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Pocket Internet Explorer for Handheld PC Overview


Applies To:

  • Windows CE 1.0, 1.01
  • Windows CE 2.0, 2.0 SP1
  • Windows CE for Handheld PC Professional
  • Windows CE for HPC2000
  • Windows CE 4.x .net


This article discusses Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer on the Handheld PC.



Listed below are some common questions and answers to user questions regarding Windows CE and Pocket Internet Explorer

A. What is Pocket Internet Explorer
        Pocket Internet Explorer is a scaled down version of its desktop counterpart Microsoft Internet Explorer. It enables Windows CE users to access the Internet


A. Is PIE safe to use with on-line shopping
        Pocket IE for Windows CE 1.0 and 2.0 does not support 128-bit SSL and so is not recommended for eCommerce transactions. Pocket IE 3 and above can make use of 128-bit SSL and as such should be secure for on-line transactions. With the exception of Pocket IE 1.0, the Windows CE browser can make use of the following Security Protocols:

  • SSL 2.0
  • SSL 3.0
  • PCT
  • SGC (Pocket IE 3 and above only)

Handheld PC Pro users need to install the Handheld PC 128-bit SSL Update before attempting to use secure sites. See the Download Section for more details.


A. Can I share my desktops Internet connection with CE
        Yes it is possible to do this, however you may require extra software to do so. Please see the support section for more information on Proxy Servers.


A. Where can I find developer resources for Windows CE web sites
        HPC Factor offers some information on coding and scripting web pages for Windows CE. Please visit the CE Developer section for more information on these and other resources


A. What HTML tags are supported by Pocket Internet Explorer
        For a list of compatible tags please visit the CE Internet Developer section of HPC Factor - Click Here


A. Can I use MSN as my ISP
        For more information please see the Pocket Internet Explorer Support Section - Click Here

More Info

About Pocket IE

Pocket Internet Explorer is one of Windows CE's strongest selling points. The inclusion of dynamic Internet applications like Pocket IE was part of Microsoft's expansion into the mobile productivity market, starting with the idea of the Mobile Internet Ready PC. This idea was passed into the initial development stream for the first Windows CE release in late 1996, early 1997.

Developed in during the Internet Explorer 3.0 generation browser. The initial Pocket IE release was significantly cut back on that of its desktop counterpart. Supporting a full subset of HTML 1.0 and a limited feature set from HTML 2.0, Pocket Internet Explorer 1.0 (aka Pocket IE 0.5) was limited in it's functionality. Microsoft rapidly introduced an update. The new version 1.1 browser was made available to OEM's for the Platform release as well as to the consumer from the Microsoft website.

Pocket IE 1.1 held a nearly full subset of the HTML 2.0 specification, as well as supporting so called "Secure Channel" protocols, enabling safe eCommerce transactions to be made on the Internet.
Other notable inclusions in the 1.1 release were support for Cookies and the necessary Internet Cache required to support them. The ability to save web pages locally was also included via a "Save As" function.

The next Pocket IE release, version 2.0 followed in the release of Windows CE 2.0. Pocket IE 2.0 followed in the traditions of adding more support for Internet Protocols as well as improvements to the base HTML specification. Pocket IE 2.0 had full HTML 2.0 support and selective HTML 3.2 support.
PIE 2.0 added the Window resize features which allowed images to be resized as part of a process designed to force a web page to fit to the screen. Right click dialogues were added to allow navigation to new Windows as well as save image to disk or set immediately as the desktop wallpaper.
The most significant new technologies added in the 2.0 release was support for standard Frames and the ability to 'Work Off-line" is the Internet Cache was enabled.

Pocket IE 3, with it's 3 minor sub released (Windows CE 2.10, 2.11 and 2.12) further added support for Internet protocols. A much broader HTML 3.2 subset was added, as well as base support for the HTML 4.0. JScript was implemented into the browser, along with significant updates to the Secure Channel systems, allowing for upgradeable Security settings and SGC support.

