The default search in MS IE8 (and 9) is Bing of Microsoft. How do I change
that? On one of my computers, I can click on the search engine that I want to use for that search. How do I get all of them to use Google or Bing? Can I add also more options like Wikipedia?
It’s really no surprise that Microsoft’s Bing is the default search provider
for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. And, to be fair, Bing’s not that bad of a
Unfortunately, Bing’s garnered a bad reputation with some people by virtue of
what I’ll simply call over-aggressive marketing. Many people found themselves
with Bing as their search engine, their home page, and sometimes even more – and
all of it quite resistant to change.
Even when it doesn’t though, you may find yourself wanting to change the
search engine used by Internet Explorer, or even simply add an additional
search engine to those that are easily available.
Using IE’s built-in search
Many people don’t realize that search is built into Internet Explorer. Rather than visiting google.com, bing.com, or any of a number of other search engine websites, you can simply type your search term into the appropriate field in Internet Explorer and press Return on your keyboard to perform a search.
In Internet Explorer 8, that’s a separate entry box, typically to the right of the address field:
IE9 does away with the search box and simply lets you type your search terms directly into the address bar:
Regardless of which you use, enter the terms that you want to search on and press Enter on your keyboard; IE sends those terms to the default search engine that it’s been configured to use.
And, by default, that’s Bing.
Adding another search provider
At the right of the search box or at the right end of the address bar is a magnifying glass icon indicating search and a downward pointing triangle indicating that there’s a drop-down menu. Click that triangle.
In IE9, you’ll get a menu including several options. At the bottom will be a list of all currently installed search providers and a button labeled “Add”.
In IE8, the menu will look different, but near the bottom will be a “Find More Providers…” link.
Click either Add or Find More Providers… depending on your version of Internet Explorer and you’ll be taken to the Internet Explorer Gallery of Add-ons.
There are many search providers. So many that we really need to use the Search function to find the one we want. Click that and search for “Google”.
As you can see, there are many add-ons related to Google. Look for the one labeled “Google Search search provider”, click that, click the resulting Add to Internet Explorer button, click Add to the subsequent security dialog. (You can if you like also check “Make this my default search provider” at this time as well.)
You now have Google as one of your search providers.
In IE 9, as you type a search term into the address bar, the drop-down menu indicating available search engines is automatically displayed:
Highlighted are two icons representing the two search providers present: Bing and Google. Bing’s is highlighted because it’s the default – press Enter and that’s the search engine that will be used. On the other hand, if you click on the Google icon, then the search is performed using Google.
Changing the default search provider
As mentioned above, you can set the default search provider as you install it.
If you didn’t do that, it’s easy to change the default search provider later.
Click the Tools menu (with Internet Explorer active, press and release the ALT key to make it appear if the menu bar is not visible), click Manage Add-ons, and in the resulting dialog box, click Search Providers:
Right-click the search provider that you want to be the default and then click Set as default:
Now all of your searches will be performed using the search engine that you’ve selected.
You may notice a “Remove” entry on that menu as well. You can use this to remove any search engines that you no longer want to use. (Note that this does not affect your home page, only the search engine used when typing search terms into the address bar or search box.)
Other search engines
You asked specifically about Wikipedia. If you go back to the Internet Explorer Gallery of Add-ons and search for “Wikipedia,” one of the results could be exactly what you’re looking for:
In fact, there are many search providers, both general purpose (including a recently popular Google alternative DuckDuckGo) as well as domain specific searches like Wikipedia, local news stations, cooking sites, and even sites like Walmart.
Spend a few minutes browsing around the gallery for some idea of what you might be able to find and use.