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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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What’s this “View Source” gibberish?

The "gibberish" seen when choosing View Source in a Web browser.Q: Page 158 in Windows Vista for Dummies shows Internet Explorer’s Page button. When I press the Page button and choose View Source from the menu, an enormous amount of gibberish appears. Why can’t I delete that?

A: When you open Internet Explorer, click the Page button, and choose View Source from the drop-down menu, the browser shows you exactly what the current Web page sends to your computer: a bunch of special coding called “HTML” that your computer interprets to arrange the text and graphics onto the Web page.

It looks like gibberish because it’s written mostly for computers to understand, not people. In fact, most programmers don’t even read it; that code is spat out by programs designed for editing Web pages.

You can’t delete that information mainly because Internet Explorer won’t let you: The View Source page only lets you *view* that gibberish, not change it or delete it.

To get rid of the View Source page, treat it like any other window or page: Click the X in its upper right corner. Your browser will return to showing you the page, not its underpinnings.

So, why is the View Source page there at all? It serves as an easy way to examine a Web site’s building blocks, much the way an architect examines floor plans for a house. Web designers can see exactly how a Web page was built, from the ground up, examining particularly interesting bits of code to use as an inspiration when designing their own creations.

It also helps Web designers troubleshoot problems when something goes wrong with the way a browser displays their handiwork.

Unless you’re a Web designer or computer techie, the View Source option can be safely ignored.

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