Search in Beta 1

The information published in this post is now out-of-date and one or more links are invalid.

—IEBlog Editor, 21 August 2012

Hi, I’m Aaron Sauve, Program Manager focused on features relating to the Internet Explorer user interface.  One of these features is web search.  Now that Beta 1 is out in the wild I would like to say a few quick words about what we have included and give some insight into where we are going in Beta 2.

Beta 1 includes a few simple enhancements to web search.  Search is a critical aspect of web browsing, so we promoted web search to the top level IE frame and have included the ability to easily switch between search providers. If you are checking out the Beta 1 builds you will also see that we have included some of the top web search providers in the search box dropdown (keyboard users can use Alt+Down when focus is in the box to show this list). You can change the default search provider for IE in our new Search Settings dialog; this also changes your address bar search provider.

You may have noticed that we do not have a way to add any new providers to this list through the user interface.  This is planned for Beta 2, but for Beta 1 there is a work around if you want to add your favorite search provider to the list.

Warning: This requires editing the registry, so please proceed with caution.  In order to keep your current default set of search providers, before editing the registry go into Search Settings and click the ‘OK’ button.  This will copy your machine settings to your user account.  This step is required due to a known bug in Beta 1.  If you lose your defaults you should be able to get them back by using ‘Restore Defaults’ in the Search Settings dialog.

Here is an example of the registry entry that would add an MSDN Library search to the search box:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchScopesMSDN]
“DisplayName”=”MSDN Library”

In the above, the key name “MSDN” can be any unique value, “DisplayName” is the text you will see in the search box and “URL” is simply the search provider’s query string.  Note that the %s is where your search term will be injected into the query string.

One way to figure out how to build the search string is to type in a search term in your favorite search provider’s search box.  After navigating to the results go to the address bar and see where your term is injected into the address.  You can copy that entire URL into the “URL” parameter and replace the text of your query with %s as in the example above.

You may also want to read Sean Alexander’s blog post on this subject – he has created a downloadable file that allows you to quickly add 32 search providers to IE7.

When Beta 2 comes out we will have a much more intuitive way to add providers from the user interface - until then keep sending your Beta 1 feedback and have fun!

- Aaron

Comments (35)
  1. Anonymous says:

    All right, I have some feedback/question about Beta 1. I must say I like the "new tab" button very much. Is there a way get a new tab to navigate to the homepage instead of just a blank page?

    Also, is there a way to get the new tab to not "auto select"? What I mean is create a new tab and have it wait for the user to click? This would prevent creating a new tab, but being pushed away from the current webpage while the new tab takes a few seconds to come up. Another thing that can happen is you can create a new tab and paste a URL into the address bar and have a mix of which tab "gets it" first depending on where the new tab is in it’s creation.

  2. geoff.appleby says:

    Where do I send feedback/bug reports? Can you get an entry in the product feedback centre? I’ve found a few bugs and I’d like to make reports, but no one can tell me where to go!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of search, or rather "find," there’s a feature found in Firefox (and probably some other browsers) where the in-page find box appears on the border of the browser frame. This is a convenient feature when one’s doing research. Now, I’m not saying to outright copy Firefox, but it’d be nice if the Find box didn’t pop up in a way that obscures the text. How about the ability to dock it?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I think adding an API to allow search engines to be added an excellent idea. However, is it possible to have a common API between Firefox and IE. Firefox already has this functionality, perhaps IE could use the same API as Firefox, or collaborate with Firefox to achieve this.

    This would really go miles in showing MS is serious about interoperability, and make implementation of this easier for web developers!



  5. Anonymous says:

    I find myself hitting the ‘/’ key to start a search. This works in Firefox, vim, and Konqueror – could you add that for IE? It would be great if this could also handle regexps, but that may be stretching the userfriendliness a bit far…

  6. Anonymous says:

    oh – while I’m at it with requests – how about a feature similar to Google’s autocomplete? for reference.

  7. Anonymous says:


    The technology you are probably talking about is "Apple Sherlock files" (see for details).

    You can simply add an engine using





    "type" );

    But i assume Microsoft will implement something like:


    sURLToSPDF Required. String that specifies the URL of a Search Provider Definition Format (SPDF) file to be installed.


    So prepare to write you own little API wrapper that calls the different functions… or wait for a Firefox extension / Greasemonkey script to support the Microsoft style.

    PLEASE, IE Team – support Sherlock files.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Cool. More junk in my registry and yet another thing to go wrong. Why not use files like Firefox. That way I can let users download a file to add "Search Our Intranet" to their browers. No one should download and install a .REG file. The firefox format seems too be based on a standard Miscrosoft has messed up in the past.

