Home Office: Super Browser Outdoes Internet Explorer

Illustration: Mark Matcho

Look out, Microsoft: Internet Explorer is toast. There's a brilliant new browser shell crashing IE's beach party, with features that have been on my browser wish list for years. I can't wait for you folks to try MyIE2, a true Web star.

Over the years, I've used dozens of browsers besides IE, including Mozilla/Netscape, NetCaptor, Opera, and Slim Browser. None of them has an interface that can match MyIE2, which I think has the best look of the bunch. Skedaddle over to our Downloads page and grab a copy of the "Lite" version (which lacks the AI RoboForm auto-form utility and several other third-party add-ons). Later, when you're ready for all of the browser's extras, you can return to the same page to download the full version.

MyIE2's tremendous collection of intelligent features boosts my browsing productivity. The quality of the product's support forums is astonishing--answers arrive almost immediately, and incremental updates for MyIE2 plug-ins and fixes appear regularly at MyIE2 Online. The crowning touch is that the browser and its support services are free--with no annoying ads or spyware.

After downloading and opening the program, you can configure it to suit your style: Select Options, MyIE2 Options (or click the MyIE2 Options icon), and run through the items in the tree on the left, selecting the features you prefer on the right for each tree listing. One of my favorites is Ad Hunter, which permits me to block all pop-ups or to filter them selectively. It even lets me choose the sound I hear when it blocks an ad.

I love the way MyIE2 lets me open multiple Web pages, each with a separate tab for quick switching (long available in Netscape/Mozilla and Opera). Navigating via tabs may take Internet Explorer users some time to get used to, but it's a dream for IE exiles. Press Ctrl-Tab to bring up a list similar to Windows' Alt-Tab for moving between open windows.

Get With the Groups

MyIE2's tabs are handy, but the browser's groups are real time-savers. They let me save a bunch of open pages and recall them all later with a single click. Imagine that you're shopping and have 15 price-comparison sites open. You can save all of them as a group; and when you return the next day, you can reopen all 15 sites with a single click.

Super shortcut 1: If you want to see all of your open browser windows at the same time, press Ctrl-T to tile them vertically, and then simply double-click any window's title bar in order to maximize it.

This is just the beginning of MyIE2's flexibility. Many of the browser's toolbar buttons have extra drop-down options (see FIGURE 1

FIGURE 1: MyIE2's toolbar makes switching apps a breeze.
). For instance, the Undo menu brings up a list of the last 15 Web sites you visited (much more efficient than IE's History pane), and the New button's menu lets you open a blank page, your home page, or one displaying the Clipboard's contents. You also get immediate control of scripts, ActiveX, Flash, and other safety and download features. And I love the browser's Flash Saver plug-in, which enables me to save Flash animations to my hard drive.

Super shortcuts 2 and 3: If your supervisor (or worse, your spouse) walks in, hit the Boss keystroke combination (Alt-~), and MyIE2 vanishes without a trace. Or keep the browser open but showing a blank page by pressing Ctrl-Shift-W.

Concerned about pop-ups and ads? Me too, and MyIE2 does a better job of blocking them than either the Google Toolbar or Mozilla. In fact, it's as good at ad blocking as my longtime browsing companion, InterMute's AdSubtract.

Super shortcuts 4 and 5: Some of the browser's best features aren't obvious. It took me a while to figure out that I could resize pages. To make them bigger, press Ctrl-+; to shrink them, hit Ctrl--.

I also admire MyIE2's manager for my favorite plug-ins. And I no longer fret about IE's inability to open maximized--one of many hassles that MyIE2 avoids.

Note to Microsoft: Today, Internet Explorer; tomorrow, Windows?

Contributing Editor Steve Bass is the author of PC Annoyances, published by O'Reilly. Contact him at homeoffice@pcworld.com.
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