Windows 8 – Network and Internet – Internet Options

Internet Explorer, the internet browser built in Windows, is one huge beast.

It has innumerable configuration options through which you can tweak the internals of this browser. All these configurations come packed in this applet.

How to Launch It

  • Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
  • Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
  • Select “Network and Internet” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
  • Select “Internet Options”. This will launch the applet as a 7-tabbed small window.

Internet Options applet is, perhaps one of the most complex and bloated tool in Windows.

It seems that it’s 7-tabbed (!) UI has remained untouched since its inception.

General Tab

This tab deals with general browser settings like tab customizations, homepage(s), startup tabs, browsing history, appearance, etc.

Internet Explorer lets you specify multiple homepages. All the specified homepages will open in separate tabs at startup (if startup is set to open homepage), or on clicking the homepage button.

Otherwise, if you are a minimalist, then you can set an empty tab as the homepage.

You can specify what tabs should open when Internet Explorer launches – homepage or pages from the last browsing session.

The latter is helpful when you wish to continue browsing the webpages that you had opened last time.

This tab also provides a lot to tab customization options, some of which are listed below.

  • You can set IE to always switch to new tabs when they are created.
  • Specify what should open in a new tab – empty page, new tab page or the first homepage.
  • Specify if you want to see preview of each tab in the taskbar.
  • Select what IE should do when a pop-up is encountered – open in a new window, or a tab, or some other setting.

Besides that, you can delete all of specific parts of your browsing history; parts like bookmarks, history, cache, form data, passwords, cookies, etc.

There are several other settings like window colors, languages and fonts used in IE, etc.

Security Tab

The settings of this tab secure your web browsing.

Windows defines several zones. Each zone has a different configurable security level. A website falling under a specific zone can do only those things as specified by the security level of that zone.

The security levels are as follows.

  • Low – The lowest level of security. The website faces minimal restrictions. IE won’t prompt you while downloading content from the website. Suitable only for those sites that you completely trust.
  • Medium-low – Most content will be downloaded and run without prompting you. Suitable only for trusted sites.
  • Medium – Greater security checks are performed by IE on websites than Medium-low level. Still, it may not be a desirable level for normal browsing.
  • Medium-high – At this level, IE will prompt you often for any potentially harmful download. This level is appropriate (and default) for most of the websites.
  • High – The highest level of security; websites are allowed only certain privileges. This is appropriate of potentially harmful sites.

The predefined zones are –

  • Internet –Most of the websites fall under this zone. Default security level is medium-high.
  • Local Intranet – This zone applies if your machine is connected to a restricted intranet. The sites of the intranet come under this zone. As these sites are trusted, the security level is medium-low.
  • Trusted Sites- You need to add websites to this zone. Those websites will face medium security.
  • Restricted Sites – Add malicious sites to this zone. They face maximum restrictions with high security level.

Privacy Tab

You can customize the security level of the most prevalent Internet zone in this tab. Further, you can explicitly specify sites for which IE should allow or block all the cookies and downloadable contents.

IE comes with a pop-blocker which spares you with the headache of pop-up windows. You can specify websites for which pop-ups should be allowed. Also, you can tell IE to start InPrivate browsing mode with or without toolbars and extensions.

Content Tab

This tab deals with settings to allow, restrict or manipulate content shown on webpages.

IE has certain certified ratings that are based on the content of the websites. You can enable the content rating from this tab, and specify the rating level that should be applied.

You can set family safety filters for children, so that they can allow only specific websites, and can browse only certain hours in a day, or at certain times in a day.

You can also customize auto-complete feature provided by IE. This feature can be turned on or off for individual components like address bar, search bar, web forms, etc.

Connections Tab

You can manually connect your computer to an internet connection in this tab. Click on “Setup”, which will launch a connection wizard that should guide you through the process.

Besides that, you can add or remove the dial-up networks and virtual private networks. In case your LAN network connects to the internet through a proxy, then you can set the proxy here.

Programs Tab

You can specify the program with which the links found in applications should be opened. Also, you can manage the Internet Explorer add-ons like search engines, accelerators, etc.

IE can ask an application to open an HTML page for editing on its behalf. You can specify that application here.

Besides that, this tab provides you with buttons that open other settings like selecting programs for various internet services like e-mail or instant messaging, and selecting the file extensions that you want Internet Explorer to open by default.

Advanced Tab

This tab contains a plethora of tweaks that can be applied on IE.

Some of the tweaks are listed below.

  •   Specify whether IE should use GPU for graphic acceleration.
  •   Play system sounds
  •   Manage zoom levels
  •   Enable or disable script debugging (important for web developers)
  •   Enable/disable third party extensions
  •   Download notifications
  •   Visual enhancements to IE
  •   Inline AutoComplete
  •   Specify if IE should play animations and sound in webpages
  •   Show/Hide pictures
  •   Customize security layers used by IE

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