Every piece of software known to man these days comes with a complete set of options. These options, depending on your perspective, either make using the program easier or make it a complex web that is beyond human comprehension . Your call.
Explorer's options are viewable by opening the Tools menu and selecting Internet Options. You'll find a myriad of possibilities here; for our purposes, we'll concentrate on the General and Content tabs.
On the General tab (see Figure 8.17), you'll find basic options settings, as you might expect. The top panel allows you to select a new home page (the page that appears when you first start Explorer). The Use Blank button opens a blank page, and the Use Current button allows you to select whatever page is currently displayed on your browser. The Use Default button sets it back to Explorer's default page, www.msn.com.
Figure 8.17. The General tab allows you to change basic settings.
As you surf, a variety of files get saved on your computer. These Temporary Internet Files can, over time, take up a lot of room on your hard drive. From time to time, you may want to delete the files and cookies that are consuming your hard drive. It'll make some pages load slower when you visit them the next time, but it will also remove pages from your hard drive that you never intend to visit again. The Settings button allows you to determine exactly how much room on your drive can be consumed by these files.
Your History is also kept as you surf, and you can specify in the bottom panel how many days worth of sites you want kept on your computer. The Clear History button will completely clear out your surfing trail.
You can use the buttons along the bottom to specify colors, fonts, languages, and accessibility options as well.
The Content tab offers one major feature for parents: the ability to limit what can be seen over the Internet using Explorer.
The Content Advisor (see Figure 8.18), as it's called, comes disabled by default. But any parent whose child might spend time on this computer without supervision should probably enable at least some of these controls.
Figure 8.18. The Content Advisor allows you to set boundaries for objectionable content.
Using a sliding scale, you can select from a four-point scale the level of language, nudity, sex, and violence you will permit on this computer. Setting the levels low allows little or no potentially dangerous content; setting them higher allows more content; not setting them at all allows a free-for-all.