The most popular website browser isn’t always obvious in how it works

ChromeAccording to Statista, Chrome had 69% of the browser market in September 2019. Most people find it fast and secure. However, there are some basics that some people miss. This is possibly because Google attempts to keep Chrome looking as “clean” and uncluttered as possible.

Here are a few of the most common things that my IT Support clients ask me about:

Where’s the http or https indication?

Chrome doesn’t display the first parts of a website address – eg “http://www.” or “https://www.” – in the website address bar. We can take the “www” bit as read. We don’t need to see it. Some people, though, are concerned that they can’t see whether their connection to the website is encrypted (indicated by an “s” after “http”). Encryption is essential if highly confidential and/or financial information is passing between the user and the website. Chrome does show the information, but not in the address itself . If a site is “secure”, then a padlock appears to the left of the website address. If a site is not secure then the text “not secure” appears instead. If you really do wish to see the “http(s)//www.” bit, just double-click somewhere in the address bar and it will be revealed.

How do I create a favourite (ie a “bookmark”) from a website?

BookmarkAt the righthand edge of the address bar is a star. This will be a grey outline if the page has not been bookmarked, or a solid blue if it has been. To create a bookmark of the webpage indicated in the address bar:

  • Click on the star
  • Change the name, if desired (shorter names, or no name at all, mean that more items will be visible in the Bookmarks Bar)
  • Click the downward arrow next to “folder” to choose where to save the bookmark. The folders mentioned here are bookmarks folders and not the folders shown in File Explorer. Note that there is an option for “bookmarks toolbar”. This is a row of saved bookmarks appearing on the line below the address bar, for very quick access

How do I see the “Favorites bar” (ie the “Bookmarks” bar)

If you can not see the bookmarks bar:

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser window
  • Hover over the “bookmarks” option
  • Click on the “Show bookmarks bar” option (a tick will appear next to this option if the bar is already displayed)

HobnobsHow do I clear my browing history and cookies?

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser window
  • Hover over the “more tools” option
  • Click on “clear browsing data”
  • Choose the time range and the specific items you wish to delete
  • Click on “clear data”

How do I change my “home page”

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the browser window
  • Hover over the “settings” option
  • In the “Appearance” section, set your home page below where it says “Show Home Button”. The home button is a small icon of a house that, when displayed, shows near the address bar and gives a method of quickly taking you back to your home page

By the way, according to the same Statista analysis, the market shares of all the major browsers in September 2019 were:

Chrome – 69.08%
Firefox – 9.54%
Safari – 7.41%
Internet Explorer – 4.99%
Edge – 4.71%
Opera – 2.40%
Others – 1.87%

Another “by the way” is that Chrome can be a bit of a monster when it comes to hogging your memory. If you tend to have lots of Chrome tabs open at the same tab and your computer slows down, it might well be worth closing some of those tabs. Keep the number of Chrome tabs in single figures, if possible.

Want to move to a different browser?

Favorites folderYou may have thought of trying a different browser, but can’t face the thought of starting afresh with your collection of internet favorites (known as bookmarks in some browsers). Well, don’t let that stop you. It’s fairly easy to copy your favorites from one browser to another (technically, we are “importing” rather than “copying”, but that’s splitting hairs).

So, just look down to find the section relating to the browser you wish to start using, and follow the instructions. As usual with my blog posts of this kind, the instructions relate to the latest versions of the browsers.

Chrome

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top righthand corner of the browser
  • Click on “bookmarks”
  • Click on “import bookmarks and settings”
  • If Firefox isn’t the browser from which you are copying bookmarks, click on the triangle next to it and choose either Edge or Internet Explorer instead. The last option in the list (“Bookmarks HTML file”) is for when you are transferring Chrome bookmarks between computers
  • Uncheck any items that you con’t wish to copy from your previous browser
  • Click on “Import”
  • If you have your previous browser open, then close it now and then click “Continue”

After the importing has been completed, you can see where Chrome has put your bookmarks and move move them around using the Bookmarks Manager:

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top righthand corner of the browser
  • Click on “bookmarks”
  • Click on “bookmark manager”

BookmarkFirefox

  • Click on the icon of the clipboard (it has the tooltip “show your bookmarks”) that is next to the star that bookmarks the current page
  • Click on “show all bookmarks”
  • Click on “Import and Backup” at the top of the screen
  • Click on “Import Data from Another Browser”
  • Select the browser and click “Next”
  • De-select any items you do not wish to import
  • Click “Next”
  • Click “Finish” when you see the message “The following items were successfully imported: Favorites”

Firefox leaves you in the Bookmark Manager, so you can see the imported items (in a folder called, for instance, “From Intenet Explorer”) and move them around as desired.

Internet Explorer

  • Click on the “File” command
  • Click on “Import and Export”
  • Ensure that “Import from another browser” is selected
  • Click on “Next”
  • Select Safari or Chrome (note that Microsoft don’t give you the option to import from “Edge” (their other browser))
  • Click on “Import”
  • Click on “Finish”

To organise your favorites in Internet Explorer:

  • Click on the icon of the star (top right of browser)
  • Click on the triangle next to “Add to favorites”
  • Click on “organize favorites”

StarEdge

  • Click on the three horizontal dots (top right of browser)
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Click on “View favorites settings”
  • Select the browser from which to import the favorites (note that Microsoft are happy to give us the option to import from Internet Explorer to Edge, but not vice versa)
  • Click on “Import”

To organise your favorites in Edge:

  • Click on the icon with three unequal-length horizontal bars (apparently, this is called “the hub”)
  • In the popup, click on the favorites icon (the star)
  • You can now drag and drop favorites to move them around, or right-click to rename or delete

Safari (on a Mac)

  • Click on the “File” command
  • Click on “Import from” and then select the browser whose favorites/bookmarks you wish to copy
  • Untick “history” if you do not want to import it
  • Click on “import”

When I tried this, I found my “bookmarks” imported from Chrome were placed inside a bookmarks folder called “favorites” (accessible by clicking on the “bookmarks” command). No, I couldn’t figure that one out.

© 2011-2019 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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