Walt Mossberg

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Using Private Browsing in Internet Explorer

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

In your recent Firefox review, you said Internet Explorer has a private browsing mode that doesn’t record your history or tracks while surfing. But I can’t find how to turn it on.

The feature, which is called InPrivate Browsing, is only available in the latest version of IE, called IE8. You turn it on by either selecting that option from the Safety button at the upper right, or from the Tools menu in the Menu Bar if you have chosen to make that bar visible. Once you do, an “InPrivate” label appears at the top left corner of the browser and a page appears explaining that the browser won’t record on your own PC certain records of what you do in that browsing session. There’s an additional privacy mode, available from the same two drop-down menus, called “InPrivate Filtering,” which goes further. It blocks Web sites you go to from saving certain records of your presence there on their own servers. InPrivate browsing lasts until you close the InPrivate browsing window.

When you reviewed the latest Safari Web browser awhile back, you complained that Apple had repositioned the tabs in a way that made them harder to see. A friend said that’s no longer true. Is he right?

Yes. After getting a lot of negative reaction, Apple changed Safari 4’s design so the tabs are displayed in the previous manner, below the toolbar, instead of at the very top. The company also made more visible the page-loading indicator, though I personally still prefer the indicator style used in prior versions.

In your column last week, you recommended add-on software to search documents for key words in Windows XP. Is there any similar software that will do the same for Macs?

It’s unnecessary on Mac because the Mac operating system comes with a fast, comprehensive search system called Spotlight that’s built right in. Windows Vista also has a very good search system built in. The reason I recommended add-on software for Windows XP is that I consider XP’s built-in search to be slow and inferior to those in these two newer operating systems.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online for free at the All Things Digital Web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

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