Change user agent string without restarting IE

Discussion in 'Internet Explorer' started by Indrek Haav, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Indrek Haav

    Indrek Haav Guest

    First off, my main reason for making this suggestion is the following campaign:
    http://www.explorerdestroyer.com
    In case you're not familiar with it, it provides an easy script to either
    block or simply annoy IE users and try and get them to switch to Firefox, by
    displaying banners or splash pages. Alarmingly, more and more websites have
    started using this, as you can see yourself by doing a simple Google search:
    http://www.google.com/search?q="We+see+you're+using+Internet+Explorer"
    Their general message seems to be "Try Firefox, we think you'll like it
    better." Well I personally have tried Firefox, and I like IE better, thank
    you very much. I don't suppose I'm the only one who feels this way.

    Hence my request. The above script (and others that people have come up with
    themselves) are, to the best of my knowledge, all based on user agent
    sniffing (rather than, for instance, conditional comments). So negating them
    should be a simple matter of changing IE's user agent string to, say, that of
    Firefox. Unfortunately you'll have to restart IE before the change will take
    effect. Most people, I'd imagine, aren't willing to do that in the middle of
    their browsing. Granted, you can change the string in the registry and open a
    new IE window that'd use the new string, but that's still a nuisance and
    would also defeat the purpose of tabbed browsing.

    So my request would be, allow users to customise IE's user agent string on
    the fly, without having to restart the browser for the change to take effect.
    To make it easier to use for the not-so-tech-savvy people, several preset
    strings of major browsers and platforms should be included. As for the UI,
    the Firefox extension - http://chrispederick.com/work/useragentswitcher -
    provides an excellent example to follow.

    Oh, and being able to set any UA string to be automatically used on any site
    would be icing on the cake.

    Thanks in advance for considering it.


    PS. As a quick solution you can add "; Opera" to your user agent string to
    prevent most of the IE blocking scripts from working. This is because Opera
    (at least older versions) by default includes MSIE in its UA string, and the
    detection scripts are usually written with that in mind.
    To do this, open regedit, nagivate to
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet
    Settings\User Agent\Post Platform and add a new string value. Enter "Opera"
    as the name, you needn't enter anything as the data.
    The caveat is that this also breaks the MS newsgroups here, although they're
    not completely unusable.

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    Indrek Haav, Feb 2, 2006
    #1
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  2. Indrek Haav

    Maximilian Guest

    No, you're not the only one. I second this opinion. Tricks that Firefox
    zealot kiddies use to tick off the IE users must be countered. Yet when they
    meet IE-only sites they scream their hearts off... I do have Firefox & Opera
    installed, but they are hardly useful for anyone who manages Windows
    networks for a living.

    Some IE-based browsers already allow you to switch your UA string
    on-the-fly, in fact I think the IE browser itself should support it.

    Maximilian

    <. . .>
     
    Maximilian, Feb 3, 2006
    #2
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