Pocket IE 4, released with Handheld PC 2000 significantly improved on the support but in some respects took several steps back from the ground made in previous releases.
VBScript, HTML 4.01, CSS, JScript, the potential for Java VM applications, iFrames, native 128-bit SSL support, Secure Channel upgrades and document encoding were all added in the release.
Unfortunately the automatic image resizing was removed, as well as the Right Click menus. The operation of the cascading Favourites menu was changed making it less functional.

In Windows CE 4.x releases Microsoft clearly intended to continue with the stripping down of Mobile features from Pocket Internet Explorer. The CE Net environment provides the OEM with the choice of including the Pocket Internet Explorer 4.01 from Windows CE 3.0, with limited modifications. Or the inclusion of a reduced version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or 6.0.

Pocket Internet Explorer has been trimmed down to accommodate the H/PC and its real world uses. As a result Pocket IE only supports the following URL formats:

Protocol Support


Hypertext Transfer Protocol


Secure HTTP


File Transfer Protocol


Universal Naming Convention


You may be surprised however, at how many sites you can visit and use effectively.

One feature that would have been a blessing for Windows CE users, and which is unfortunately incompatible with the browser, is Web Mail. That's not to say that all web mail providers are incompatible with Pocket IE. The latest version of Hotmail however will not operate correctly under Pocket IE 4, and not at all under older versions.

User Information

If you plan to use the Internet you will first need to set-up a dial up networking account via remote networking. Please see the 'Remote Networking Guide' for more information on doing this.

Should you plan on opening an off-line page or file from within IE, or already have a dial-up connection set-up, open Pocket IE by tapping on the desktop icon or via the start menu. This will launch Pocket Internet Explorer.
Depending on which generation device you use, Pocket Internet Explorer will be labelled differently.

  • Windows CE 1.0 - Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer
  • Windows CE 2.0 - The Internet
  • HPC Pro / HPC2000 / CE4 - Internet Explorer
Pocket IE 1 - 2 Logo

Pocket IE 3 - 4 Logo

The default start page

Once fully loaded you will be presented with the default Pocket Internet Explorer home page. This is sourced from a file stored in ROM and you do not need to be on-line to display it. The page is very basic, as it is designed to be a perpetual advert for Microsoft. This being all well and good... at the time when the Handheld PC ruled the Windows CE Roost. Unfortunately for those of us living in the 21st century, Microsoft have once again shown their 'true' feelings towards us old school collective.

The Links content on the default start pages no longer function. In later version you will be redirected to Windows Mobiles home page or Windows CE. Otherwise you will just receive a 404 error

The image to the left contains images of the default home page for various CE versions and contains active content links for each.

All in all, the links on the default start page are of little to no use for users. HPC Factor will be providing both on-line and downloadable start pages for you device. 

Pocket IE Default Page
Pocket Internet Explorer 2.0 (hp 320lx Upgraded)


IE CE Default Page
Pocekt Internet Explorer 4.01 SP2 (hp Jornada 720)

Microsoft Windows CE PIE Tour PIE Mobile Microsoft Copyright H/PC Home Page Mobile Home Page

Setting up Pocket IE


To enter the settings menu:

  • Tap on the 'View' menu
  • Choose 'Options...'



The Appearance tab

Once the window has loaded, you will be presented with the Appearance tab. This establishes your preferences on how web pages should look and sound.

Disabling Show Pictures and Play Sounds can speed page download time up considerably. To change the options status simply tap on the adjacent check box. It is also worth while to note that the only sound format that CE can play by default are WAV files, which tend to be very large, and are seldom used by modern page designers.

Make page fit window specifies whether Pocket IE refines the pages code in order to make it fit onto the H/PC's display. Unless you are using an external display, or use a full size VGA screen on your device leaving this option on will save users from horizontal scrolling.



