Cut out the middle man with a few simple clicks
What's your favorite starting point on the Web? Maybe you consult your astrological forecast every time you get on the web. But if you're like many people, that habitual journey has an unnecessary side trip: to the page that automatically loads whenever your Web browser software starts up.
Lots of people don't even realize that the start-up page is a matter of choice--that it's easy to program your browser to go to your favorite page as soon it opens. Best of all, the whole process will take less than a minute, if you follow the easy steps covered in this article. And by the way: if you'd like to opt for making http://www.infobarrel.com your start-up page...well, we'd be honored.
Note: This article covers Netscape's Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer. It applies to both Macintosh and Windows operating systems.
Many Internet users consider their browser to be a technological mystery--they just accept its features as a given and don't dare alter them. Actually, you have a lot of control over your web browser, and it's not difficult to adjust its settings. You don't need to be a computer programmer, a hacker, or even technologically savvy to customize a browser to better meet your needs.
You can adapt your browser's functions to create a better match with your computer, your modem (or other Internet connection), your professional needs and even your personal tastes. You can change the size and style of your browser's default font for easier readability; turn off images so that pages will load more quickly; or shrink or remove the tool bar so you have more room to view Web pages. And these are just a few of your options.
Your browser's start-up page (the first page you see when you open your browser) is a great place to begin the customization process. Each time you open a new window, you'll be reminded that you have the ability to alter--and improve--your browser. You can generally find information on how to customize your browser further by searching through its help index.
Making modifications isn't a permanent process: you can always change your settings back to their original form, or to new parameters whenever you like. If the concept of tinkering with software is intimidating to you, just think of it as the equivalent of setting your favorite stations on your car radio. It's really personalization, not programming.
1. Choose your start-up page
Be creative in choosing your browser's start-up page. Most people set it to the site they consult most frequently. But maybe you should consider setting to a site that you're not in the habit of checking, but that could prove very useful.
For example, let's say you're a diehard traveler--why not choose a page that regularly features travel deals that you might otherwise miss? Or perhaps you're vaguely thinking of changing careers: you could select a Web site that advertises internships in your profession of choice. Note: If, however, discretion is your goal, avoid choosing a page that you don't want others to see. For instance, having a job search site pop up when your boss is Web surfing with you may not be an optimum scenario.
Once you've decided on the page, surf on over. You'll need the exact URL in order to reset the start-up page, and this is the best way to ensure you've got it right.
You can find a web page's URL listed in the top of the browser window. In Microsoft Explorer, it's the text in the box (or field) following the word "Address." In Netscape's Navigator or Communicator, it follows the word "Location." Right now, it should say
You can manually type a new address into this address field, copy and paste the current address elsewhere, or copy and paste another address into it.
2. Change the start-up page setting
Now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty, actually programming your browser to open with your page of choice. Don't worry, the browsers' designers have made the process quite simple. However, different browsers require a slightly different process, so make sure you follow the appropriate directions.
Netscape Navigator 4.0
1. Go to the Web page you've selected.
2. Click "Edit" (you'll find it near the top of your screen). Scroll down and select "Preferences."
3. When the Preferences window has opened, find the "Category" section on the left side and click on the "Navigator" heading.
4. Make sure "Home page" is selected in the section marked "Navigator starts with" (Note: if you want your start-up page to remain blank, select "Blank page." Then skip to step 6).
5. Go to the section marked "Home page." Click the button called "Use Current Page." You'll see the URL appear in the box above. If you're not currently at the Web page you want to specify as your start-up page, you can simply type or paste the desired address in the "Home page location" field.
6. Click "OK" in the lower right-hand corner of the Preferences box.
Netscape Navigator 3.0
If you have an older version of Netscape's browser, such as Navigator 3.01, you'll need to follow a slightly different process.
1. Click "Options" (you'll find it near the top of your screen), then select "General Preferences."
2. At the top of the General Preferences window, make sure the "Appearance" category is selected. If another category is showing, click Appearance.
3. Find the "Browser Starts With" section at the bottom of the Appearance window. Select the "Home Page Location" button, then type in your URL of choice to the right. If you'd prefer your start-up page to be blank, select "Blank Page."
4. When you're done, click "OK."
1. Copy the URL of your preferred homepage.
2. Click "Edit" (you'll find it near the top of your screen). Scroll down and select "Preferences" (You can also click the Preferences button directly in the browser window's toolbar).
3. On the left side of the Preferences window, under the "Web Browser" heading, select "Home/Search."
4. Enter the URL into the Address field under "Home Page," and make sure the small box beneath it is checked (it reads "Automatically go to this Home Page..."). If you want a blank start-up page, simply click "Use None."
5. Click "OK" in the lower right-hand corner. You're done!
Microsoft Explorer (Windows)
1. Copy the URL of your preferred homepage.
2. Click "View" (you'll find it near the top of your screen). Scroll down and select "Internet Options."
3. Make sure the "General" tab is selected. Under "Home page," enter the URL into the "Address" field, or click "Use Blank" if you want a blank start-up page.
4. Click "OK" and you're done!
3. Verify your work
Now it's time to test your work. No matter what browser you use, the process is the same. Simply close your browser application (go to File, then scroll down to Quit), then open it again. When the new browser window appears, your page of choice should pop up automatically. If for some reason this doesn't happen, go through the process again, making sure you enter the correct URL.
If all goes right, sit back and admire your work. And now that you've taken the plunge into browser customization, why not begin exploring other personalization options? You'll find literally dozens of ways to make your window to the Web truly yours and yours alone.