Hi Dave, I am relatively new to computers and hope you can help. I am getting better at using the computer but I do have problems. This problem really gets me upset every time it happens: my computer crashes a lot and I have to reinstall windows thus loosing everything on my computer. I would like to know if there is a simple way that I can save my IE favorites folder on a disk so I won’t lose this information? Also how to put them back when I get the computer up and running again? Any help you can be will be greatly appreciated as this is a very frustrating thing for me.
Well, first of all, let me say that continual computer crashes are not normal and you should have an expert take a look at your system. You may have a virus or something that is causing these crashes. If you’re running Windows ME, that could be part of the problem, too. I’d recommend that you ensure you’re running Windows XP with SP2 installed (see my articles about SP2 for more information).
As for saving your favorites, there are several options. Depending on your version of Microsoft Internet Explorer, one might work where another one won’t. For the newer versions, you can export them directly from within MSIE:
- Select File -> Import and Export. This will start the “Import and Export” wizard.
- Select Export and the click on “next.”
- Select Favorites and click on “next.”
- In the next window you can accept the default Save Directory or choose a new one. I suggest you select “Desktop” so you can easily find the file again. Click on “next.”
- Finally, click on “finish” and your Favorites will be saved to disk.
The default file name is “bookmark.htm”: simply copy this file to a floppy disk or even email it to yourself (or both).
To Import your Favorites into a newly created version of Microsoft Internet Explorer post-crash (though I still don’t understand why your computer crashes so much!) simply run the wizard again. This time select Import and click on “next.” Browse to the saved copy of “bookmark.htm” and the wizard will replace your existing bookmarks (which are just the defaults) with the saved copy.
If you’re running an older version of IE (whatever you’re reinstalling from your installation CD), you can use a free utility program to do the same thing as above. One that I have found to be good is Bookmark Wizard.
If you’re feeling like experimenting, another option is to save your bookmarks somewhere online. There are tons of online bookmark services — just Google “online bookmark manager”. With the online option, your bookmarks aren’t stored on your computer, so if it crashes you won’t lose them. You do have to visit the site of your online bookmarks to get to them, but it is convenient in that you can access them from any computer with Internet access.
Here are a few of the most popular, though I can’t say which are better because I don’t use any of them myself:
- Pluck Web Edition
- My Yahoo (sign up for a My Yahoo account and add the bookmarks feature to your page)
The last two listed are what are called “social bookmarks”, so they are public, not private. Public bookmarks are nice if you want to see what other people who have similar interests are viewing — it’s a great way to find new sites that might specifically interest you. If you’re concerned about privacy, however, you should probably not choose a social bookmarking system, even though there’s no personally identifiable information saved on their servers.
Tommy Martin also has a nice online tutorial on how to import and export Favorites from within Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Finally, IE’s help system actually has some very useful information on how to export bookmarks too, where they note: “Exported favorites are saved as regular HTML files, so either Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator can import them. You can export a selected folder in your Favorites list, or all of your favorites. The exported favorites file is fairly small, so if you want to share the favorite items with other people, you can copy it to a floppy disk or folder on a network, or attach it to an e-mail message.”