Saturday, September 1, 2012

How to change your user agent in IE8 and IE9

A few weeks ago, I did a tutorial about how to change your user agent in Google Chrome/Chromium. That tutorial was very informative imo, and this time around I am going to cover how to change your user agent in Internet Explorer 8 and 9. Be careful to not interchange user agent with the rendering engine, though. You can change the rendering engine version in the F12 inspection tools at the top right.

There is no easy way to change IE's user agent, so I found this extension/add on that does the job for you. Otherwise you would have to fool around with the Windows Registry via regedit, and who wants to do that? Certainly not me, and if you do something wrong you could seriously damage your computer.

The app I found is called Bayden UAPick. You can see the website for that page by clicking here.

Bayden UAPick is a very lightweight app that allows you to change IE's user agent. It is so small that it is ~150 KB. Pretty much all you have to do is click the download link, then click run when you get the download prompt. The application is signed. As soon as you run the application, you get a message that says that the UAPick options will be under the classic Tools menu in IE. You will have to restart your browser. Before I get too far, here is a sample image of selecting a user agent. I'll also have mine inserted below (which makes this a tutorial/review).
You can also add a toolbar button for UAPick, and that is shown below.
Once you restart IE, you can see the UA Pick option from the tools menu. Here is a shot I took, shown at the right.

Did I mention that you can even change your user agent to search engine bots? A good example to use this is sites that require you to log in to view content, but allow search engine bots such as Googlebot to pass right though without logging in. Now, I don't know what site you could use this on, but you are responsible for what you do. Don't blame me if you get caught or anything happens.

And just for a note, the site still has your IP address, so there. Genuine Googlebot has a list of IP addresses that it uses.

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When you click the "Set UA String" from the tools menu, you get this popup that allows you to choose from a variety of pre set user agent stings, or you can create a custom made one for one that is not listed, for example. Take a look at the following images.

The app is free, and you can distrubute it freely as long as you don't modify it, per the user agreement (which is about two sentences long). If you have trouble downloading the file from the website linked above, let me know and I'll host a EXE myself. If this tutorial has helped you, please let me know of your thoughts in the comments below.