    At least use the same format as IE6. We do not need another one!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    it’d be great if there was an inline/page search feature… like BB said, not a "rip" of Firefox, but the same idea with a Microsoft stamp on it (nice UI, friendly/familiar icons)… also be nice if when searching a page for something, you could check an option to search-by-source (HTML), with highlighted text — would be a great feature for coders and developers that are in the browser 8-9 hours everyday 😉

    just a thought to throw out into the mix.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As one of the above posted said where do we submit feedback? I heard we could use the Microsoft Beta Client tool but it looks like it’s meant more for Vista than IE7, even though it runs on XP. There’s nothing in the Product Feedback Center for IE7. The Send Feedback link in the Help menu does not work either. So where do we do it?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I run a web based company. I’m not planning on using IE for regular browsing because we’re all on Linux, but I do keep a Windows box so I can test my site against it. We put the Windows box headless on the network, and use IE via RDP when we need to test the site.

    Will I be able to test in IE6 and 7 on the same Windows installation? It might not seem like a big deal, but for a small company having to buy another computer just to run a web browser for a few hours a day, and then just for testing is a really big deal. With the same money I could take my whole team out to a nice resteraunt.

    If we can’t do this we’ll probably not install IE7 on the Windows box to IE7 for a long time, and just support IE6. Setting up a whole new computer is just too much hastle to run a webbrowser.

    For reference, one of our Linux boxes has TWELVE versions of the Moz Gecko rendering engine installed, and works without a flaw.

    (oh and we’d also not be so keen paying licence fees for another copy of Windows that noone really uses, but that’s another matter…)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Few things that should be changed (in my opinion) in IE7:

    1. I do not like the new tab window button. Why is it there? Have Ctrl+N to open a new tab window.

    2. Let users be able to adjust the bars so that I can have the Standard Buttons and Address bar show up on top instead of in the middle.

    3. I have a few folders in the Links bar and the folder icon is far too large then what it should be.

    I like the phishing menu very much. Haven’t used it much but so far so good. Microsoft is on the right path but has to let users have more control of the interface.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Cool name, Mr. Suave

  14. Anonymous says:

    Question about another subject..

    Why do you don’t use Gecko?

    It’s cool and free.. No?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ctrl+T opens a new tab. Ctrl+N has been new window for years. Not everyone uses the keyboard so thats why the button is there. You can also double click in the blue area for a new tab.

  16. Anonymous says:

    "Why do you don’t use Gecko?"

    If IE used Gecko, I wouldn’t be using IE.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I would like for the Advanced Options in IE for searching from the address bar to no longer be broken. It would be great if the address bar let you go to the "most likely site" while the search box did the search. It is kind of redundant to have two bars side by side promoting the exact same feature.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I made a small app a while ago to manage IE’s search engines.

    Check the Vista "DId you know…?" Thread at AeroXP (started and mainted by me. the IE7 app is the post’s attatchment)

    On a more general note about IE: I love the toolbar placements and the seemingly faster rendering it does, however, the yellow bar gets a little annoying, because even at normal level, it stops the popups I want.

    Also, when using the -extoff extension, that bloody yellow bar is terrible!! it’s there all the time and plays its sound every page load! Also, there’s no way to set this mode as the default (a quick checkbox would do…)

    However, the options dialog is far too dated. It becomes a pain to use then I have 100 checkboxes and buttons about my screen, with very small text and no visual indication (icons) of what does what. A further categorized view (perhaps with a slightly friendlier UI) would be very nice.

    Also, it doesn’t seem to like more than 2 pages of favourites…

  19. Anonymous says:

    oh, by the way, the IE7 search managing app can be found here:

  20. Anonymous says:

    I don’t like the fact that whenever i hit enter in the search bar it gives me a "donk" sound usually reserved for error messages. I’ve sent feedback, but it went to someone in India and I’m doubtful if it will ever filter down to the IE team.

    Also, the GO button does not show up when you paste a link into the address bar (RIGHT CLICK -> PASTE), only when you are typing… or using Ctrl+v… and when you’re typing you can always hit the enter key… making the go button on IE7 completely useless. Please fix these two issues.

  21. Anonymous says:

    OT, but since Asa Dotzler of Mozilla keeps deleting me from his blog, this is just to publicize.

    I asked a very simple question in an Ask Asa: Who was responsible for the testing/QA failure that led to a security <b>regression</b> in Firefox 1.0.4, how will they be censured, and what is being done to prevent a similar recurrence.

    He didn’t answer and has deleted every comment I post, in which I’ve said the same thing. I think it’s a fair question. Not answering is pretty crappy, but censoring just because he spends too much time being ‘visible’ and not enough time actually doing QA is truly pathetic.

    Asa isn’t the funloving guy his blog projects, he can be a complete idiot too. Spread the word.

  22. Anonymous says:

    @Jim H:

    I don’t think there’s an official Microsoft supported way to run IE versions side-by-side, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

    At you can find standalone versions of most versions of IE, including 6. I find this to be an invaluable tool in checking site compatibility when developing.

