Having a complete backup copy of your Favorites can turn a disaster into a mere annoyance.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983

How to save your Web-site Favorites

July 18, 2001

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2001, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2001, The Syracuse Newspapers

   I like the way Internet Explorer stores shortcuts to Web pages as Favorites. They're easy to create and don't take much time to change. You can click your right mouse button on any Favorite in the list that pops open when you click the "Favorites" menu and copy, rename or delete it, to give just one example of how simple this can be.
   Equally simple is the way Internet Explorer "exports" Favorites. "Export," in the way it's used here, is a word that means sending Favorites to a location they're not normally stored in. By using the export function, you can send your Favorites to your sister-in-law by e-mail or you can put them on a floppy disk to take to another computer.
   Exporting your Favorites is a great way of making backup copies, too. Windows is notorious for misbehaving when you least expect it, so having a complete list of your Favorites on another hard drive, on a floppy disk or on an e-mail server somewhere can turn a disaster into a mere annoyance.
   Here's now to do it using Internet Explorer 5.5. (Earlier versions might work the same way, but if you do have an earlier version, I suggest you upgrade to 5.5 at the Windows Update site. There's no cost.)
   To save your Favorites:
   Run Internet Explorer. Click the "File" menu. Click "Import and Export." Click the "Next" button and click on "Export Favorites." Then click "Next."
   You'll see a list of the folders contained within your Favorites. Click once on the "Favorites" folder at the top to save all your Favorites or click one of the subfolders if you want to limit what you save. (My advice: Save all your Favorites. The ones you skip might well be the ones you need.)
   Click "Next" and then click "Next" again. If you don't get an error message, your Favorites will be saved in a single file in the folder called "My Documents." (If your Windows PC does not have a "My Documents" folder, Internet Explorer will save the file somewhere else. Export them again and stop at the last screen to see the actual location of the file in that case.)
   To view your saved Favorites, open the "My Documents" folder and look for an Internet Explorer file called "bookmark." (It should have a blue "e" on it to show that it's an Internet Explorer file.)
   You'll notice that your Favorites show up not as separate items but as links in a single Web page. Clicking once on any link opens that page in Internet Explorer.
   Because the saved (or "exported") version of your Favorites is a single Web page, it's easy to send to someone else by e-mail. Use the attachment method. In most modern e-mail programs you can attach a file, either by using a menu item or by dragging the file onto the window of an unsent e-mail letter.
   In many cases you can even select all the text in your Favorites page, then copy it and paste it into a letter. Use Ctrl-A to select all the text, then press Ctrl-C to copy it. Click once inside the letter you want to send and press Ctrl-V to paste the text in. Chances are the links will all show up in the letter.
   Next week: How to restore Favorites you've saved. Stay tuned.