Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 officially launched late Monday and is ready for download here.
The new web browser features a lot of interesting new tools such as taskbar shortcuts and dynamic jumplists, extensive HTML 5 support, hardware acceleration for improved graphics performance, and has a streamlined interface that puts more focus on the web page and less on the browser window. Before you get started, here are a few quick tips to get you up and running with the best features IE9 has to offer.
Pin your sites
Internet Explorer 9 allows Windows 7 and Vista users to turn any website you want into a web app by installing it in your taskbar. If you use Google Docs or Office Live Web Apps, for example, a one click option in your taskbar can be a real time saver.
To get started, all you do is click on the tab you want to pin and drag it down to your taskbar. The site's icon will show up on your taskbar and you can click on it for quick access. A nice design touch for this feature is that IE9's navigation icons, such as the back button, will match the pinned site's colour scheme.
Check your jumplists
If the site owner has enabled this feature, you can take advantage of dynamic jumplists in your pinned sites that let you quickly access specific web pages.
Right-clicking on a pinned Facebook icon, for example, lets you quickly jump to your Newsfeed, Messages, Events or your Friends List. The New York Times lists its top stories of the day as well as quick access to search, the Times' most popular stories, video and the site's homepage.
Stop your trackers
IE9 offers you a way to stop sites from tracking your activity across the web. To enable this feature click on the settings icon (the cog) in the right corner of your browser. Select Safety>Tracking Protection and a new window will appear where you can activate the feature.
Once enabled, tracking protection will automatically start blocking sites from monitoring you. You can also download predefined tracking lists here by clicking on "Add TPL" next to each list you'd like to add to your browser.
Set your search provider
Similar to Google Chrome's Omnibox, IE9 lets you search directly in the URL address bar (called the One Box in IE) instead of in a separate search field.
By default, IE9 uses Bing as its search provider, but if you want to change this click on the settings icon (the cog) in the upper right corner of the browser window and select "Manage Add-Ons." Then in the pop-up window select "Search Providers" and then "Find more search providers" in the bottom left of the window.
This will take you to the IE9 addons gallery where you can choose from a variety of search options including Bing, Google, Yahoo Search Suggestions, Wikipedia, Facebook and many others. You can also create your own search provider by clicking here and following the instructions.
Once you add a search provider, you will see all your search options appear at the bottom of the drop-down menu when you search using the One Box. This lets you quickly switch between search providers if you want to search for a topic on Wikipedia, for example, and then switch back to your favourite search engine.
IE9 has a lot of new features to offer, so if you haven't taken a look at IE in awhile, you should check out the latest iteration of Microsoft's web browser.
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