet Explorer or clicking on a link. When you’re viewing the site you’d like to see when Internet Explorer opens, move to step 2.

  2. Click the Tools icon in the program’s upper-right corner. (It looks like a gear.)

  3. When the drop-down menu appears, tap Internet Options.

  4. When the Internet Options page opens to the General tab, tap the Use Current button.

That sets your currently viewed page as your home page that both versions of Internet Explorer show when they’re opened after being closed.

  • Because both browsers can show several sites simultaneously in separate tabs, you can also open different sites in the desktop version of Internet Explorer. When you tap the Use Current button in step 4, it adds all of those sites to your home page, and they each open every time you open either version of Internet Explorer.

  • To open a new tab in the desktop version of Internet Explorer, hold down your finger on the taskbar’s Internet Explorer icon. When a menu begins to appear, lift your finger. When the pop-up menu appears, tap Open New Menu. A new tab appears, letting you type in a website address you’d like to visit.

Clear your Search History in your Surface browser

Both versions of Internet Explorer remember everything you search for on the Internet. You can delete your past searches while in the Start screen’s browser, but that strips away everything: You not only lose your list of visited websites, but your saved passwords, your cookies, and all other temporary files created while browsing.

To prune your past searches more selectively, fire up the desktop’s browser and follow these steps:

  1. Open the desktop version of Internet Explorer, and click the Tools icon in the program’s upper-right corner. (It looks like a gear.)

  2. When the drop-down menu appears, tap Internet Options. Then tap the Delete button in the Browsing History section.

    The Delete Browsing History window appears, letting you choose exactly what to delete.

  3. Tap the Delete button.

    The browser deletes what you’ve chosen, preserving the rest.

For best results, leave the first option checked. That preserves the settings from your favorite sites.

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