Among the internet’s most annoying features, Meta Refresh is an anachronistic relic of the past that seems to only last as a tool for black-hat website owners. Fortunately, Internet Explorer gives you the option to turn off metadata updates, both as a security measure and as a means of mitigating annoying automatic web page updates.
What is a driver update?
A meta refresh is nothing more than a short piece of HTML code that automatically reloads a web page after a certain number of seconds. This code can also redirect your browser to a new web page. The meta update code looks like this:
This particular example will redirect you to http://www.newpage.com in 5 seconds. Setting the CONTENT variable to zero will cause the page to be automatically refreshed without first loading the page.
Why is meta refreshing disabled?
In the old days of the Internet, meta-updates were used to mask content, update advertisements that were programmed to randomly load, and artificially increase hit counters to make a page look more popular than it actually was.
Some of the legitimate reasons for using meta updates include redirecting visitors to a new location on a moved website, sending users to the home page after displaying a thank you page for a short time, and forcing the viewer to refresh the page to avoid showing old content in the user’s cache.
While not particularly dangerous, meta-updates are often used by unscrupulous web page programmers to draw you to a web page using one piece of content, and then redirect you to another page with different content. Most of the major search engines, which are called the black hat technique, are smart enough not to succumb to this method of “camouflaging” web content.
There are other not-so-beneficial consequences of meta-updates. Some web content contains viruses and other security threats. Redirecting to a page with malicious content can be dangerous. While this is not a major security threat, some Internet users choose not to fall victim to the meta update and choose to disable them in IE.
How to disable Meta Refreshes in IE
Disabling meta-updates in IE is pretty easy. First, click on “Tools” “Internet Options” to open the “Internet Options” window.
Then click the Security tab and find the Custom button. Click the Custom button to open the Security Options – Internet Zone window.
In the preferences pane, scroll down to the Miscellaneous section and find the Allow META REFRESH option. In the Allow META UPDATE section, change the setting from Enable to Disable. This is it. You will no longer be annoyed by the meta updates in IE.
However, keep in mind that there are several legitimate reasons why a web page programmer might use a meta update. If your browser is not displaying content correctly or the web page is behaving strangely, you can try re-enabling meta-refresh to see if the problem is gone.