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The best free Internet Explorer 8 add-ons

Eight ways to improve browsing with IE8


When Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 8 it made much of the web browsers new features that were intended to provide greater security and ease of use. We've put together eight tips will help you take advantage of these new and enhanced features.

View incompatible pages

Although Microsoft touts IE8 as its most standards-compliant browser ever, the web is littered with millions of sites that were written with IE's earlier, sloppier handling of web standards in mind. If you come across a page that seems a little wonky, try the Compatibility Viewer, Microsoft's concession to its own less-than-wholesome past.

Just click the button to the right of the Address Bar that looks like a torn sheet of paper and your broken page should put itself back together.

Decode the Status Bar

The Status Bar - the strip at the very bottom of your browser window - contains a wealth of information that is not labelled in any way. There are six tiny blank boxes in the middle-right portion of the Status Bar (just to the left of the larger box with the internet icon).

These unlabelled boxes in the Status Bar have some useful tricks up their sleeves.

Five of these, it turns out, have functions that are accessed sometimes by clicking, sometimes by double-clicking. Here's what each does:

Box 1: Nothing.

Box 2: Single-click to turn the Pop-up Blocker on and off, or to modify the Pop-up Blocker's settings.

Box 3: Double-click to open the Manage Add-ons screen.

Box 4: This one might have an icon in it. If it does, double-click it to see a Privacy Report that will list cookies that have been blocked. If it's blank, double-clicking does nothing useful.

Box 5: If you don't have the Privacy Report icon in Box 4, you might have it here. For some users, double-clicking the blank box makes IE look for a security certificate.

Box 6: Single-click to see a menu, where you can run a safety check on the site you're visiting via Microsoft's SmartScreen Filter service, turn the SmartScreen Filter on or off, or report a site as malicious.

Broadband speed test

NEXT PAGE: Customise the interface

  1. Free add-ons to get the most out of your web experience
  2. Cover your tracks with InPrivate browsing
  3. Protect your privacy and even block ads with InPrivate filtering
  4. View incompatible pages with the Compatibility Viewer
  5. Customise the interface
  6. Don't forget these keyboard shortcuts


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