Internet Explorer’s Interface

By Faithe Wempen

Windows 8 contains two different versions of Internet Explorer (IE). One is accessed from the Start screen and has the tablet-style interface; the other is accessed from the desktop, and has the traditional desktop application interface. Here’s how they differ:

  • Desktop IE: This version is much like any other desktop application. It has an Address bar across the top of the screen, and buttons for accessing favorites and tools.

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  • Start screen IE: This version was designed along the lines of Windows 8 apps with a few buttons and an address field along the bottom of the screen.

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All the examples and steps shown here use the desktop version. It’s good to know that the Start screen version exists, though, for three reasons:

One, if you accidentally open it, you’ll know what’s going on, and won’t panic. Two, if you are using a touchscreen device, you might find the Start screen version easier to use. Three, if you’re using a Windows tablet device, the Start screen version is the only version available to you because Windows tablets don’t include the desktop.

To start the desktop version of IE, click the IE icon that’s pinned to the taskbar on the Windows desktop. It looks like a lowercase e, as shown in the bottom center of the figure.

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When you open IE, the home page appears, which is whatever page has been set to be your startup default. If you haven’t changed it, it’s http://t.msn.com, which is the MSN news site.

To choose a different home page, display the desired page and then click the Tool icon (the gear cog) in the upper right corner of the browser window, click Internet Options, and on the General tab of the Internet Options dialog box, click Use Current.

To display a specific page, enter its URL in the Address bar at the top of the window and then press Enter. Or, to display a page from one of the hyperlinks on the home page, click the hyperlink.

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After you’ve navigated to a different page, you can click the Back button (the left-pointing arrow) to return to the previously viewed page. You can click the Back button as many times as there are pages to be gone back to. You can also click and hold the Back button to display a menu of previously viewed pages, and select from that menu.

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After you’ve used Back, the Forward button becomes available (the right-pointing arrow). You can click it to move forward again. If a page doesn’t load correctly, you may need to reload it. You can do so by clicking the Refresh button at the right end of the Address bar, or by pressing the F5 key on the keyboard.

The three buttons in the upper right corner of the window, from left to right, are

  • Home: Returns you to your Home page at any time.

  • View Favorites, Feeds, and History: Opens a menu system with three tabs: Favorites, Feeds, and History. You’ll discover more about this menu system later in the chapter.

  • Tools: Open a menu of settings you can adjust for Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer uses tabs to enable you to have more than one web page open at the same time. You can switch back and forth between tabs by clicking the tab.

To open a new tab, click the New Tab button, which is the blank square to the right of the rightmost tab. You can also open a hyperlink in a new tab by right-clicking the hyperlink and choosing Open Link in New Tab.

When you are done with a tab, you can close it. To do so, click the X on the tab, or right-click the tab and choose Close Tab.