Internet Explorer Tip – Open new window

Here's a tip I learnt a couple of months ago and meant to post up before - totally forgot. Maybe it's force of habit, but rather than opening a new instance Internet Explorer, going to the address bar and typing in a web page, it's quicker to do start/run (ie Windows+R) instead. No, that's not the tip (but useful if you're doing it the long way now!).

The problem with the start/run way is probably due to my messy desktop - I already have the start bar expanded to allow for two rows of window icons and can't get used to the grouping of icons on the start bar - it's not uncommon to have 18 windows simultaneously (I just counted). Several of them are usually IE instances (and most of those with multiple tabs). Start/run will "hijack" the first started IE instance and lose your current page (which I usually want). Worse, the instance it hijacked may be a "pop-up" style window, either not re-sizeable or without toolbars. Not the end of the world as you can still click Alt-Left and go back, but it then means you have to do things the long way again.

The answer is to rather than start/run you do start/run explorer OK, so the astute may be thinking here this isn't much of a shortcut - thats 16 extra keystrokes ("explorer http://") - yes, you must include the http:// prefix :(. However, you can get that down to 2 extra characters by creating e.cmd somewhere in your path (eg \windows\system32) containing 2 lines:

explorer http://%1

Then you can do just start/run e Of course, you can take this much further by parsing %1 parameter in the batch file (or using a VBScript). How about looking to see if theres a www prefix missing and adding it - similarly, the .com. Now there's a thought - start/run e microsoft. Only just crossed my mind as I'm typing this. Hmmmm! Definitely on my list of things to do.

Now, if I can only find a way of doing this in a way which finds a suitable IE Windows (ie resizeable with toolbars and address bar), adds a tab to it and navigates that tab to the URL, I'll be even happier...

Hope that helps someone.


Comments (5)
  1. Troy Phillips says:

    Hi John

    If you don’t want the url to hijack the last used IE window then you can turn this off. In the advanced preferences for IE, there is an option like "Reuse windows for URL shortcuts" which you want to turn off. Then you can safely type into the run box!


  2. Robbie Coleman says:

    A workaround for the: "Start/run will "hijack" the first started IE instance and lose your current page" problem is to modify your IE Options like so:

    Tools–>Internet Options–>Advanced [Tab]

    Uncheck "Reuse windows for launching shortcuts" (Within the "Browsing Category" [usually second])

    This will protect you and your IE windows from those pesky little hijackers, and support the War on Terror.


  3. Troy/Robbie – cool. Learnt something today. Thanks!



  4. ryan says:

    or use maxthon(, which has awesome tabbed browsing, and will even work with ie7, MS has a bit to learn about tabbed browsing 🙂 it has a good shortcut of ctrl+shift+n to open a new tab from the clipboard contents, which really saves the mouse.

  5. brad says:

    Here is what I do.

    ctrl+n opens a new window

    ctrl+t opens a new tab (focus will already be in the address bar)

    Hitting F6 on any webpage will move focus to the address bar (F4 will also do this as well as drop down the history)

    So, hit ctrl+t in the window that you want your new tab in, type in and hit enter (note: you can also just type in "microsoft" and hit ctrl+enter, and IE will add the www. and .com)

    If you want a new window, just hit ctrl+n, then F6, then and hit enter

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