Quero Toolbar IE add-on

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.

You can now get support and share your experience with Quero in the Quero Forum.

I encourage you to ask your questions in the forum so that other users can also benefit from the answers posted there.

Of course, you can still get individual email support.

Again, I want to thank you for the great feedback you wrote me so far. See you in the forum.

Aero Glass

You may already know, that Quero is the first IE toolbar which supports both new Windows Vista themes, namely Aero Basic and Aero Glass, but how to enable the Glass effect?

While Quero automatically extends the Aero Basic background to all other toolbars, I unfortunately was not able to do the same for Aero Glass, since all other toolbars – including the Menu and Links bar – do not support Aero Glass.

In order to activate Aero Glass in Quero the following conditions have to be true:

  1. Your Vista version and graphics card have to be capable of Aero Glass and the Aero Glass theme has to be activated.
  2. You have to run the Vista version of Quero (see Quero > About).
  3. The Aero theme option has to be activated in Quero (on by default, see Quero > Options > Appearance).
  4. Due to compatibilty reasons the Quero Toolbar must be placed at the top and reside in its own line since otherwise incompatible toolbars would not be correctly rendered under Aero Glass.