Reopen Last Browsing Session Internet Explorer 8 By Default
I’m not a huge Internet Explorer fan. IE 8.0 is better than the unremarkable IE 7 and light years better than the virtually unusable IE 6, but, it still chock full of annoying quirks and weird Internet Explorer functions.
The latest nuisance comes courtesy of the Reopen Last Browsing Session feature, or more specifically the fact that there is no way to automatically reopen last browsing session. (Although there is a way to disable reopen last browser session if you want to do that.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m finally glad to see this functionality in Internet Explorer. It’s bad enough for your browser to crash, but it really stinks for it to erase all of those open websites you worked so hard to find.
If you haven’t used IE 8 Reopen Last Browsing Session yet, it is probably because it isn’t really all that obvious that IE even has that feature, especially if you remember trying to find something like that in earlier IE versions and came up empty. It isn’t a leap to assume that something that was missing last time is missing this time. (Click the little gear icon that means settings or functions or something, and it’s the first choice at the top.)
It does say “Restore Last Browsing Session” on the screen that appears when you open a new tab, but if you use your browser a lot, or if you use another browser, chances are, you’ve been using tabs for so long, that you didn’t see the need to read whatever Microsoft decided to add once they decided it was a feature worth copying.
Ironically, for many users, having the option on a new tab is too late. For example, I use the same feature in Firefox (which has had it for years, now) to help remind me of the things I was working on when I last shutdown my computer or browser. If I had two more sources to go through, but it was getting really late, I would just leave those two tabs open. When I started Firefox the next time, those two tabs would pop up right away and remind me to finish out the work I was doing. That keeps me from having to write down a list, or put a sticky note on my monitor, or whatever.
Internet Explorer does not restore the last browsing session by default. Microsoft says that this is because they carefully considered all the options and decided that for privacy reasons, it would be better if the last session did not automatically open when you opened IE.
That is fine with me. I can see the arguments on both sides and certainly cannot fault anyone for coming down once way or another. What is annoyingly preposterous is that there is no way for a user to customize this behavior and configure IE to do what they chose. In other words, Microsoft has decided that, not only is it better to not display the last session by default, but that users are so stupid and inferior to Microsoft’s user interface design team that we shouldn’t even be given the choice!
One more time for the cheap seats, LET ME DECIDE HOW TO USE MY SOFTWARE ON MY COMPUTER!
You see, as it turns out, I am reasonably intelligent. I can learn new things, figure things out, and yes, even use a computer that isn’t dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. I can guard my own privacy. I can use Private Mode browsing. I can delete cookies. I can delete history. I can use CCleaner. In other words, I don’t need Microsoft to be my mommy and wipe my nose and watch out for my privacy. Just give me the tools to handle it myself (like Private Browsing Mode) and then let me handle it myself.
For Microsoft to assume what the best way for my software to be configured for me is patronizing and infuriating. I know Microsoft is used to the people using its products being the non-computer savvy drones who just use whatever they have at work, or whatever comes installed on their computer by default; but if Microsoft ever wants the respect of people who actually know even a little bit about computers, then it needs to stop treating us like incompetent drooling monkeys.
Give me an about:config screen like Firefox. Put the choice behind a button that says “Advanced”. I don’t care what you do, just do something.
But don’t you dare decide what is best for me!