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IE9: How to Turn Any Website into a Web Application

Internet Explorer 9 takes a page out of Google Chrome’s book and allows you to turn websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and others into their own web application. It does this by creating a site specific browser that transforms the site into a standalone web app that will be unaffected by actions that take place in the regular IE9 window.

1. Open Internet Explorer 9.

2. Browse to the desired site that you wish to turn into a web application.

3. Click the Tools icon (the gear) on the far right side of the toolbar (or use the keyboard command, Alt+x). Mouseover File and select Add site to Start menu.

4. When the Add site to Start Menu box appears, click the Add button.

5. The browser window will quickly disappear and reappear. When it comes back, you will notice the site’s favicon is displayed on the far left side of the toolbar and that the Back and Forward buttons have changed colors so that they better match the color of the favicon.

6. You can now access the web app that you’ve created by clicking the Orb (Start button), selecting All Programs and then selecting it from the list of applications. If you wish to pin it to your Taskbar, go to the associated icon for the web app browser in the Taskbar, right-click it and select Pin this program to taskbar.

7. Some sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, have icons that work well for viewing in the taskbar, but most will only show a small icon that looks out of place. Go to and search for an ico (icon file) for your application. Once you’ve found one, save it to a safe place such as an icons folder in your Documents library.

8. Go back to the Web apps icon in the Taskbar. Right-click the icon and then right-click the site name from the list. Select Properties.

9. When the Properties window appears, click the Change Icon button.

10. Click the Browse button and go to the location that you saved your new icon.

11. Select the icon and click the Open button.

12. Click OK to close the Change Icon window and again to close the Properties window.

13. The icon will be changed in both your Taskbar and in the IE9 toolbar. If you have chosen an icon that was a different color than the original, your Back and Forward buttons will not be changed yet, simply restart the web app to see the color change.

A bonus for Windows 7 users is that right-clicking the web app’s Taskbar icon will give you a jump list of site specific options. Here’s what the jump lists look like for Twitter and Facebook:

Rob Rogers
Rob Rogers
Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.


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