I use Internet Explorer 9 with all the horizontal toolbars except the tab bar invisible to maximize vertical space. I have plenty of room at the side so I have the Favorites/Feeds/History panel open, usually on Favorites to replace the Favorites bar.
I’d like to customize the shortcuts in this panel to display as large icons, similar to when you set the display in Windows Explorer to Large Icons and, long shot… change the backround color. The side panel does appear to be just a Windows Explorer window but it seems immune to any kind of tampering or customization, mainly because right clicking is disabled on the empty space.
Changing browsers is not going to happen but can someone help out here?
Reverse engineering Internet Explorer is illegal; so, no, there is no way to achieve such change to the UI.
Your best bet is to check whether an add-on can access favorites and display it the way you did, as this is very custom behavior it’s unlikely to exist. Creating an add-on for whatever browser supports this the best is homework and is left as an exercise to the reader…
My first thoughts are that perhaps you might be better using a different internet browser, perhaps Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome? Not sure on your reasons for not wanting to switch, but it would seem that would be an easier solution to your problems.
To answer your question however, while IE may appear to “look” exactly the same as a Windows Explorer window, it is actually a completely separate program. As stated above by Tom, reverse engineering of patented, intellectual and copyrighted software is illegal without the prior written consent of the developer.
To my knowledge there are no existing addons for IE that support the kind of behaviour you are trying to achieve.