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Browser Slow? How to Make Internet Explorer 9 Fast Again

Have you noticed your usually speedy IE9 browser slowing down, or even crashing on you? Unnecessary plugins, extensions, and even browsing data can slow your browser down to a crawl, or make it crash. Here’s how to fix it.

Note: Internet Explorer 9 is a lot faster than previous versions and even some other browsers–in fact, you’ll sometimes be prompted to to disable an add-on that is slowing down the browser startup. Still, it’s useful to know how to clean things up on your own.

Disable and Remove Add-ons

To disable add-ons, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select Manage add-ons from the drop-down menu.

NOTE: You can also open the menu by pressing Alt + X.

01_selecting_manage_addons

The Manage Add-ons dialog box displays. There are four types of add-ons: Toolbars and Extensions, Search Providers, Accelerators, and Tracking Protection. Click on the type of add-ons you want to view from the Add-on Types list in the left pane.

You can sort the add-ons in each category by selecting an option from the Show drop-down list at the bottom of the Add-on Types pane or by clicking the column headers in the right pane.

The Toolbars and Extensions add-ons are extra toolbars added to the browser, such as the Google Toolbar and the Bing Bar, and extensions, which add functionality to the browser, such as the Paper Shredder add-on and the Official Weatherbug IE Theme. There are also Active X Controls, such as the Adobe Flash Player, and Browser Helper Objects, which are add-ons that allow IE to render additional types of data directly in the browser, such as the Adobe Acrobat add-on that allows you to open PDF files in the browser.

To disable a toolbar or extension, select the add-on from the list and click Disable.

02_disabling_a_toolbar_or_extension

In some cases, there may be related add-ons that will also be disabled and the following dialog box displays. To disable all related add-ons, make sure all the check boxes are selected and click Disable.

NOTE: You can de-select an add-on you don’t want to disable by clicking the check box so there is NO check mark in the box.

03_disable_related_addons

NOTE: You can also disable an add-on by right-clicking on it and selecting Disable from the popup menu.

04_disabling_with_right_click

If you want to remove, or uninstall, an add-on, that’s a bit more complicated. For some add-ons, there is a Disable button but no Remove button (or Remove option on the right-click menu). If there is no Remove button or option, the add-on cannot be removed from within IE. You must uninstall the add-on in the Programs and Features list in the Control Panel.

05_unable_to_remove_addon

Open the Control Panel and click the Programs category and then the Programs and Features item. If you are displaying the Control Panel items by small or large icons, click the Programs and Features item on the main Control Panel screen. Select the add-on from the list in the right pane and click Uninstall.

06_uninstall_fireshot_in_control_panel

Search Providers add-ons allow you to add different search providers to IE. Whichever search provider is selected as the default, is used to perform searches on terms entered into the address bar. Bing is, of course, the initial default search provider in IE. However, you can install other search providers, such as Google Search, and select a different default provider.

Search Providers are easy to disable or uninstall from within IE. Right-click on the search provider in the list and select Disable suggestions to disable it or Remove to uninstall it.

07_disabling_search_suggestions

Accelerators are add-ons that shorten the time it takes to do certain tasks, such as searching for an address on a map or emailing text from a webpage. To use an accelerator, select text on a webpage, right-click, and select the action from the popup menu. You can also click on the arrow button that displays just below the selection to access the Accelerators menu.

NOTE: You can also install additional Accelerators, such as Read it Later and Map with MapQuest.

07a_using_accelerators

To disable an accelerator, select it from the list and click Disable.

NOTE: You can also easily uninstall an accelerator by selecting the accelerator and clicking Remove.

08_disabling_an_accelerator

Tracking Protection add-ons allow you to subscribe to “protection lists.” These lists block items, such as third-party cookies, on webpages such as online advertising and marketing technologies that track and profile you as you browse the web.

To disable a tracking protection list, select the list name and click Disable. To remove a tracking protection list, select the list and click Remove.

NOTE: You can disable or remove a tracking protection list by right-clicking on it and selecting Disable or Remove from the popup menu.

09_disable_tracking_protection_addon

When you disable an add-on in any of the four categories, the Disable button becomes an Enable button. You can enable any add-on again by clicking the Enable button.

Delete Browsing and Download History

To delete your browsing history, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select Safety | Delete browsing history from the drop-down menu.

NOTE: You can also press Ctrl + Shift + Del to open the Delete Browsing History dialog box.

