Use Windows Calculator to Access the Web

Open a web browser in NotepadIf you’re reading this, then presumably you’re either viewing the post in a browser window or an email program via the free updates service, but how would you get your regular fix of Sciencetext, or MajorGeeks for that matter, if you didn’t have access to your email or the machine on which you’re working has barred web browsers?

Well, if you’re lucky enough to be on a Windows machine, even if it is without Internet Explorer and no option to install Firefox or Opera, you can still open a web browser window thanks to the built in functionality of the operating system itself.

Okay, so how do you open a web browser on a machine with no accessible web browser? It’s simple and takes just three steps:

  1. Open Windows Calculator, Notepad, or Paint
  2. Hit F1 to open help and click the top-left “query” icon
  3. Click the phrase “Jump to URL…” and type in the full address with http:// and hit the enter key

Or you could type “C:\%windir%\hh.exe” (change the OS path (%windir%) to Windows, WinNT, or whatever it is on your machine, as necessary; without the quotes) or use that in the Start – Windows – Run box. I suspect none of this is possible on Microsoft’s OS downgrade, Vista.

Open browser
This should fire up a limited version of Internet Explorer and allow you to surf the web to your heart’s content. Your mileage may vary depending on how smart your IT department is. If web access has been blocked at the system Firewall then there is no probably no way around this problem.

Thanks to Download Squad for the original tip.

The approach is also very useful if for some reason your browser has been hijacked by a rogue site. It might even be used to access Google Mail, My Yahoo, Hotmail, Orkut, Facebook, and other applications that may have been blocked for whatever reason on the machine you’re using at work, in school, or elsewhere, especially if you’ve tried to access them using a proxy.

Author: David Bradley

Freelance science journalist, author of Deceived Wisdom. Photographer and musician.