Are you having performance issues with Internet Explorer? Internet Explorer is the only browser which comes pre-installed in any Windows system, whether you are using Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. I have heard several users complaining that Internet explorer is slow and hangs frequently while browsing the web.
But what most users fail to understand is that Internet Explorer can be customized for better performance and it’s really not that difficult to make Internet Explorer faster, though not as good as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
I agree that Microsoft’s own browser is not very modern and it has some drawbacks, as far as HTML5 rendering, hardware acceleration and speed of web browsing is concerned. But remember the fact that most of the Internet users are novice and they still don’t think it’s necessary to download and install a better browser on their system.
This tutorial will help you troubleshoot performance related issues of Internet explorer and fix common problems e.g Internet explorer freezes or hangs in the middle, slow response time and startup.
Always Download the Latest Version Of Internet Explorer From Windows Update
The first thing you would want to do in order to fix slow Internet Explorer is to upgrade Internet Explorer to it’s latest version. There are two ways to achieve this – either download Internet Explorer from Microsoft website or turn on automatic updates from Windows control panel.
I would suggest you to go with the second option as downloading the latest version of Internet Explorer from Windows Update will also download all the recent security patches and application upgrades (if any). This will patch your existing installation and will fix common performance issues.
To know the current version number of Internet explorer that’s installed on your system, click “Settings” and choose “About Internet Explorer”.
When you have downloaded all the necessary updates from Microsoft website, you will most likely see a new version number of IE which confirms that you have upgraded your system with the latest patches and updates and are ready to optimize it for even faster performance.
Disable Unwanted Extensions You Don’t Need
Do you really need to run Internet Explorer with dozens of add-ons and extensions? Most users don’t realize the fact that add-ons consume a lot of memory and is responsible for slow operation of the browser. If you have installed a lot of unnecessary extensions and add-ons, either disable them or remove them completely from Internet Explorer.
To do this, click “settings” and choose “manage add-ons”. In the add-on management window, select the extensions and add-ons that are no longer needed and permanently disable them.
You will have to restart the browser for the changes to take effect. I can gurantee you that disabling add-ons or using Internet explorer in extension less mode will improve it’s speed and performance.
Another advantage of turning off add-ons in Internet Explorer is that it will improve the startup time of Internet Explorer as the browser will have to perform less checks for extensions and those extensions won’t be loaded onto memory. less CPU power equals more speed!
Turn off SmartScreen Filter In Internet Explorer
SmartScreen Filter is a feature in Internet Explorer which automatically works in the background and helps you stay safe from malicious and phishing sites. There are a lot of unsafe websites on the Internet who are filled with infested trojans and malware so turning on smartscreen filter improves the security aspect of IE.
But at the same time, this feature reduces the speed of web browsing. Why?
Whenever you open a new website, the SmartScreen filter process goes to work and checks whether the requested site has malware or whether it is a phishing site or not. When the checks are complete and the target site is found to be safe, Internet Explorer continues to render the page as normally.
If you use only a few sites at work and never browse to third party sites during office hourts, consider disadbling Internet Explorer smartscreen filter. This will give you a slight performance boost and make Internet Explorer faster.
Note: Turning off SmartScreen filter is considered all right if you have been using the Internet for a while and know which sites are legitimate and which sites may contain trojans, malware or viruses. If you are a novice user, it is recommended to use Internet Explorer with SmartScreen filter turned on.
Smartscreen filter in Internet Explorer can be turned off from Settings > Safety > turn off.
Also read: Internet Explorer tips, tricks and hacks
Disable Automatic Check for RSS Feeds
If you never use the RSS feed feature of Internet Explore, there is no use to let Internet Explorer detect the RSS feed of a website and slow down the loading time for most blogs and forums.
To disable automatic checking of RSS feeds, go to windows control panel, click on Internet options and choose feed settings under the “content” tab. Next, remove the selection “automatically check feeds for updates” and restart Internet Explorer for the changes to take effect.
Latest Version Of Internet Explorer Responds Very Slowly? Downgrade and Use an Older Version Instead
This is exactly the opposite of what I suggested earlier, but sometimes you have to downgrade Internet Explorer to an older or previous version for various reasons.
If your system is 10 years old and has low RAM and CPU power, chances are that Internet explorer will respond slowly and might crash often. This is because the latest version of Internet Explorer is built and developed for Windows8 and not for Windows 98.
If you are using a very old version of Windows and have downloaded Internet Explorer 9, there is a high chance that your browser will respond very slowly.
The best solution here is to upgrade your system. If you can’t buy a new computer or upgrade your operating system, it’s advised to use an older version of Internet Explorer, uninstall the current one completely and downgrade to the earlier version.