10_selecting_delete_browsing_history

The Delete Browsing History dialog box displays. Select the History check box so there is a check mark in the box. Click Delete.

10a_delete_browsing_history_dialog

To delete your download history, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select View downloads from the drop-down menu.

NOTE: You can also press Ctrl + J to open the View Downloads dialog box.

11_selecting_view_downloads

To delete a specific item you downloaded, move your mouse over the item in the list and click the red X in the upper, right corner of the highlighted item.

12_removing_a_download

To delete all items in the downloads list, click Clear list at the bottom of the View Downloads dialog box.

Click Close once you have deleted the desired items from the list.

13_clearing_entire_list

Delete Browsing and Download History Using an Alternate Method

You can delete your download history along with other browsing data from the Delete Browsing History dialog box as well.  The Delete Browsing History dialog box can also be accessed by clicking the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and selecting Internet Options from the drop-down menu.

14_selecting_internet_options

On the General tab on the Internet Options dialog box, click Delete in the Browsing history section.

15_clicking_delete_under_browsing_history

On the Delete Browsing History dialog box, click the check box for each type of browsing data you want to delete.

In addition to deleting browsing history and download history, you can also delete cookies stored on your computer and your browser’s cache. The cache stores information about webpages you visit so they’ll load more quickly in the future. To clear your cache, select Temporary Internet Files on the Delete Browsing History dialog box. To completely clear the cache, be sure you uncheck the Preserve Favorites website data check box.

Click Delete once you have made your selections.

16_deleting_temporary_internet_files

Automatically Delete Browsing History When You Close IE9

You can choose to have IE9 automatically delete your browsing history every time you close it. To do this, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select Internet Options from the drop-down menu.

On the General tab on the Internet Options dialog box, select the Delete browsing history on exit check box so there is a check mark in the box.

17_selecting_delete_browsing_history_on_exit

You can also tell IE9 for how many days you want it to save your browsing history. To do this, click Settings in the Browsing history section.

18_clicking_settings_under_browsing_history

If you don’t want IE9 to save any browsing history in the future, enter “0” (without the quotes) in the Days to keep pages in history edit box on the Temporary Internet Files and History Settings dialog box. This takes effect for any future webpages you visit. To delete any previous browsing history, follow the steps we outlined above.

You can also specify when IE9 should check for newer versions of pages stored in its cache, how much disk space to use for the cache, and where to store the cache. Once you’ve made your selections, click OK to close the dialog box.

19_days_to_keep_pages_in_history

You can also delete the Temporary Internet Files when you close IE9. To do this, click the Advanced tab on the Internet Options dialog box. Scroll down until you find the Security section in the Settings list. Select the Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed check box so there is a check mark in the box.

Click OK when you have made all your changes to close the Internet Options dialog box.

20_empty_temp_internet_files_on_exit

Enjoy speedier browsing with IE9!

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 08/7/12

Comments (12)

  1. ti
  2. ti

    Are you guys ever going to implement Disqus comments or anything?

  3. Sy

    Or just download a proper browser?

  4. SatoMew

    @Sy, stop trolling. Internet Explorer 9 is the complete opposite of Internet Explorer 6, which means it’s very good. While they should rebuild the extensibility system to be similar to other browsers in terms of ease of use, Internet Explorer is now a very solid browser.

  5. George Richard

    If you use several browsers, do you have to do those tasks in each browser?

  6. r

    just make it faster by installing Waterfox

  7. k.

    Peopl still use internet explorer?

  8. k.

    People still use internet explorer?

  9. spike

    @k. – ask any webmaster. the answer: tons of people.

  10. Cass

    HTG
    Next time you do an IE feature you might want to publicize the following piece of information.

    At some time in every IE user’s life IE will suddenly and for no reason stop saving your history. This can be devastating if you use History a lot. Just try searchong the internet for people who are searching for an answer to this and you’ll see what I mean – and none of them get an answer. The answer is nowhere to be found except here, and it’s simple.
    Go to Control Panel and select Indexing Options/Advanced and hit the rebuild button to rebuild the Windows search index. While this is rebuilding you may as well go shopping – it takes a while but afterwards your IE history works perfectly.

  11. EroticCityLife

    Don’t use IE. I prefer Chrome or Firefox. Works faster.

  12. BillB

    I use nothing but MS sw and all its tools. I have never found any third party sw to be worth the effort to dl and instl. Microsoft code is the same code in all third party sw except the bend it to look like something special. You pay for nothing !

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