Resolution to my IE CTRL-D problem


A long time ago, I complained to the IE team on their blog:

So how do I disable the CTRL-D “add-to-favorites” behavior?  It’s my one major objection to IE6.
The problem is that CTRL-D is also the “delete email” link, and I have my email on one monitor and IE on the other.  It’s not always clear which window has the focus, so I get random pages added to my favorites when I don’t want them.
It’s a royal pain to delete a favorite (requires two clicks, and popup), I’d rather not get them in the first place.

The good news is that one of the leads on the IE team noticed my complaint and it appears that the IE7 guys fixed my problem!

Or rather, they mitigated it quite neatly.

Now, when you hit CTRL-D, you get:

I really like this solution – it keeps the CTRL-D favorite, but the user now gets to cancel out, which means that random pages don’t show up as favorites.

Thanks guys!

Comments (18)

  1. just-a-speck says:

    Does not this result in an additional mouse click to add something to favorites?

  2. Sure.  But I don’t think it’s unreasonable that an action like adding something to favorites should require confirmation.  Otherwise you get a massively polluted favorites that doesn’t necessarly reflect the desires of the user.

  3. Actually it’s not an additional mouse click, it’s an additional keypress.  THat’s a nit, but…

  4. Jonathan says:

    And it also mitigates the "4 screenfoldes of favorites on the root favorites menu" phenomena I see much too often – hopefully people will realize the possibility to put stuff in folders.

  5. Mark Ingalls says:

    I think it’s a great idea.  As an avid outlook and OWA user, you would not believe how many URLs to emails that are long gone ended up in my favorites list in IE.

  6. schooby says:

    I haven’t used IE6 in quite a while, but I can see how automatically adding bookmarks without any user confirmation could be annoying.  Firefox/Mozilla has had basically the exact same thing for years.  I’d include a screenshot, but don’t know if its possible.  I did a double take when I saw your screenshot above.  It is scary how similar they are.  But, it is awesome to see how improvements and features from one browser make it into the other.  Whether the idea comes from user requests or just seeing it in a different browser, if either browser provides better user experience we’re better off all around.

  7. Timothy says:

    Hmmm… people use keyboard shortcuts…  I’ll be darned.

  8. Adrian says:

    It sounds like the root problem is that you can’t tell which window is active.  If it were obvious, you’d be a lot less likely to hit the shortcut in the wrong window.  I turned off the Aero theme and cranked up the color saturation to make it much more obvious which window is active.  Of course, that doesn’t help with maximized windows, since they don’t change the titlebar color when active.

  9. Adrian, when I made this comment, I was on XP.

    It’s not a glass/focus issue.  This happens all the time when running in a multimon environment – if you click on a link in an email message, the focus moves to the IE instance.  If IE’s on one monitor, and Outlook is on another, the focus changes, but it’s not obvious.  And thus you hit ctrl-d and add a new shortcut.

  10. Adrian, when I made this comment, I was on XP.

    It’s not a glass/focus issue.  This happens all the time when running in a multimon environment – if you click on a link in an email message, the focus moves to the IE instance.  If IE’s on one monitor, and Outlook is on another, the focus changes, but it’s not obvious.  And thus you hit ctrl-d and add a new shortcut.

  11. just-a-speck says:

    Still this does not feel right to me.   I, the user should know which context (or app) I am in when I click a key and what the effect is.  You could as well easily do a ALT+TAB to Outlook if you don’t know which context you are in before clicking CTRL D?

  12. Matt says:

    Excellent, it’s good to see that Microsoft catches up with features that Opera and Firefox have had for a long time.

  13. Sven Groot says:

    If you want to disable a keyboard shortcut (any keyboard shortcut, or even just any key, really) in IE, all you need to do is write a Browser Helper Object that installs a keyboard hook which intercepts the key press messages. Easy as pie. Okay, pie with a lot of COM and Win32 work, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you. 🙂

  14. Adrian says:

    But my point still stands:  the active window isn’t visually distinctive enough.  I haven’t had much of a problem with this on XP (even with multimon), but with Aero the it’s absurdly subtle (especially when windows are maximized on adjacent monitors).

    The confirmation dialog is an OK BandAid, but I’d like to see the UI team work on the root problem of making the window with focus more identifiable.

  15. Marcel says:

    Sven, that sounds almost as easy as with Opera, where one just goes into the keyboard preferences dialog and deletes or changes the shortcut 😉

  16. Andy C says:

    Great. Now all you need is for the Outlook team to do the same so you don’t accidentally delete emails when adding a site to your favourites.

  17. To see which window has the focus, check the "close window" X button.  If the window has the focus, the button has a red background; otherwise, the button has the same background as the "maximize/restore" and "minimize" buttons.

  18. R. Bemrose says:

    For reference, this is what Firefox and Opera do when you hit Ctrl-D for this page:

    Firefox 1.5.0.8: http://www.vgmusic.com/~rbemrose/images/screenshots/fav-firefox15.png

    Opera 9.02: http://www.vgmusic.com/~rbemrose/images/screenshots/fav-opera9.png

    P.S. I would have tried making those links, but this blog software doesn’t allow me to preview before submitting.