Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is one of the most popular Windows applications for both business and personal use. To help you use IE more effectively, I share my favorite IE tips in this month's Top 10.

10. Make shortcuts to your favorite sites—By default, IE launches to the site you've chosen as your home page. You can save time and keystrokes by creating shortcuts that open IE directly at sites that you visit frequently. For example, to create a shortcut to Google on your desktop, right-click the desktop, select New, Shortcut, and in the text box enter

"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Iexplore
  .exe" www.google.com

9. Use Shift+click to open links in a new window—How many times have you researched a topic only to click a link that opens directly in your current IE window and disables the Back button, thereby deleting the chain of research links that you developed? To make sure a link opens in a new window, press and hold the Shift key when you click the link.

8. Send a page by email—When you want to share something you've found on the Web with a colleague, click File, Send and select the Page by email option. Your default email client will open a new-message window that contains an HTML copy of the Web page. Just address the message and click Send.

7. Turn on AutoComplete—IE's AutoComplete feature recognizes repeated prompts and stores the keystrokes you've entered for those prompts. To turn on AutoComplete, click Tools, Internet Options. Click the Content tab, then click AutoComplete.

6. Organize your Favorites—If you, like me, use the Web heavily, you'll find that your Favorites list quickly becomes unmanageable. To impose order on this chaos, click Favorites, Organize Favorites, then click Create Folder to add subfolders for grouping related links.

5. Moving Favorites between machines—When you travel and you want to copy your Favorites listing from your desktop to your laptop, click File, Import and Export to launch the Import/Export Wizard. Select Export Favorites in the second screen and click Next, then choose a location in which to save the bookmark.htm file. To import the settings on the target machine, run the Import/Export Wizard, select Import Favorites, then browse to the saved file and click OK to import the list of Favorites.

4. Accessing previously viewed content—The Temporary Internet Files folder contains a copy of all recently accessed sites and items, including multimedia files. To view, access, and copy these items, click Tools, Internet Options. On the General tab, click Settings in the Temporary Internet files section, then click View Files.

3. Automatically clean up temporary Internet files—Although temporary Internet files serve as a cache to speed up repeated access to Web sites on systems that have limited disk space or systems that multiple employees share, you don't want the Temporary Internet Files folder to get too big. To automatically delete temporary Internet files, click the Advanced tab under Tools, Internet Options. Scroll down to the Security section and select the Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed check box.

2. Use FTP directly from IE—You don't need to launch a desktop FTP tool to download files from an FTP site. IE can use the FTP protocol to access FTP servers. Simply enter

ftp://

in IE's Address box and double-click a listed file to download it.

1. Make Google IE's default search engine—IE lets you customize the search engine that's used when you click the Search icon, but Google isn't one of the available options. To set IE to use Google, go to http://www.google.com/options/defaults.html and click the make Google your default search engine link. Scroll to "Internet Explorer" and click the download link to download the google.reg file, then double-click the file to update the registry with Google's search settings.