Windows 10 users who use Internet Explorer 11 to browse the web are now benefitting from an enhancement to their security

IE11 - iconWho among us hasn’t opened their browser to discover that some scummy software has changed their Home Page and/or search engine? It happens annoyingly often and it can be difficult to find the settings that allow you to change them back.

The reason it happens is quite straight-forward: money. If you can be persuaded to go to web sites that other people want you to go to (as in a Home Page hijacking), or be persuaded to use a particular search engine that wasn’t your choice, then someone is likely to be making money from your browsing as a result of the changes.

IE11 - Settings Icon

Figure 1 – Internet Explorer 11 Settings icon

With its latest browser (“Edge“), Microsoft introduced programming that prevents websites from being able to change your choices in these two respects. Now they have introduced this technology into Internet Explorer 11. From my reading, though, it seems to me that it may only benefit Windows 10 users. These large computer companies do take some curious decisions. I’ve never been sure why they’ve introduced a second browser to compete directly with their existing one. The only reason I can think of is cold feet. They just didn’t dare remove Internet Explorer 11 from Windows 10 computers in case even more users chose to defect to Chrome or Firefox. With this new feature, though, they’ve got something that gave Edge the edge (as it were). It seems a bit odd to me that they would then put it in Internet Explorer as well. Never mind, it’s definitely a benefit.

IE11 - Home Page Selection

Changing the Home Page in Internet Explorer 11

There’s nothing you have to change, or set, in order to benefit from this increased protection. The software is just written in such a way that “outsiders” can’t run software that can make the changes surrepticiously.

This doesn’t, of course, make any difference at all to your own ability to change your Home Page and/or Search Engine.

Just in case you wonder how to do this in IE11 (as we techies call Internet Explorer 11),

Change Home Page in Internet Explorer 11

  • Left-click on the tools button (a cogwheel at the top right of IE11 – see figure 1)
  • Left-click on “Internet Options”
  • Left-click on the “General” tab (if it’s not already selected)
  • In the top box, under “Home page”, type in the address of your desired Home page. It’s actually easier if you go to that page before starting this exercise as you can then click the “Use current” button and it will assign that page as your Home page without typing in the address
  • Close the window with the “X” or “OK” button

Change Search Provider in Internet Explorer 11

  • Left-click on the tools button (a cogwheel at the top right of IE11 – see figure 1)
  • Left-click on “Manage add-ons”
  • Left-click on “Search Providers”
  • If your desired search engine is listed, then click on it and then click on the option near the bottom of the window marked “Set as default”
  • Click the “Close” button
  • If your desired search engine is not listed, then click on the option near the bottom of the window marked “Find more search providers”
  • You will then be shown a ridculously limited list of search providers that you can add. The list does include Google, but not DuckDuckGo
  • Click on the “Add” button next to the search provider you wish to add. Note that it will not appear in the list of search providers until you close and re-open the search provider settings window
  • Re-open the “search providers” window, click on your newly-added search provider and then click the option near the bottom of the window marked “Set as default”
  • Click the “Close” button
IE1 - 1Manage Add-Ons

Changing the Search Provider in “Manage Add-ons”

By the way, if you are wondering about the infantile smiley icon near the settings icon (see Figure 1) – no, you can’t remove it.

© 2011-2018 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
Privacy Policy Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha