Quickly Search the Web

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Windows Client OS with 0 Comments

How can I quickly search the web from my web browser?

Searching the web for specific articles, sites and links can be quite tiresome as you go from one search engine to another. If you make a habit of always using the same search engine, be it Google, MSN Search, Yahoo! or any other site, here is a tip that will allow you to quickly and easily perform the search from Internet Explorer’s address bar.

After getting acquainted with this method you will no longer need to open the search engine’s website prior to performing the search, thus enabling you to perform the search much quicker and with less mouse clicks.

Sure, many search engines have their own customized search toolbar (such as Google’s Toolbar, Yahoo’s Toolbar and others). These toolbars have some great features such as Pop-up blockers, quick search links and so on. I use Google’s Toolbar myself, but for quick web searches I still prefer the method outlined in this article.

Even if you don’t use the same search engine for each web search you make you can still use this tip and quickly perform searches on your favorite search engine with just 2-3 keyboard clicks.

The trick is performed by inserting specific keywords and search strings for each search engine into your computer’s registry.

For example, to search for the words “Daniel Petri” in Google, instead of opening a new browser window, surfing to Google’s website, and performing the search, you can now simply enter the following text in Internet Explorer’s address bar:

and after clicking on Go or pressing Enter you’ll be transferred to:

Another example, searching the same phrase in MSN Search, by typing MSN before the search string:

And a third example, or performing a search for a specific Microsoft Knowledge Base article – 240363, by typing KB before the KB article number:

To enable this tip you can follow one of the following steps. You do NOT need to perform all three, and in most cases the first method is much easier to implement.

This document contains instructions for editing the registry. If you make any error while editing the registry, you can potentially cause Windows to fail or be unable to boot, requiring you to reinstall Windows. Edit the registry at your own risk. Always back up the registry before making any changes. If you do not feel comfortable editing the registry, do not attempt these instructions. Instead, seek the help of a trained computer specialist.

Method #1

To configure this tweak do the following:

  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Locate the following key in the registry:

  1. Right-click the SearchUrl key and click New > Key.

  1. The name of the new key will be the text you type before the string you want to search for. For example, for a Google shortcut – type ggl as the key name. Here are the shortcuts I use:

Google – ggl

Google Image Search – img

MSN Search – msn

AltaVista – av

Microsoft KB articles – kb

Microsoft Site Word Search – kbw

Microsoft Security Bulletins – ms

Yahoo – yh

EventID.net – evt (thanks to reader Símun D. Simonsen)

Morfix Hebrew Translation – trans

and so on. You can use your own shortcuts, and if you have nice ones please send them over so I can update this page .

Repeat the process of building new keys under the SearchUrl key and give them the appropriate name.

  1. Click the ggl sub key. In the right pane double-click the Default value, and then enter the following value:

Use the following strings for the other sub keys:


Google Image Search:

MSN Search:


Microsoft KB articles:

Microsoft Site Word Search:

Microsoft Security Bulletins:



Morfix Hebrew Translation:

  1. Close the registry editor.
  2. No reboot is required.

You can also download this Registry Hack, unzip it and double click it. It will add all of the above keys to your registry.

Method #2

You can use the Internet Explorer 5 Quick Search Web Accessory, which is a part of the Web Accessories for Internet Explorer 5. Download the whole package (which is quite small – only 134kb) and install it. Although MS says it’s not designed for IE6, it will work on IE6 with no known problems.

After installing the package you’ll have a new Quick Search shortcut in the Links folder in your Favorites. Running the tool will enable you to customize your own search strings. Add a new search string and use Method #1 to set it up.

Method #3

You can also use the Microsoft Tweak UI PowerToy. Tweak UI from Microsoft. Tweak UI is a PowerToy that gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.

One of the options provided in Tweak UI is to modify the quick search strings, much like the Quick Search Web Accessory described in method #2.

Related articles

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