Overview of Internet Explorer 8 (part 4) - Installing Add-Ons to IE8 & Configuring Windows Internet Explorer 8 Options

6/26/2011 11:45:07 AM

7. Installing Add-Ons to IE8

Windows Internet Explorer 8 provides the ability to install add-ons to extend the functionality of the browser. Add-ons can improve the user's experience by providing a simpler approach to resources, enhancing security, or simply providing enjoyment (a joke of the day add-on, for example). Add-ons can be created by Microsoft, but many times you will find third-party add-ons to be equally useful.

To enable, disable, or install add-ons, you will select the Tools menu item and choose Manage Add-Ons. The Manage Add-Ons window will open. The Manage Add-Ons window is a consolidation of tools where you will be able to manage add-on toolbars and functionality in the Add-On Types section and by selecting Toolbars And Extensions.

After selecting the Toolbars And Extension item, you can change the properties for installed add-ons in the right pane. By selecting an item, you toggle it from enable to disable or vice versa by clicking the button in the lower right corner. In Figure 15, you can see that the Shockwave Flash Object add-on is selected and enabled; the button in the lower left corner would be used to disable this add-on.

Figure 15. The Manage Add-Ons dialog box

If you were looking for more add-ons for IE8, you could choose the Find More Toolbars And Extensions item in the lower left corner of the Manage Add-Ons dialog box. You can install and manage toolbars as well as search providers as extensions from here. Another feature of many websites are the pop-up windows the website developers include. IE8 includes functionality to block pop-ups dynamically.

8. Using Protected Mode for IE8

Protected Mode is a feature of Windows 7 for Windows Internet Explorer 8 that forces IE8 to run in a protected, isolated memory space preventing malicious code from writing data outside the Temporary Internet Files directly unless the program trying to write the information is specifically granted access by the user. Protected Mode is enabled by default and displayed in the lower right section of Windows Internet Explorer 8.

You can install software through IE8, but you will need to explicitly allow the modification of the file structure of Windows 7 if the software is going to install outside the protected directory. You can change out of protected mode from the security tab of IES's internet options. You can get to the Security Tab by selecting the Tools menu and choosing the Internet Options menu choice. You can also open Internet Options by typing "internet options" into the integrated search box in Windows 7. You also have the option of double-clicking the "Protected Mode: On" text within Windows Internet Explorer 8 to open just the Security tab of Internet Options.

To change the Protected Mode settings, click to select or deselect the Enable Protected Mode (requires restarting Internet Explorer) check box. It is recommended that Protected Mode remains active as it provides a greater level of security and safety for the user and does not prohibit an action (installing a program from IE8), it just requires interaction from the user to allow the modification, providing at least a little thought into what's happening within Windows 7.

9. Configuring Windows Internet Explorer 8 Options

In addition to security and usability options that you can configure in IE8, you can configure other options for managing the browser. Many of the configurations we have discussed in this article and have used, the Safety or Tools menu options, to quickly change individual parameters are also available for modification within the Internet Options tabbed dialog box. There are general parameters, security parameters, privacy configurations, content control, connection settings, program options, and advanced settings available for internet options.

9.1. General Parameters within Internet Options

You can open the Internet Properties tabbed dialog box by selecting the Tools menu and choosing the Internet Properties menu item or simply typing "internet options" into the integrated search box of Windows 7. The General tab (Figure 16) allows you to change the default Home Page that displays when Windows Internet Explorer 8 is launched. An interesting feature here is that you can have more than one default Home Page. By entering more than one page in the Home Page text box, each rime IE8 is launched all pages will open in their own tab.

Figure 16. General tab of IE8's Internet Properties

The General tab also allows you to control your Browsing History, Search, Tabs, and Appearance (including accessibility options) settings for the IE8 interface.

9.2. Security Parameters within Internet Options

The Security tab of IES's Internet Options not only gives you access to control Protected Mode as seen earlier in this section, but gives you the ability to set security settings on the specific zones you may browse to as understood by Windows Internet Explorer 8. The zones are the Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, and Restricted Sites. You can set the behavior of IE8 individually for each zone and even individual sites within each zone.

9.3. Privacy Configurations within Internet Options

The privacy tab of IE8's Internet Options allows the management of privacy settings for the Internet Zone; this is the cookie management for specific sites. You can also control the settings for Pop-up Blocker and your In Private Filtering and InPrivate Browsing here.

The Pop-up blocker allows you to prevent unwanted internet pop-ups from appearing while you are online. We have all been on websites where pop-up windows start appearing, With the IE8 pop-up blocker, you can prevent this from happening. To access the Pop-up Blocker Settings dialog box, you can click Start, open Internet Explorer, click Tools, click Pop-Up Blocker, and click Pop-up Blocker Settings.

To block cookies from any websites that do not have a compact privacy policy, you should set the privacy setting to High. The High setting prevents IE8 from saving cookies for websites that do not contain a compact privacy policy and cookies that have the potential of saving information that can be used to contact you without your explicit consent.

9.4. Content Control within Internet Properties

Figure 17 shows the Content tab of Windows Internet Explorer 8's Internet Properties. There are parental controls to manage which sites are available through web filtering and to monitor website access through an Activity Monitor. There has to be a privileged account with a password set to enforce parental controls. InPrivate Browsing is also not allowed when parental controls are in place.

Figure 17. Content tab of the Internet Properties dialog box

Content Advisor settings can be enabled from the Content tab, allowing a display of rated sites as users browse to different locations. Certificate management for secure browsing is managed through the Content tab as well. You have the ability to manage Auto Complete functionality as well as RSS feeds and Web Slice data from within the Content tab.

9.5. Connection Settings within Internet Options

The Connections tab of Windows Internet Explorer 8's Internet Options dialog box allow you to manage the way IE8 gains access to the network. You can initiate the Connect To The Internet wizard from this tab as well as set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you are using dial-up networking, this connection is also configured from the Connections tab. Local Area Network (LAN) general settings are configured through the Connections tab, which also includes specifying a proxy server if you need to use one (this is typical across many corporate sites, to provide a better level of anonymity for internet surfing).

9.6. Program Options within Internet Options

The Programs tab of the 1E8 Internet Options dialog box allows you to control which browser you are using as your default web browser. You can manage add-ons specific to IE8 in the Programs tab as well. You can set up an application to allow for HTML editing and set up default programs to be used for internet services such as email.

9.7. Advanced Options within Internet Options

The Advanced tab of the IE8 Internet Options dialog box allows you to configure advanced configuration settings for Windows Internet Explorer 8. Some of the advanced configuration items include accessibility settings, browsing settings, international browsing settings, encoding settings, multimedia parameters, printing parameters, and general security settings. You can control whether links are underlined, whether pictures should be displayed, which versions of the secure communication protocols or SSL are used, background colors, and many other parameters.

In addition to being able to change the advanced settings, you also have the option to Restore Advanced Settings To Their Original Configurations or to even Reset Internet Explorer Settings, which resets all IE8 settings (not just the advanced settings) to the default configuration.

Windows Internet Explorer 8, with all of its new and exciting features for user browsing, safety, and security, provides a solid foundation for today's users to enjoy internet surfing. It also provides administrators with the comfort that the users will be on the network safely. Many of the enhancements provide the administrators with more peace of mind about the integrity of the network as well as being able to suppress the intentions of cybercriminals in regard to users without dramatically affecting the surfers.

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