  23. Anonymous says:

    <<oh – while I’m at it with requests – how about a feature similar to Google’s autocomplete? for reference>>

    I think a lot of customers would be concerned about leaking every search query you typed out to the Internet.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I think there is nothing great abt internet explore. You people still havent developed it enough to support W3C CSS.2 .. Its still the old stuff with no much improvments what the big deal with desiging new interface with tabs if you guys cant fix the major issues. check out the review in

  25. Anonymous says:

    I’ve tried IE7 Beta1. Very Cool, but have found some bugs related to localization.

    I’m from Hungary and in our language we use a lot of vowels with accent.

    Here is an expression showing all of them:

    árvíztűrő tükörfúrógép

    When I write it in the search box I get no results but when I use Google or MSN Search directly I get a lot of results.

    The URL of search results generated by the search box is:

    The URL generated by directly using MSN search is:

    I think the first query string is encoded in some kind of ASCII code table the second is encoding in UTF-8.

    The second bug is related to changing language using the language bar in Windows.

    I use the left Alt+Shift keys to change language from English to Hungarian and back. It works fine in other programs but IE7 prevents me from changing this settings using the keyboard. I can change language only by clicking on the language bar.

  26. Anonymous says:


    i am a BHO developer and have just tried out

    IE7b1. unfortunately, it seems that IWebBrowser2.Navigate() has changed and now

    fails with a popup message box.

    but i understand that you are focused on UI,

    so here are couple of comments:

    1) the layout of the address bar, tabs and menus does not look ‘right’; at the minimum, the menus should be at the top.

    2) more importantly, i was hoping the pictures

    would look sharp as they do in FireFox and Opera. this is despite the fact that i do

    definitely prefer the overall page layout in IE; in Firefox and Opera, the page look too

    compressed horizontally. i suppose as you

    stretch the page widthwise, pictures get

    stretched too (thus becoming fuzzy), but there

    should be an option at least to keep the

    pictures "true".


    hong son


  27. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Suave,

    I use Maxthon, which uses parts of IE. What Maxthon does, is add several very intuitive features that make my browsing experience much easier. Of course it does tabbed browsing, but one of the things I can do is drag any link, and it will be opened in a new tab.

    This makes it so easy for me when I am looking at the front page on CNN, for example, to drag each link that I am interested in, and they load in the background.

    Another great feature (which ties directly into this search topic) is that I can select any text, including text in links, and then drag the selection, which will then perform a search in a new tab using the selected text and using a search engine that I have configured. This is nice for avoiding click-throughs or other info capturing links.

    The Maxthon interface also has what they call mouse gestures, which are dragged right button movements, that make it even easier for me to manage my browsing tasks. Some of the gestures are; drag right for forward, drag left for back, drag up or down for page up or down. Pretty much all of this is configurable.

    Whoever is doing this work has gone a long way toward making things intuitive, configurable and easy to use, and they and Maxthon are the sole reason I have not gone to one of the more standards based (community standards, not just MS standards, I also create web applications) browsers for anything more than testing.

    A lot of the tabbed browsers require more than dragging a link to open it in a new tab, and even if it is just a double click, or a key/click combination, it is more than I have to do now, so I guess I’ve been spoiled.

    You know what? I like being spoiled.

  28. Anonymous says:

    "way I can let users download a file to add "Search Our Intranet" to their browers"

    Or you could of course just group policy. If it wasn’t intranet based (i.e. you’r a search engine who wants to make your search available in IE), you could create an installer that simply creates the registry setting.

    Problem solved.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Another thing about IE7 is the fact that when you click the new tab it doesn’t default to that tab, but just opens it in the background -> not cool!!

  30. Xepol says:

    Frank : If you want new tabs to open to the foreground,

    Select Tools|Internet Options…

    Select the ADVANCED tab

    Scroll down to the Tabbed Browsing section

    Check "Always switch to new tabs when they are created"

    Then click OK.

    Now when you open links in new tabs, they will grab control and jump to the front.

    Personally, I prefer it the way it is by default. As I read, I like to open links of interest to read later.

  31. Anonymous says:


    Like what Mr BB said in his comment on the find button, I too would like to see a docked find window rather than have a box which obscures the text that I am reading. Actually though I was a big fan of IE5.5 and IE6.0, I immediately started liking firefox 1.0 after it was released only because I liked the way find was docked into the window. Now it is nice to see IE with all the features that I wanted to see in it (i.e. IE 7.0). So, please think of ways in which you could create a docked find box, rather than have a full box blocking the text on the window (Actually this feature as of now is very frustrating during browsing).


  32. Anonymous says:

    It’s our goal to make it easy for IE7 users to personalize their list of search providers.&amp;nbsp; The…

  33. IEBlog says:

    In a previous post, I introduced our Beta 1 search functionality and mentioned we would soon ensure you…

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content