Microsoft’s latest internet browser has some great new features - but not all are easy to find. So if you’re still using Windows 7 with an older version of Internet Explorer, here are eight reasons to tempt you to upgrade.

If you are a Windows 8 user check out our Secrets of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.

 

Tip 1: Set your privacy settings once

Privacy settings

Internet Explorer is a free download for Windows 7 from Microsoft. When you first run the application, it will ask if you want to use its recommended settings for web site security, privacy and compatibility. Accept this offer and you won’t see it again - earlier versions of Internet Explorer displayed it repeatedly, otherwise.

 

Tip 2: Enable the toolbars

Enable the toolbars

Internet Explorer 11 has a minimal user interface with just three icons on its toolbar (for Home, Favorites and Tools), but this is easily changed. Right-click an empty part of the top edge of its window and you’ll see various options, including ones to display the toolbars.

Remember you can download the free BT Toolbar to quickly access BT Mail wherever you are on the web.

 

Tip 3: Make the address bar wider

Make the address bar wider

If the address bar (which also doubles as a search box, incidentally) isn’t wide enough, drag the right-hand edge to make it wider. This will reduce the amount of space available for displaying open tabs, but has no effect on how many tabs can be open at once.

 

Tip 4: Drag and reorder tabs

Drag and reorder tabs

You can drag Internet Explorer’s tabs around to reorder them, or drag them out of the tab bar to create a new window – which can be dragged back in again to become a tab. If you drag a tab to the left or right of the screen, it snaps to a window that fills half of the screen.

 

Tip 5: Pin sites to the Taskbar

Pin sites to the Taskbar

You can still use Favorites to get quick access to your favourite sites, but Internet Explorer lets you drag a site’s favicon (the icon to the left of its name in the address bar) to the Windows Taskbar to pin it there. Unlike previous versions of Internet Explorer, the favicon will then be used as the Taskbar icon for easy reference.

 

Tip 6: Fast access to the web history

Fast access to the web history

Internet Explorer 11 lets you access recently opened web sites simply by clicking and dragging down on the address bar. Click the ‘x’ symbol to the right of any of these entries to remove it from the list.

 

Tip 7: Change the default search engine

Change the default search engine

By default, Internet Explorer 11 uses Bing for internet searches, but you can change this to your favourite search engine. Click and drag down on the address bar, then click the Add button at the bottom-right of the history list. This opens a new page with various Internet Explorer add-ons, including new search providers - click the one you want and then click the Add to Internet Explorer button.

 

Tip 8: Install BT’s custom application

Install BT’s custom application

BT has its own free download of Internet Explorer 11 that’s custom-designed for BT Internet users. It uses search.bt.com as your homepage and has built-in links for fast access to the BT.com, BT Mail and My BT pages.