Quero Toolbar IE add-on

I have posted a tutorial in the forum how to add the W3C validator and a PageRank query to Quero.

Executive summary: limited time to work on the project, experimental version for IE9 released, after upgrading go to Quero > Options > Appearance: enable IE navigation bar, disable IE9 address box / navigation buttons.

Quero Toolbar in IE9

Hi, I would like to post a status update about Quero, since IE9 Beta was released on September 15th 2010. I received several emails asking me about the current state of the project.

I made some personal changes last year. I moved away from my previous developing/research job in IT to begin something completeley new in the space of fashion and art :)

Since Quero has always been more or less a spare time (night) and research project for me, I have now only limited time to devote to it, and regarding the recent race (war) in Web browser development, I thought it was wise to move forward and to focus on my new project.

Additionally, I am quite impressed about IE9, what I have seen so far, Internet Explorer has advanced a great step forward, including full standard support (for html5, css3, svg, canvas, video), full hardware acceleration and a completely new, fast JavaScript engine.

Finally, IE has now adopted, what Quero did for the last six years, combining the address and search box into ONE box, a logical and highly anticipated step in my opinion :)

Also advertising has changed: not all commercial Web sites are that bad any more, some sites such as Facebook use intelligent unobtrusive ads, others have found new forms to monetize their content, ...

However, I am very glad to announce that I found a way to make Quero compatible with IE9 Beta 1 with the following update:

Quero Toolbar 5.1 released

  • experimental support for IE9 Beta added
  • after upgrading go to Quero > Options > Appearance, enable IE navigation bar, disable IE9 address box / navigation buttons.
  • new IE9-compatible Flash blocker: hides all Flash objects after the site has loaded (shortcut Ctrl+Del).

I have decided to move away from the ugly hack that was necessary to build the content and ad filter in previous versions. The code is still there, but does not work 100% in IE9 because of the new JavaScript enigne, not all script commands are filtered.

You can now (additionally) enable Hide Flash (it is now a toggle switch like the other ad blocking options). The beauty of the old/new Hide Ads approach is, that it is solely based on standardized APIs and could also be developed further to filter out other undesireable content in a Greasemonkey-style fashion. The disadvantage is that the content is downloaded first and appears on the page for a short time before it can be detected and hidden.

Developing Quero was so exciting for me. I would like to thank you for supporting me and giving encouraging feedback :) Just in case you missed the news, Quero is an open source project and can be reused, modified and improved by everyone under the GPL license.

IE9, Quero Toolbar 5.1 forum discussion

The IE team has recently published a set of new guidelines for add-on developers, which forbid for example to change the default search provider without user consent.

While it is a good thing to keep the user in control, I am afraid the guidelines may be too restrictive, because they basically do not allow to replace or enhance existing IE features any more. However, I think that there are legitimate scenarios for doing so.

I had a friendly conference call with Microsoft informing me about the new guidelines and actions I need to take in order to comply with the guidelines. I have now made two changes to the default settings and hope that the new version will be accepted by Microsoft.


  • On installation Quero does not hide the IE navigation bar any more
  • The toolbar close button is now accessible by default

I would be interested in what you think about the new guidelines and opened a discussion in the forum.

Update 2010-06-19: Version has been approved by the IE team :)

Version released

  • Fixed in Windows 7, Vista: compatibility issue with Google Toolbar 6 which crashed IE when closing a tab

I was quite occupied recently but I have two pieces of good news: First, Quero is now open source and secondly, I have also managed to build a new version.

I have thought about releasing Quero as open source since the release of version 1 five years ago but decided to stay closed source for the time being in order to keep more control over it.

Over time I also got some offers for selling the source code or bundle it with other software which I politely refused. Over the past 5 years I have learned how to write good and bad code, got acquainted with many internal Microsoft technologies (GDI, COM, Uniscribe, Windows Desktop Manager, WinINet, WinHTTP, Crypt32, ...) and also hacked Internet Explorer in order to implement dynamic JavaScript filtering and replace the navigation bar. At least for the latter the IE team has eventually provided a group policy setting which I am taking advantage of in the new release.

From a developer's stand point I understand the benefits of open source software and believe me I wished many times to have access to the source code of IE and Windows, which would have saved me from so many hours figuring things out.

I am glad releasing Quero finally as open source, which is quite a natural step for a freeware project in my opinion. You are welcome to improve the code or take it as a reference for your own add-on project. The next challenge will be to see how comaptible Quero will be with IE9 but until then I wish you hassle-free browsing with Quero.

