Microsoft's Internet Explorer uses the MSN website as the default homepage in the web browser.
Most users probably do not want that and while it is easy enough to change the homepage of Internet Explorer to another website or sites, it may not be clear how this is done correctly or at all.
Besides options to change the homepage, there is also an option to load the last session instead. If selected, all tabs that were open last time are opened again.
While that removes one option to display the homepage, it is always possible to load it with a click on the home icon in the browser's address bar or by loading about:home directly.
There are two distinct methods that you can use from within Internet Explorer to modify the homepage.
Methods 1: The home button
The first method uses the home button to modify the homepage. A left-click on the button loads the current homepage configuration. A right-click on the other hand provides you with options to change what is being loaded when you click on the home button.
You need to select the "add or change home page" option from the context menu. This displays a menu with the following options:
- Use this webpage as your only home page.
- Add this webpage to your home page tabs.
- Use the current tab set as your home page.
The third option is only displays if you have at least two tabs open.
The first option makes the active tab, that is the tab that is open when you right-click on the home button the new homepage of Internet Explorer.
The second option adds the active tab to the list of available webpages that are already listed as homepages, and the third option makes all open tabs in the browser window the new homepage.
Method 2: Internet Options
The second method uses the Internet Options. The easiest way to open those is to press Alt on the keyboard, and select Tools > Internet Options.
Here you find the general tab which not only lists the current home pages of the browser, but also what the browser loads during startup.
You can add one or multiple urls to the home page field. Just make sure that you add one per line and hit return afterwards. Instead of adding the home pages this way, you can also select one of the use buttons underneath.
- Use current will make the active tab the new home page.
- Use default will reset the home page.
- Use new tab displays the browser's new tab page instead (about:tabs)
Below that are the browser's startup options. It is set to load the home page by default. You can change that to load the tabs from the last session though if you prefer that.
Bonus method: Using the Registry
If you cannot modify Internet Explorer's start page in the browser directly, you can use the Windows Registry to do so instead.
Here is what you need to do:
- Tap on Windows-R to open a run box on the system.
- Type regedit and hit the enter key.
- Confirm the UAC prompt if it appears.
- Use the folder structure on the left to go to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
- Locate Start Page here and double-click the entry.
- Replace the value data with the new url.
You can change, remove or add additional urls as well. The key that is being used is Secondary Start Pages. You can add urls here separated by a blank. If the key does not exist, create it either directly in the Registry with a right-click on the Main folder on the left and the selection of New > String Value from the context menu, or directly in Internet Explorer.