Suggestions for Configuring Internet Explorer

Basic Settings | Show Document Date | Security Settings | Default Browser
Viewing a Link's URL | Configuring email Clients | Temporary Files
IE 5 Specific Settings - Error Messages | New Windows | Clicks | WebCheck.dll

Basic Settings

Using the IE menu, navigate to and verify the following settings.
Use smooth scrollingUnchecked   Irritating, jerky scrolling, or do something logical and fast.
Show friendly URLsUnchecked Show brain dead file names with all useful information removed, or show the real URL.
Use AutocompleteUnchecked It is very irritaing for the computer to add extra characters as you type.

Show Document Date

Add the following link to the IE favorites and you can use it to get the date that the current page was modified.
Simply add a new favorite called Show Date, then right click it, select Properties, and change the URL to the command above. Then drag the selection to the top of the menu (so you don't have to scroll to find it).

(Using File/Properties, IE 5 shows a random date, not the date the document was changed. For instance, on a test file, the change date was 2-16-01, File/Properties showed 7-20-01, and the date I tested it was 6-29-01. Well, that's worthless.)

Security Settings

Java and Java script are security holes. Java script can cause your system to crash. Also, automatic downloading of Java class files significantly reduces internet access speed and clutters your hard drive with worthless trash.

These features can be disabled via

Select Custom and click on the Settings...

In general, cookies are safe. They are just text files and there is no way for them to harm your system. However, each one uses 64K on your hard disk and they provide a mechanism for companies to store and retrieve personal data about you. If you have cookies turned off, then you normally can't buy things over the internet.

(Netscape cookies only use ~100 bytes each.)

Default Browser

If you don't want IE 4.72 to ever be your default browser, navigate to and make sure that the option which says something like is not checked.

Viewing a Link's URL

When you point to a link, sometimes there isn't enough space to see it
Netscape 3.xVery good
Netscape Communicator 4.05Almost enough, so so
IE 3.02Very good - the best possible - the entire lower status bar
IE 4.40Totally worthless - about 20 characters
IE 4.72Totally worthless - about 20 characters
IE 5.0 Pretty good - about 70 characters (70% of the status bar)
Supposedly, IE 4.01 SP2 fixes this problem. (Since I don't have it, I can't test this.) You can also try the following add-ons

Configuring email Clients

On my system, IE 4.72 is configured to allow only the following 3 Microsoft email clients. These options can be seen by selecting the following from the menu and viewing the options for Mail. Using the provided dialog boxes, there is no obvious way to add Netscape.

Well, there has to be a way!!)

I opened the registry and searched for Outlook. Suprise, all 3 of those options are listed under

I exported one of the keys (Microsoft Outlook), modifed the relevant values, and imported the new *.reg file (right click and select Merge). (@="..." sets the default value for that key.)

Well ... this created all the correct keys, and Netscape xxx now shows up as a possible email client, but some of the data did not import! I had to manually add all the data associated with the 2 command keys and with the DefaultIcon key!

The registry entry tied to

is connected to the menu selection When you select an email client, IE 4.72 copies the keys from to HKCR\mailto.

Using the following Windows Explorer menu selection

Find URL:Mailto Protocol and examine/modify the Open command.
The following values are from my registry. In each case, the top command is attached to mailto (and therefore has an associated %1), and the bottom to Go/Mail.

Netscape "C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program\netscape.exe" %1
Partial solution - Opens both Navigator and Compose
"C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program\netscape.exe" -mail
Exchange rundll32.exe url.dll,MailToProtocolHandler %l
MS Outlook"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\OUTLOOK.EXE" -c IPM.Note /m "%1"
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\OUTLOOK.EXE" Outlook:Inbox

Temporary Files are NEVER Deleted

Using IE 4.72, zero byte C:\windows\temp\trbxxxx.TMP files are created each time you print a web page. These files are never deleted.

IE 5 Configuration

With the coming of IE 5, Microsoft changed a lot of default settings. Some of these also affected Windows Explorer. These changes range from irritating to simply user hostile.

Hey, if you want to change the defaults (a fairly user hostile action), at least be a little friendly about it and tell me what you changed, and how to change it back.

IE 5 Friendly (Worthless) Error Messages

IE 5 has improved your internet experience by automatically replacing standard error messages (such as 404 not found) with its own friendly (worthless, for morons only) error messages. See here for more information.
   HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\ 
These values can be over-ridden in HKEY_CURRENT_USER, or disabled via Control Panel / Internet Options / Advanced / Show friendly HTTP error messages.

IE 5 Uses Only One Window

Ugh. Double click an html file and IE 5 opens. Double click another html file and it replaces the first page.

Hey! That isn't how IE 4 works (or any other existing browser).

I right clicked the files and there was no option to simply open a new browser window. (More frustrating, user hostile performance.)

The solution is to select Tools / Internet Options / Advanced and uncheck Reuse windows for launching shortcuts.

Well, this wasn't so obvious since I was clicking on files, NOT shortcuts.


Normally, IE is configured to use DDE when starting via a double click. Turning off the DDE (un-check the box under Folder Option / File Types / HTML ...) also stops window re-use.

This way, you can configure 2 options and select the one you want by right clicking the file. (Be sure to name them logically.)


Every time you click on a web site, there is an audible click. In Window Explorer, every time you double click on a directory, there is an audible click. (What a cleaver way to bother everyone at home or in the office.)

Well, IE 5 added a very irritating click to these user actions. You can disable it via Control Panel / Sounds and set the Windows Explorer / Start Navigation event to none.

For more info, click here.


This is only a warning - so far there is no fix for this.

Apparently, with the most recent version of IE 5 (actually IE 4 may also do some of this), your computer regularly tries to go out and look for stuff on the internet.


news:// Pretty complete description of registry entries and Microsoft command line options.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / ie / IE_Configuration.htm