Internet Explorer Tips

Block Web Ads
All web sites have a unique IP address besides a domain name. Typically you use a domain name such as to get to a site. A Domain Name Server (DNS) translates the domain name to an IP address. Windows looks up certain domain names in a Hosts file (Hosts with no extension) to get the IP address then uses the IP address to request the page or ad from the web site. On 9x machines the Hosts file usually resides in the Windows folder. On NT/XP machines it is in \Drivers\etc folder under the System folder. A typical Hosts file line looks like: # PC Magazine

You can modify your Hosts file by adding the domain names of sites you want to block and use the IP Address of which is your own computer. When Windows looks up the domain name it will see the local host IP Address and look on your computer for the web page. Since it doesn't exist, the site is effectively blocked. You can search Google for "ad blocking hosts file windows" to download a file with all the annoying advertising and porn sites blocked out.

Turn off Error Reporting
Set the IEWatsonEnabled string value under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main to "0".

Remove UnWanted Right Click Menu Items
Goto HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MenuExt. Each subkey represents a menu item. Delete the ones you don't want.

Turn On/Off Image Toolbar
By default, IE6 displays an image toolbar when the cursor is hovered over an image whose size is at least 200 by 200 pixels. The image toolbar allows you to easily print, save and email the image. You can turn this off on your web pages by adding the following line to your <Head/> section:

<meta http-equiv="imagetoolbar" content="no">

To turn on the Image Toolbar on any size image, use the GALLERYIMG tag:

<IMG border="0" src="pic.jpg" GALLERYIMG="yes">

Remove Tools Menu Items
Some programs (like Net2Phone) leave entries in IE's Tools menu even after they are deleted. To remove them use RegEdit and navigate to HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Extensions Each subkey of this key defines an addition to IE's menu.

The subkey names are GUIDs (Globally Unique IDentifiers). Select each subket and look at its MenuText value. When you find the one you want, delete the entire subkey. If you do not see the tool menu item, look in HKey_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Extensions instead.

If the item to delete appears in the popup menu when you right click, look in HKey_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MenuExt.

Disable Set as Wallpaper Menu Item
To disable this menu, use RegEdit and navigate to HKey_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ActiveDesktop Locate or create the DWORD value NoChangingWallPaper and set its default value to 1.

Load Web Pages Faster
Increase Web page loading speed by doubling the number of possible concurrent open connections. Imagine a web page has 20 images and some text. In order for your browser to get all these files, it opens 2 or 4 concurrent connections, depending on the Web server. Increasing the number of open connections allows for faster retrieving of the data.

On Windows 9x/Me set or add these dword registry values:


under this key:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings Connection.

On Windows NT/2K/XP set or add these dword registry values:


under the above key as well as this key:

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings.

De-Brand Outlook Express
If your version of Outlook Express says "Provided by AT&T or America Online" you can remove their branding. Use Regedit to search the registry for WindowTitle . You should find it at the end of a registry path that contains the words "Outlook Express". Simply delete the WindowTitle key. Repeat this for each Outlook identity you have set up.

De-Brand Internet Explorer
Close all browser windows. Go to Start, choose Run, and type or paste "rundll32 iedkcs32.dll,Clear" without the quotes. Hit Enter.

Brand Internet Explorer - Change the Spinning Globe
You need 4 bitmaps which you can make in Paint. Two images are for the stills when IE is resting. The others are to create the animation when IE is "thinking". The images for the stills are:

1 22x22 pixel bitmap
1 38x38 pixel bitmap

For the animations:

1 22x220 pixel bitmap
1 38x380 pixel bitmap

To display your still images, use Regedit and navigate to HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main. Create 2 new string values named SmallBitmap and BigBitmap. Set their values to the path of the still bitmaps.

For the animation, your bitmaps should be a string of 10 images, one above the other. The reason they are 10 times as high as wide is because IE rolls the images like a projector. You have a series of 10 22x22 images adding up to 22x220. Add these registry values:

HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar and add 2 string values named SmBrandBitmap and BrandBitmap. Set the value of these strings to the paths to the 2 animation bitmaps. Close all IE windows and reopen one to see your images.

Change the Title in Internet Explorer's Title Bar
You can change or remove the title that always appears in IE's title bar by changing the WindowTitle string value in HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main in the Registry. If you remove this value, only the site's name will be displayed. The hyphen that normally separates the title from the site name, however, will remain.

Add a Bitmap to the Internet Explorer Toolbar
The default IE5+ toolbar background can be replaced with your own bitmap. Create or update the HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar\BackBitmapIE5 string value so it contains the path to your bitmap.

Clear XP Unread Messages
On XP you can have multiple user accounts. Each account's log on window can show the number of unread emails a user has. However this is often inaccurate. You can remove the existing info and configure XP so it does not add more.

Edit the registry and navigate to HKCU\Software\MicrosoftWindows\CurrentVersion\UnreadMail. Under this key you will find one or more subkeys. Visit each subkey and set its MessageCount value to zero. Next, look for a MessageExpiryDays. Add or edit its DWORD value and set it to zero. Repeat the same process under HKLM\Software\MicrosoftWindows\CurrentVersion\UnreadMail, except here the names to look for are Unread-Mail and MessageExpiry-Days

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