Upgrading to IE8 and Some Great Tips (Part 1 of 2)

The latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser is version 8, or IE8 as it is generally written. IE8 is the browser included with Windows 7. However IE8 can also be installed for use with Windows XP or Windows Vista thereby replacing IE6 (in Windows XP) or IE7 (in Windows Vista).

IE8 can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Centre [use Ctrl+click to open this link in a new tab or window]. When you get to this site select “Internet Explorer 8” from the list of options under Microsoft Technologies on the right hand side of the page—as indicated in the graphic at left. I have not hot-linked this to the graphic in case Microsoft change or move the link.


Once you get to the Internet Explorer page you will have the option to download IE8. Click on download and then you will get a Window like the one shown at right. I suggest not including MSN, but that is up to you. I like the minimum amount of clutter on my toolbars. All these installs that try to put more and more toolbars on the main toolbar are a darn nuicance and many of them slow down the performance of your computer.            

Anway, once the download completes you can do Run and start the install.

After you have IE8 intalled there are two changes I recommend you make. Reduce the temporary file cache to 50MB and set IE to switch to a new Tabbed page when it is opened.

So, first, (Tip 1) setting the temporary file cache to 50MB. On the menu, select Tools > Internet Options. If the menu is not showing then push and release the "Alt" key to bring it up.

 Then click on "Settings" under the Browsing History section as shown in the graphic at left.

 Now set the cache to 50MB, as shown in the following graphic. Click OK and OK again.

What this does in reduce the amount of space assigned to the storage of all that temporary crap that is loaded onto your computer everytime you visit a Web page. Everytime you go to any Web page all the little images, and adverts, and animiated GIFs and Flash video, etc, etc., are copied to the Internet cache. And they stay there. They are only flushed or deleted when the cache fills up.

By having a small(er) cache, as odd as it may seem, you (typically) make IE8 faster and you stop your hard disk being full of fragmentation-causing performance-impacting useless little files from all your Web page visits. Also, on those occasions that you run a full disk virus scan (which everyone does at least once a fortnight, right?) the virus scan will not spend 80 percent of its time scanning 100,000 (or more) crappy Internet cache files.

Secondly (Tip 2), set IE8 to switch to a Tabbed page when one is opened. Why this is not a default setting in IE8 I cannot understand. If you open a Web page in a new browser window, then that window gets focus. But if you opne a Web page in a new Tab then it does not get focus—where is the logic in that?

To change it so that IE does switch to the new Tab when one is opened by clicking on a link, from the menu select Tools > Internet Options. The in the Tabs section click on Settings, as shown in the graphic at right.

This will bring up the "Tabbed Browsing Settings" window as shown at right. In this window select the setting for "Always switch to new tabs when they are created". This will cause a  green tick to be set in the box.

Now, whenever you request that a link be opened in a new tab (see Part 2), the new tab will be automatically created in IE8 to right of the last tab already open, and the focus will automatically be switched to that tab.

Tabs? What Tabs?

Those IE6 users not familiar with using Tabs in a browser might—at this point—be asking "What is the deal with Tabs?".

Tabs are a 'better' way of opening multiple Web pages, as opposed to opening multiple instances of IE—which was the IE6 way. Also, with tabbed windows there are a few neat things that happen that don't happen with mulitple intances of IE.

So ends Part 1. But don't miss Part 2; it has the REALLY exciting stuff in it.