30 Hardware and Windows Tips in 30 Days Tip 20: Grab the Web Your Way, Part 1
All too often, web pages are here today and gone tomorrow. Learn how to save your favorite pages before they disappear.Ever try to go back to a favorite web page only to discover that a website redesign has sent you to the unhappy land of '404' (file not found)? Or discover that your favorite websites are database-driven and constantly change, so the odds of getting back to your favorite page are somewhere between slim and none - and slim just left town? It's time to learn how to beat the system and grab your favorite pages to your system the first time you see them.
For Easy Web Archiving, Think IE+MHTThe obvious way to grab your favorite pages is to use your web browser's Save As option. However, the browser you use affects the file formats you can use to save a web page. With any web browser, you can save your page as either a complete page (including graphics) or save only the HTML (no graphics). The complete page option creates a folder for graphics, and saves page elements as separate files. It works well if you need only a few pages, but if you'd like to grab a lot of web pages, you'll have a lot of files to manage after awhile. Want an easier way? One of the reasons I prefer Internet Explorer is its ability to save an entire page, including graphics, as a single web archive (.MHT) file. Although some web sites block any attempt to save a page in either MHT or HTML formats, I've used the save to MHT method to accumulate an impressive library of information. But, what can you do to grab your page when you see the "This web page cannot be saved" message? "Print" it.
How to "Print" Your Page Without a Printer
Even if you can't save a web page, you can print it - and you don't need to insert a single sheet of paper to do it. PDF creation programs, Windows Vista's XPS writer, and some screen capture programs use virtual printer drivers that can be selected from your web browser's Printer menu. I've used several different PDF printer drivers to create PDF files, including those provided by Adobe Acrobat and Nuance's PDF Creator Professional.
Now that you know how to grab your favorite pages, you may want to go through your bookmarks and favorites lists and build your personal web page library. Next time, I'll help you figure out what to do if you can't find your favorite pages anymore.