Display More Popular Sites on Internet Explorer 9 New Tab Page

Have you given the new Internet Explorer 9 a try yet? It is currently in public beta testing and one of the many new features it includes is a new tab page that displays your most popular 10 web pages.

IE9 New Tab

IE9's new tab page showing most popular sites

But depending on your screen resolution and window size, you might notice that there is quite a lot of empty white space that could be put to better use. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to show even more popular sites instead of just ten? Thanks to a little registry tweak, it’s possible.

Warning: This involves editing the Windows Registry. Please follow these instructions carefully. The registry is a crucial part of the system and incorrectly editing it could cause severe problems with your PC.

Start by opening up the Registry Editor by typing in regedit into the Start Menu and hitting Enter. This is per-user so no administrative privileges are required.

Navigate the Registry folders to the following entry:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\TabbedBrowsing\NewTabPage

Right click on an empty space on the right panel or on the NewTabPage folder and select New > New DWORD (32-bit) Value, as shown in the screenshot below.

Internet Explorer 9 New Tab Registry

Add a new 32-bit DWORD value

Name this new value NumRows.

Then right click on your newly created value and hit Modify. In the box for Value Data, set the number of rows of popular sites you want the new tab page to show. Each row shows 5 popular sites.

IE9 NumRows

Enter how many rows of popular sites you would like to see on the new tab page.

Click OK and then restart Internet Explorer. You should see your new changes applied immediately.

IE9 3 Tab Rows

Internet Explorer 9 with 3 rows of sites

Of course, since this is still a beta product, things might change in the final release. Maybe Microsoft will add an option to set the number of popular sites shown.

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Brian is the co-founder of TechAirlines. He is a developer currently focusing on mobile and web development. He is currently a sophomore at Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Science.

  • http://personalcomputersos.wordpress.com Bob Zenith

    These things always drive me up a wall;
    I agree that this feature is nice, it saves time and increases productivity. Why am I mad? Because although Opera has had this feature since March of 2007 (“Speed Dial”), IE9 gets all the credit.

    And this isn’t the only time this has happened… it amazes me that Opera is always the browser that comes out with great innovations, but other browsers get all the credit.

    On a side note, I can’t decide whether I hate IE9 more or less than IE8… That being said, I’m not a huge fan of Firefox 4 either.

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian Yang

      Yes, I’ve been noticing this as well. Opera was the first to get a new tab page with links to various sites, although these had to be specified manually by the user. I’m not sure who came up with the concept of automatically adding most visited sites though.

      Opera also had tabbed browsing and several other standard browser features long before the other “main” browsers.

      Opera is an excellent browser and it definitely isn’t receiving enough credit.

      Hmm Firefox seems to be the only browser that still uses a blank new tab page on a standard install w/o extensions.

  • Henrik

    Great! Thanks! It works in IE9 non beta (2011-08-20). And I think Operas way to go with manual choises i better. I feel I have little control of IE:s new tab.

  • Eitan

    Can anyone help me – I accidently removed a site from the “popular site” list. Is there a way to return it?

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian Yang

      There’s no direct way to undo the deleting. Of course, you can always try to make the site popular again by visiting it a lot.

      • Dora

        Doesn’t do anything. I removed “Google” and I go on it a gazillion times a day. Sure there’s no way to fix this?

        • http://www.techairlines.com Brian Yang

          Same here actually.

          Instead, please try deleting your browsing cache, ensuring that favorites data (the top checkbox) is removed as well. This resets everything and Google should reappear again. This seems to work for me.

  • Cheryl

    My boxes are all empty. How do I fill them with my favorite sites?

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian Yang

      They automatically fill in as you browse the web. They link to your most frequently visited sites. If you accidentally deleted them, clear your browser data (checking the box about favorites data).

  • sam

    i got a new toolbar and now when i open new tabs it doesnt show this any more how do i make it show again?

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian Yang

      So your new tab page is just blank now? Does the toolbar have an option to set a new tab page? For example, Google Toolbar usually takes over your new tab page.

      Also, check Internet Options > Tabbed Browsing Settings (in General tab) and make sure “New Tab Page” is selected to open on new tabs.

  • samantha

    I was wondering if theres a way to select 10 sites instead of being your most used.
    Id rather pick my 10 favourite sites and not have anything come up due to usage in history, can i do this?

  • Wildwest Computer

    Personally I’m not a fan of internet explorer 9 but this is definitely an interesting read. You do bring to light some interesting features of internet explorer 9.