Browser Basics:
General Settings

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
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The Internet Options dialog  View  |  Internet Options...  or   Icon: IE6  Tools   |  Internet Options...  contains many different settings that affect the way Internet Explorer (IE) behaves. Most of these are not often changed from the default settings. In the Step-by-Step sections that follows, you will verify only those settings that will allow IE to respond in the way the directions say that it will. (At least, that's the plan!)

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Web

Before you start...

Project 1: Browser Basics     Connecting To subtopics
    icon-footprintOpen IE
    icon-footprintGeneral Settings
    icon-footprintOther Settings
    IE InterfaceTo subtopics
    NavigatingTo subtopics
    PrintingTo subtopics
    SavingTo subtopics
    SearchingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 2: HTML BasicsTo subtopics


Dialog-Internet OptionsThe General tab has three main sections plus some buttons to optional areas:

  1. Home page:  sets what page will be displayed when IE first opens. The default is a page from Microsoft. (Surprised?)

    IE7 allows you to have multiple "home" pages, which will show as separate tabs.
  2. Dialog: Internet Options (IE7)

    The Use Default button will restore this default setting. You can type in an address to a different page or load a page and click the button Use Current to use the page currently displayed in the browser as the new Home page. If you don't want the assistance of a Home page, you can have IE open a blank page by clicking the button Use blank. Kind of boring, but IE will load fast!

    A portal can be a good choice for your home page. What makes a page a portal? It contains services and links for the most common Internet tasks in a convenient layout. Many major Internet sites are trying to become portals. They show news headlines, weather, sports scores, a search box, and whatever else they think you might want. These pages can get quite messy since they try to do so many different things.

  3. Temporary Internet files:   the files that IE must store on your hard drive to display a web page. These files are also called the browser's cache. The page will display faster on a second visit if the files are already in the cache on the hard drive. You normally want to keep these files around for a few days at least. Too large a cache will slow down your browser. It can take longer for the browser to check what it already has than it would have taken to just download everything all over again.

    Delete Files: deletes all the temporary files. You will need use this button if IE gets confused and continues to load an old version of a page that you know has been changed.

    TipIf the browser seems slower than usual, cleaning out these files may speed things up.

    Dialog-options-settingsSettings... allows you to control how often IE checks for new versions of the files, how much space on the hard drive can be used for these files, and where they are kept. If you have more than one hard drive, it can speed loading to have the temporary files on a small drive. More is not always better here! Too large a setting for the disk space will let your cache build up too large, slowing down your browser.

  4. History: a list of the pages you have seen recently. The list can get very long very quickly. You should clear it from time to time. You can clear the list manually here with the Clear History button. You set the number of days for the computer to remember where you have been here also.

  5. Buttons for defaults:  give you some control of the browser's default settings (what you will see if the web page does not give specific directions).
    The defaults right after installing the browser are:

font = Times New Roman and Courier New
font size = Medium 
text color and background color = whatever Windows uses
link colors
= blue for unvisited and purple for visited.

IE5 Icon: IE6Font size settings are not in this dialog but are on the menu  View  |  Text Size  in Internet Explorer 5/6. You can choose between Largest, Larger, Medium, Smaller, Smallest.

The Accessibility button has choices that let you override parts of the HTML code. This lets people with visual handicaps force pages to use very large font sizes or high contrast colors.

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: IE General Settings

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to change the Home page
to delete Temporary Internet files
to change the default colors and fonts

For your browser to look like the pictures in these lessons, you need to verify certain settings in the browser.

Start with: IE Open (Internet Explorer open)

  1. On the menu choose  View / Tools  |  Internet Options...  A dialog opens with several tabs. Click on the General tab, if necessary.
  2. Type the URL for a new home page in the first text box: 

    Options Dialog- General tab - Home Page

    If you put the resource files on your hard drive, you may want to use the path to the file on your hard drive:
     C:\My Documents\complit101\web\Start\index.html , assuming that you put the resource files in the default location. Otherwise, you should use the correct path to this HTML file in the resource files on your hard disk.

    Options Dialog- General tab - Home Page

    Now when IE opens, you will see this page first. It contains links to various resource files you will be using. If this computer is shared with others, be courteous. When you finish working with IE for the day, you should restore the previous Home page or at least the default. Good manners, always!

  3. Dialog- Internet Options - General tab - Temporary Internet filesClick the button Delete files to clear the temporary files from your hard drive.

    Icon: IE6IE6 adds a button Delete Cookies... A cookie is a text file saved on your hard disk that records information for the next time you visit the site that created the cookie.

  4. In the confirmation dialog, click Yes and then OK.
    Dialog- Interent Options | General | Settings - How often to checkClick the Settings… button and make sure that IE will check for a new version Every time you start Internet Explorer.

    The amount of hard drive space to allot for temporary files depends on how big the drive is. The default is probably fine and will not affect IE's display.

  5. Dialog -Internet Options-colorsIn turn, click the buttons at the bottom of the dialog and match the following settings -

    Use Windows colors = checked

    Visited = purple
       Unvisited = blue
       Use hover color = checked
       Hover = red

  6. Fonts: The default settings are Times New Roman and Courier New and font size Medium. You can choose other fonts, if you wish. Remember that the resource pages will not display quite the way shown in the lessons if you change the font settings.
    IE5 Icon: IE6For English you should choose Latin-based for the Language Script and the fonts Times New Roman and Courier New. For Font size, choose from the menu  View  |  Text Size  |  Medium 
  7. Dialog - Internet Options - LanguagesLanguage: English (United States) (en-us)
    Some web sites offer their pages in several languages. Here you set the languages that you prefer. Unfortunately, my language skills are not up to this level!
  8. Accessibility: nothing checked.

    If you need to make changes in Accessibility settings so that you can more comfortably read the web pages, just remember that you will not be seeing what I am describing. You will have to keep this in mind throughout the lessons.