by April 1, 1999 0 comments

There’s so much to browse and so little bandwidth. So
what do you do for faster browsing? You go offline. You’ll still need your modem and
Internet connection but with this little trick you’ll be zooming your way through the
Internet and will even save on telephone and connection costs.

There are two ways you can browse offline. One is through
your browser, and the other is to use a software utility. Both Internet Explorer and
Netscape have offline browsing options.

All browsers save the files you browse in a temporary
folder. IE 4 saves the pages you’ve visited in a temporary Internet Files folder in
the Windows directory. These files are kept there so you don’t have to download them
every time. You can access them even when you’re offline. In IE 4, you can enable
this by selecting the "Work Offline" from the File menu. Now you can type in a
URL that you’ve already visited, and its contents will be picked up and displayed
from this folder. You can also pick up a URL from the drop-down menu where you type it. If
you haven’t already visited a link or it’s not stored in visited links,
you’ll get a prompt to connect to the Net.

You can also adjust the space available for the temporary
Internet files folder. This preserves a percentage of your hard disk space for storing the
files. So if you have a lot of free disk space and you browse frequently, you can increase
the percentage. Otherwise, leave it to the default value or reduce it if you really need
space. To vary the space, click on View>Internet Options. Locate "Temporary
Internet Files" and click on "Settings". You can adjust the space available
from the slide rule here.

Offline browsing in Netscape is pretty much the same as in
IE. To work offline, click on File>Offline and select "Work Offline" from the
pop up menu. Alternatively, you can click the connection icon on the bottom left of the
browser window. Here too you can increase the memory cache and the disk cache to store
more Internet content. For this, go to Edit>Preferences and click "Advan-ced"
in category tree. Select cache from the options and make the necessary changes.

Though offline browsing in Web browsers is great, it has
its limitations. As you connect to the Internet, older files keep getting replaced with
newer ones. Therefore, the content is not really stable. Suppose you want to preserve the
content of a particular Website. There is some great reference material that you have
pounced upon, but that is taking ages to appear on the Web, only to be lost later. How do
you store it for viewing later? This is where utilities like Teleport Pro, Web Leech or
Web Snake come into picture. These utilities let you download complete Websites onto your
local hard disk in the same directory structure as they’re lying on their servers.
You can even update the content of these sites straight to your hard disk.

These utilities come in handy if you want to go to those
multimedia-heavy sites that take ages to show on your browser. These utilities download
sites much faster than the time it takes to open them directly on your Web browser. They
usually use multiple threads to download more content simultaneously. You can find a list
of popular offline browsers and download them from http://ipw.internet.com/offline/ind-ex.html.
  A note of caution: Whacking Websites is addictive. And if you’re not careful,
it won’t be long before your huge hard disk runs out of space.

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