Chapter: Internet & World Wide Web HOW TO PROGRAM - Introduction - Web Browser Basics: Internet Explorer and Firefox

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Customizing Browser Settings

Browsers have many settings that determine how sites are displayed, how security measures are applied and how outputs are rendered.

Customizing Browser Settings

 

Browsers have many settings that determine how sites are displayed, how security measures are applied and how outputs are rendered. Most of these settings are located in the Internet Options dialog (Fig. 2.7) in the Tools menu of IE7, and in Options under the Tools menu in FF2 in Windows (Fig. 2.8) [Note: For Firefox on a Mac, this is called the Preferences menu.]. The default settings are usually adequate for normal browsing, but these settings can be customized to suit each user’s preferences.

 

Some privacy settings for IE7 and FF2 can be set under the Privacy tab. In IE7 there are six levels of privacy. The most lenient level permits the downloading of cookies (text files that are placed on the computer by websites to retain or gather information about the user); the most strict level blocks all cookies from all websites and constantly updates a report to the user about browsing privacy. Using this level may prevent certain websites from working correctly. In FF2 the Privacy tab displays options about how data is remem-bered in the system and when cookies should be accepted.

 

Security options for both browsers can be found under the Security tab. The browsers’ options are significantly different, but both allow you to specify how much information you want to hide from unfamiliar sites, as well as how much of the site’s content you would like to block from your own computer. Both browsers allow you to distinguish between trusted sites and the rest of the web, and to browse safe sites with lower security settings.

 

A personal home page can be specified under the General tab in IE7 and Main in FF2. The home page is the web page that loads when the browser is first opened and appears when the Home button at the top of the browser window is clicked (Figs. 2.1–2.2).


History options also may be adjusted in this category. By clicking the Settings button in the Browsing history section of the General tab in IE7, or the Network option in the Advanced tab of FF2, the amount of disk space to be reserved for the web page cache can be set. The cache is an area of temporary storage that a browser designates for saving web pages for rapid future access. When a page is viewed that has been visited recently, IE7 and FF2 check whether they already have some elements on that page (such as images) saved in the cache, to reduce download time. Having a large cache can considerably speed up web browsing, whereas having a small cache saves disk space. Caching can sometimes cause problems, because Internet Explorer and Firefox do not always check to ensure that a cached page is the same as the latest version residing on the web server. Holding down the Ctrl key and pressing F5 in either browser, or pressing Ctrl, Shift and R in FF2, remedies this problem by forcing the browser to retrieve the latest version of the web page from the website. Once the Internet Options are set, click OK in both browsers.


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