The Default Pages tab

In this tab you can specify what you would like Pocket IE to display as its default Home Page and Search Page. HPC Factor recommends changing your default Search Page to:
http://www.google.com/palm/ this is a search engine written specifically for use with PDA's.

To change the default Home Page:

  1. Return to Pocket Internet Explorer by tapping the OK button
  2. Navigate to, or open the page you wish to become your Home Page
  3. Return to the Default Pages tab by tapping View > Options...
  4. Tap the drop box and select Home Page
  5. Tap Use Current Page
  6. You default Home Page has been changed

To change the default Search Page:

  1. Return to Pocket Internet Explorer by tapping the OK button
  2. Navigate to, or open the page you wish to become your Search Page
  3. Return to the Default Pages tab by tapping View > Options...
  4. Tap the drop box and select Search Page
  5. Tap Use Current Page
  6. You default Search Page has been changed

To return to using the default page for the Home and Search Page items, select which option you would like to change from the drop box, and tap Use Default Page



Auto Dial tab

Here you can specify whether Pocket IE will automatically  commence communications with an established Remote Networking profile such as a Dial-Up connection or a Direct Cable connection

To enable AutoDial:

  1. Select the check box next to Use AutoDial
  2. Select which connection you would like to use from the drop box
  3. Specify whether you would like to set an Auto Disconnect time on the connection
  4. If so choose the time interval you wish it to time out after from Disconnect if idle for



Proxy Server tab

If you wish to use a proxy server to connect over a network, or to share your host PC's Internet  connection with Windows CE you must enable and configure a proxy server.

A proxy server is a program which enables a network of computers to share access to the Internet. For more information on setting up a proxy server for a network, or for sharing the desktop host PC's Internet connection.

NB: Pocket IE only supports HTTP Proxy servers. You can not use it in conjunction with a Socks proxy

To enable Proxy Server support:

Select the Use Proxy Server check box

In the settings dialogue type in your proxy servers http address (This can be an IP address or a domain address)

Type in the Port which the Proxy Server can be access on


Advanced tab

This tab allows you to set-up how Pocket IE works in the background.

You can increase security in this tab by:

Enabling or disabling Cookies. Cookies are small files that many web sites which you visit deposit on your computer. They are used to monitor user habits such as time you spend on a site and when and where you exit the site. Cookies are also used to discover information about the user and their computer. Information like, Operating System, Internet Browser, IP address and Internet Service Provider. Cookies can also be downloaded by unscrupulous web users as a way to introduce malicious code onto your computer and there for are a security risk. 

  1. To Enable Cookies, ensure that the check box is selected.

The Security Settings button displays a list of the available Security Protocols to Pocket IE. These protocols allow you to safely transmit information over the Internet so that it is increasingly difficult for others to obtain it. These systems are primarily used for On-line transactions, and sign-up processes.

Unless you have specific reason to, or are experiencing problems accessing a secure site, it is suggested you leave these settings alone

If you wish to Enable Caching, which allowing visited web pages and images to be saved in storage memory, so that if they are accessed again the page will load faster. It is suggested that in order to save storage space you select Empty cache when exiting. This will clear the cache file when you end you Pocket IE session. You can also specify what percentage of the storage memory the Internet cache can use. The higher it is, the more web pages can be stored, and accessed faster. You can also choose to empty the Internet cache manually by pressing the Empty Cache Now button.

NB: The Internet Cache files are stored in the Temporary Internet Files Directory


Making use of Pocket IE can often be a frustrating one, depending on the version of the browser that you are using you may have successes and failures, however Microsoft have tried to ensure that the page replication is as close to the creators design as possible. See Figure 3

PIE Help Page
Pocket Internet Explorer 2.0: This image is of this document as it existed when this article was originally written. ce320 was the forbearer of HPC:Factor
IE CE Help Page
Pocket Internet Explorer 4.01 SP2: The page as it currently exists in the HPC:Factor Support 1.46 document template