This isn't the real thing

Speccy Search Bar

A Spectrum Search bar for Internet Explorer (Windows), Firebird, Firefox and Mozilla browsers.

v1.7 - 24/08/05, Gerard Sweeney AKA Hackers Anonymous.


Click on the appropriate browser link:


* Mozilla/Firebird/Firefox users will need to restart their browser.

* Firefox users will need to allow this site to install software - you should see a notification at the top of this browser screen, saying "Firefox prevented this site from installing software on your computer" with a button marked "Edit options" at the right. Click that, and click "allow" next to the text box saying

* The FIRST time it is installed, Mozilla users will also require the extra step of entering (or copy/pasting) "
chrome://speccysearchbar/content/addpanel.xul" in their address bar. You can also try clicking clicking on that link (this may not work, due to security permissions on Mozilla. You may also need to have your sidebar visible when you first install SSB, and you might need to do it a few times before you see the "successfully installed" message.


A white hole ([THWACK!!] Don't start that! Ed)..

SSB started life as an Internet Explorer bar (horizontal or vertical, as of version 1.1) which will let you search various Speccy related sites either using their own search facility, or using Google. It's written in Javascript to allow (reasonably intelligent) swapping of forms, rather than loading umpteen different webpages.

Then (and now), thanks to the amazingly helpful Matthew Wilson, version 1.2 (and onwards) was able to be integrated into Mozilla and Firebird browsers on (in theory) any platform.

Currently, SSB searches:

comp.sys.sinclair (via Google Groups)
Crash Online ( - internally and via Google
Demotopia ( - internally and via Google
Lo ZX Spectrum in Italia ( - internally and via Google
MHoogle (
NVG Catalogue (
Planet Sinclair III ( - internally and via Google
Sinclair User Online ( - internally and via Google (
The Tipshop ( - internally and via Google
World Of Spectrum (including mirrors) ( - internally and via Google
World Of Spectrum discussion forums (
YSAC ( - internally and via Google
YSRNRY ( - internally and via Google

* By "internally", I mean it uses the search page the selected homepage uses.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no adware, spyware or any such nonsense in this. Quite aside from the fact I wouldn't even know where to begin writing such a thing, I consider it to be one of the lowest form of underhand desperation, and see no reason why such drivel should be inflicted on others.


Install it (Duh, gee, George. You real smart. Ed).

Um, OK... If you want the Internet Explorer version (Windows only!), you need Internet Explorer 5 or more. Microsoft have mentioned something about using this on IE4, but I've been unable to find the documentation. I'm also unsure of the demand for this. If there's enough demand, AND if someone can point me in the direction of the required documentation, I'll give it a go... Though I make no guarantees I'll get it working!

Mozilla users should be OK with version 1.5 (which is what it was initially tested on using the Win32 port) or higher. Firebird users should be OK with version 0.7 (which is what it was initially tested on using the Win32 port) or higher.


For (Windows) IE people, download and run the installer. Select whether you want a horizontal (where tooltips appears) or vertical (where Search appears) bar. Run Internet Explorer, click VIEW, EXPLORER BAR, and then SPECCY SEARCH BAR. All being fair in love and war, you should end up with a horizontal strip at the bottom of your IE window.

Mozilla/Firebird users should install the XPI (see top of page), and follow the instructions (basically clicking OK a couple of times, and then restarting their browser). Mozilla users will require the extra step of entering "
chrome://speccysearchbar/content/addpanel.xul" the first time they install it.

So that's how to get it running... Do I really need to tell you how to use a search utility? Erm, OK...

Select the site you want to search in the "On" pull-down menu, enter the text to search for in the "Search" box, and click search.

Certain sites allow you to narrow the search parameters in the pull-down menu next to the "On" one. You can also opt to search the site using Google by selecting "Use Google" in this menu.


At the moment, I can only program installers for Windows based PCs. The reason being that's what I have access to. If you have the documentation on implementing something similar to SSB on some other Windows based browser (EG Opera - which I might eventually get around to looking at!), then get in touch with the appropriate links, and I'll give it a bash.

It has been tested on Firebird and Mozilla on Linux, thanks to the generous help of various people (see below), but that's mainly through the good fortune of XPI installers (theoretically) being cross-platform.

For non-Windows platforms (EG Mac), then it would very much be a case of you volunteering yourself to do the port and installer, I'm afraid.


At the moment, SSB only searches sites which have search facilities listed on them. If you know of one which does, but it isn't listed, then by all means let me know.

Google searching (as far as I can tell) only works for proper sites, rather than ones hosted as subdirectories. So say, mybrillsite has a URL of www.bigspeccysite/mybrillsite, then Google won't find that, as it's just a sub-directory.

This is my fairly limited understanding of Google site searching. If someone knows better (and the syntax!), then please let me know, and I'll work on it.


Apologies - I'm new at this Javascript lark :-)

Email me with the specifics of your computer, and the error - in other words, the Operating System, AND the EXACT version of your browser. An email saying "I get an error on Internet Explorer 5" will get us nowhere.

I make no guarantees I'll be able to do anything about it, but I'll have a stab at it. Bear in mind, though, if you have an OS/browser combination I can't recreate, you automatically become my willing guinea pig. If I email an update, and you don't say whether it works or not, don't go complaining. Scratching of backs, etc.


