The Shareware Review People


web_surface.gif (15727 bytes)

Type of Program: Web Browser Enchancement
Supported Platforms: Win 9x
Company Name: Tool Pool
Version: 1.2
Price: Free to $24.95
Installed Size: 720k ( requires Internet Explorer 4 or 5 )


I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft you are likely to meet. But I will give credit where credit is due. When Bill and the boys created Internet Explorer 4 (soon to be 5) and used an open architecture that allows for third party enhancements they really did something good. Enter WebSurfAce 1.2 from Tool Pool. It works using many of the controls and features of IE but seems like a stand alone browser. Once again leave it to someone else to come up with the features web surfers really want in a browser. What WebSurfAce does is allow you to open and view multiple web sites using a tab separated single window. This saves precious system resources by only requiring one version of the program to be running at any time instead of having to launch multiple occurrences of your memory hog browser. And it does this with a speed and efficiency that is second to none.

One of my favorite features in WS is what is called Master Mode and it is nothing short of brilliant. You set a page as a master. The icon on it's tab turns red. Any link you click on this page is automatically opened on a new tab window. If you have ever used a search engine and kept having to wait after you hit the Back button on your browser for the search results page to open again or had your browser lock-up because you had ten browser windows open and you ran out of memory then you see what a great idea this is. You set whether you want the newly opened tab to be the current tab or not. And if you see that one of the links you opened is not what you were looking for you simply right click on the tab and select the Remove tab option, even before the page has fully opened. You can also save sets of pages you regularly visit and have them opened together either at startup of WS or during your surf session.

New to this version is a Search / Favorites sidebar. It displays all of your IE favorites in a tree view on a small window on the browser's left side. You can then quickly access all of your favorite sites with a few simple clicks. The only drawback to the current version if the lack of a way to launch your default e-mail client and check your mail while you browse the web. I have sent this suggestion to the program's author and have been assured that this feature is being included in an upcoming version. I must also commend the author for the prompt personal support he has offered. I had a couple of issues with Bookmark organizer software interacting with WS and he actually downloaded the software, tried it and sent me solutions he found. That is something I will never forget because you do not see that type of personal service from software companies anymore.

If you have IE 4 or IE 5 PLEASE GIVE WS (WebSurFace) A TRY. It will change the way you browse the web forever. There is a free /advertiser supported version of the software which takes up a small portion of the screen with ads. If you can live with this the program is free. But I urge you to spend the very modest registration fee and reward an exceptional author for an exceptional achievement in software.

User Friendly:
Ease of Installation:
Support: +
Reviewed by Jeff Worley

Methods of purchasing the program: Online through available via a link on the WS homepage (VISA, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) or via mail through a printable order form also available on the website.

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