Multiple browser configurations

Q I want to set up an Internet browser for use via my standard ISP. I also want to be able to dial into my office intranet. Currently, I have to change my browser configuration in order to use the relevant proxy etc. Is there any way to configure a browser with two distinct setups, one for my ISP and one via my office proxy?

- Stephan Ball

A You don't mention which browser you're using, but I'm hoping it's Netscape Communicator! When it comes to multiple configurations, Communicator is easier to set up than Internet Explorer.

Communicator's Multi User Profile feature allows you to store separate configurations for several users. Specifically, each profile stores user preferences, history and cache files, mail and news settings, messages and bookmarks. Profiles don't offer total privacy (there's nothing to stop another user running Netscape with your profile) but they do help to prevent your preferences from being overwritten by somebody else. And since proxy settings are stored as part of the profile, it's easy to set up different profiles with alternative proxy settings. Here's how it's done:

On the Windows Start menu, choose Programs--Netscape Communicator--Utilities--User Profile Manager). Click New from the Profile Manager dialogue box to start the Profile wizard. To complete the wizard you will need to supply various details about your connection: if you intend to use Communicator to send and receive e-mail, make sure you know the name of your office (or ISP) mail server. Similarly, if you want to read newsgroups, you will need to know your news server's name. (Note: if you are creating multiple profiles for your own use, many of the details will be the same for each profile; you can check your current profile settings by choosing Edit--Preferences from within the browser.)The Profile wizard doesn't cover proxy settings, so you will need to enter these details after Communicator starts: choose Edit--Preferences, double-click Advanced and highlight Proxies. Your ISP or network administrator will tell you how these options should be configured. Once two or more profiles have been created, Netscape will prompt you to choose a profile on startup.

So much for Communicator -- how do you get Internet Explorer to perform the same trick? Well, one option would be to run the Users applet in Control Panel to set up your machine for multiple users, but that's not much of a solution -- you would need to restart Windows in order to switch between profiles. If Help Screen readers know of a more elegant solution, please share it with us.

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