No guarantees are made as to the safety of this utility - particularly the IE installer :-)

Note that for the IE version, nothing is actually REMOVED from your registry when you install it - a few registry keys are created, and some HTML added.

The method used in placing this in the Explorer Bar was documented on Microsoft's site, and has been followed as such with the exception of the removal of 2 keys:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Component Categories\{00021493-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}\Enum
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Component Categories\{00021494-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}\Enum

as I found this not to be needed on the assorted test PCs used.

This was originally written and tested on a PC running Internet Explorer 6 SP1 and Firefox 1.0.6 on Windows 2000 Pro Sp4. It has also been tested on:

Windows XP SP 2 - IE 6 and Firefox (thanks to Nick Humphries)
Windows 2000 SP2 - IE 5
Windows 2000 SP3 - IE 6
Windows 98SE IE 5.01 SP1
Windows 98SE IE 5 (thanks to Nick Humphries)
Windows 98SE IE 5.5 (thanks to Martijn van der Heide)

For Mozilla, you should be able to remove it by using the Customize Sidebar option. For Mozilla and Firebird, you can also try moving/renaming the speccysearchbar directory in your browser's chrome directory.


Sincere thanks must go to my 2 early guinea pigs for their patience, help and suggestions... They are: My Tipshop partner-in-crime Nick Humphries, and Speccy supremo Martijn van der Heide. Muchas gracias! Also extra big thanks to Martijn for the modifications made to allow SSB to search the discussion forums.

Other MASSIVE thanks go to:

Matthew Wilson for helping me with the Mozilla/Firebird installer. Without him, Mozilla was getting left out in the cold as far as SSB was concerned!

Chris Young for taking the time to modify YSAC's search utility so it could be accessed from SSB. Also for testing SSB on his Linux setup, and going to the bother of updating it in a bug-busting effort.

David Suzuki-Sanders for testing it on Firebird (for Mandrake and Win32)

Matthew Westcott for letting me know the correct syntax for's search box.

Icabod for sending me information on refinements to searching

Horace, for taking the time to modify MHoogle so that it could be accessed from SSB.


To report problems, make suggestions, or recommend a search engine to be included, then get in touch with me at Or if you'd like to create some new graphics for the IE installer, that'd be nice as the one I made up clearly shows the level of my graphical (in)ability :-)


25/12/03 - Version 1.0 (initial release)
04/01/04 - Version 1.1 - SSB can now run as either a horizontal or vertical strip; Default search for Crash Online changed; YSAC added; Fixed Demotopia's homepage; Added documentation on getting SSB to work for Firebird (tested on Windows version); Removed the test messages from the installer nobody was supposed to see [cough]
21/01/04 - Version 1.2 - SSB now available for Mozilla and Firebird as a proper sidebar; Updated the URL for YSAC
26/01/04 - Version 1.3 - Mozilla/Firebird version now installs in user's profile, rather than the global area, otherwise it only worked for root; Updated the webpage slightly to get round the link that didn't look like a link for the Mozilla/Firebird version
14/05/04 - Version 1.4 - SSB now searches NVG Catalogue (you think I'd have remembered to include it before now!
07/06/04 - Version 1.5 - SSB now searches
06/08/04 - Version 1.6 - SSB now searches World Of Spectrum discussion forums and Lo ZX Spectrum in Italia. Also updated the search system for
24/08/05 - Version 1.7 - SSB now searches MHoogle. The searching of comp.sys.sinclair via Google has been fixed to reflect the changes they've made. You can now use the alias/exact search functions on Tipshop. Due to these extra features, the horizontal strip (does anyone still use it?) is now stretched to two lines for 800x600 users.. (Personal note - Lawks, has it really been over a year since I updated SSB?!)


* For IE users - If you opt to install the horizontal version, when you previously had the vertical one installed (or vice-versa), you may find that you either have two "Speccy Search Bar" items in your Explorer Bar menu, the wrong "Speccy Search bar" item shown, and/or the most recently installed one is blank.

To get around this, you'll have to reset Windows, and it should fix itself. Sorry, but what did you expect? I got the documentation from Microsoft heheheh (so it's not your dodgy installer script, then? Ed)... Shh!

* Mozilla users may find that entering
chrome://speccysearchbar/content/addpanel.xul (or clicking on that link) the first they install it just produces a blank screen. Try entering it a few more times (just go into your address bar and hit return), or re-clicking on that URL. You SHOULD eventually get a success page. No, I don't know why this is...

* Mozilla users who previously had v1.2 installed in the GLOBAL area should remove SSB before installing the new version. (Customize Sidebar, click on Speccy Search Bar, click Remove).

* (Seen on Firefox 0.8, Win32 platform) - users who had SSB installed on Firebird/Mozilla may find that when they first run Firefox (as in, for the first time ever), it brings up an empty SSB Sidebar, but there's no mention of SSB in the Sidebar menu. To get around this, select "Bookmarks" from the Sidebar pulldown. This will get rid of the rogue SSB sidebar. You can now install SSB again.

* (Seen on Firefox 1.06, Win32 platfor) - users upgrading SSB on a Firefox installation may find that SSB appears, but it's still an out of date version (click on the ? button to view the version).. This seems to be if SSB was installed on a particular version of Firefox, where the chrome directory is located elsewhere. To get around this, do a search for Speccy_Search_Bar_v.htm in your local profile. You should find two files - one old, one newer. Simply copy the newer one over the older one, and rerun Firefox.