I've just finished building a new website, but for the past few days I've been battling with getting IE7 and IE8 to react in a way that matches virtually all other tabbed browsers.

The problem is that when wanting to open a new web page from a link (as in setting target as _blank), all other browsers open the page in a new tab and changes focus to that tab (it opens!). Pretty simple stuff and something we all encounter everyday.

But Internet Explorer likes to do things differently!!! The default setting is to not open a new tab, but to open a new instance of IE and load the linked page to that. Strange behaviour considering the browser has tabs!

Looking at the settings, it is possible to change the default to open a new tab. The problem is, that when you want to have multiple open windows by design, the only real way to achieve that is to get the user to change those settings, which is not an option. Running a script to make the change just triggers security alarms, so that's not an option.

Even more curious is that it is possible to turn on or off the Tabs option, and with tabs turned off, the browser acts like its non-tab predecessors and opens a new instance of IE. However, when tabs is turned on, the behaviour is the same - new window, not new tab. Now, I'm not a browser designer, but if tabs are enabled, shouldn't the default be to load new pages into a tab?

The upshot of this is that the whole site needs to be re-jigged to take account of this anomaly.

If anyone wants to change that behaviour, open IE, click on Tools, Internet Options and then under the General tab, find Tabs and click on Settings. That'll open the following window...

Change the settings to those shown and click on OK.

As I said previously, this is the default behaviour for Chrome, Opera, Firefox, etc.