New Features

  • Quero is now open source, licensed under the GPLv3
  • New method to hide the standard navigation bar using the NoNavBar group policy (changing the setting requires Administrator rights)
  • Extended Favicon support (favicons are now displayed in the history and search-engine drop-down list if available in the cache)
  • Support for custom search engine icons added
  • SSL certificate information is now displayed in the Quero box (box does not turn yellow any more to be more consistent with IE8)
  • Quero button is now optional, entire toolbar can be hidden if you only want to use the ad blocker
  • Added Site Search capability which allows you to search for keywords on the current Web site (Google Site Search engine added to demonstrate this feature)
  • Experimental option to hide the Favorites button added (useful for reducing the interface to just one line if tabbed browsing is turned off)
  • Optional page loading animation added (useful if tabbed browsing is turned off, requires IE7 or higher)
  • Using Explorer's blocked pop-up sound instead of own sound
  • New graphics for the home and go button
  • Discontinued development for Windows 98
  • Removed additional settings for Quick Find, it is now either on or off
  • Removed option "Set focus in search box" (functionality replaced by Quick Type)
  • Fixed: searching from the context menu did not work in pop-up windows (or if tabbed browsing was turned off)

IE8 MIX Keynote

IE8 has been released several weeks ago at the MIX Web conference. Next week the actual rollout via Windows Update will start.

You can watch the MIX keynote speeches online and there is also a nice video showing that JavaScript performance is not everything.

I have tested IE8 RTM the past few weeks and can really recommend upgrading. IE8 is faster and more secure than IE7 and has cool features such as tab coloring, standards-compliant CSS 2.1 support and a great built-in script debugger.

If you have not done already, please also update Quero to the newest version, which I optimized for IE8.

New Tab Connecting...

One complaint about IE7 or IE8 I hear often is that it takes so long to open a new tab. In fact IE can open a new tab in a fraction of a second. What slows IE down are buggy or old add-ons such as the old Java SSVHelper BHO or Java Plug-in, which were part of older Java SE installations.

I recommend taking a closer look into the Tools > Manage add-ons dialog and uninstall or disable all add-ons you do not need.

In order to solve the issue with the SSVHelper add-on, uninstall all Java Runtime Environments through the control panel. Afterwards check that all Java add-on were removed. If you need support for Java applets (some bank Web sites require Java applets) install the latest version (currently Version 6 Update 12) from java.com.

Other add-ons which are safe to disable: Research, Adobe PDF Linker Helper, Sun Java Console, Google Toolbar Helper, etc.

Tip: Set your home page and new tab page to "about:blank" to further speed up IE.

Here is my xmas present for you: a new version of Quero with IE8 support and neat new features:

  • IE8 support added
  • You can now disable the ad blocker temporarily for the current domain (shortcut Ctrl+Ins or click on the recycle bin icon in the Quero box).
  • New option added: "Show Search Terms While Searching"
  • New OpenSearch template parameters added, which can be used to build queries depending on the current URL: Quero:url, Quero:hostname and Quero:domainname.
  • New keyboard shortcut added: Ctrl+L toggles between search and navigation mode
  • New Registry setting "Keys" of type DWORD added for disabling global keyboard shortcuts used by Quero. In order to turn Ctrl+Ins off, set the value to hexadecimal "FFFDFF".
  • Win9x: included newer version of UnicoWS.dll (1.1.3790)
  • Fixed: crash on certain Web pages if the ad blocker was turned on

You can now post your comments in the new Quero Forum.

Happy holidays and a happy new year 2009!

Update 2008-12-23: fixed an issue with the XP installer, please redownload if you are using XP or 2003

Today I am celebrating the fourth birthday of Quero since the release of version 1.0 :-) In the past four years Quero kept me awake many nights fixing bugs, implementing new features and adapting to new IE and Windows versions.

I am currently finalizing the next version of Quero, which will support the new multi-process architecture of IE8, also known as LCIE (Loosely-Coupled IE).

I would like to thank all contributors who help me by their constructive feedback, suggestions, bug reports and donations.

PST 2008

I am going to Canada again and give a presentation about the ad blocking part of Quero at the Privacy, Security and Trust (PST) conference.

This time the PST conference will be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick from 1st to 3rd October 2008.

I also looking forward to making a week vacation in Canada :-)

Update 2008-10-24: The PST 2008 presentation slides are now online.