More about Advanced Settings in Internet Explorer 8
SmartScreen Filter is one of the advantages of Internet Explorer 8. The filter studies websites you visit and reports or blocks you from accessing sites that may damage your computer or steal your data. A useful feature, you can turn on the SmartScreen Filter from the Tools menu (Fig 3 and Fig 4). However, when you turn on the SmartScreen, it slows down your browsing speed. I would recommend keeping it off and using a third party software instead. There is Comodo Verification Engine available as a free download that runs on most browsers. You may also use McAfee's Site Advisor.
Compatibility View Settings help you browse through websites that are not compatible with IE8. Websites that are not fully compatible with IE8 are shown with an icon against the address bar. The icon resembles a torn page. You can click the icon to run IE8 in compatibility mode or use Tools menu -> Compatibility. You can also add certain websites to automatically run in compatibility mode using the Compatibility View Settings option in the Tools menu.
Most of the clutter is found in the form of Internet Explorer 8 Add-ons and Extensions. Almost every program that you install adds another component or IE helper to your browser. This often creates crashes in addition to slowing the functioning of Internet Explorer 8. To look at what all extensions, add-ons, and search accelerators are present, use the Manage Add-ons in the Tools menu.
Before coming to that, I would like to mention the Developer Tools in the Tools menu. This option is useful for website designers who can view and edit the code in real time. The method is to load the offline page and press F12 or select the option from Tools menu. You can see the code of the page. Once you edit and save it, you can check out the new format of your webpage. This also serves as a good source for learning. But since it is meant only for developers, I would have preferred it as a separate add-on instead of integrating it in the IE8 itself. The percent of people using the Developer Tool option is quite low as very few people go for it. Most of IE8 users are general users who know nothing about website development.
Coming back to Add-ons, the default ones you can see when you select Manage Add-ons in the Tools menu are blog, email, translate, and many others (See Fig 5). These are meant to help you quickly send a webpage or selection to your blog or email the page. Among others are Discuss and Research – meant for uploading files for further discussion and researching. If you select some portion of the webpage and right click, you will see the accelerators and add-ons active. Click on Email via … (… is your default email provider). If it is Windows Live, you will be taken to your Hotmail or MSN account so that you can compose and send the portion as attachment. You can also send the material in content of the email. The default search provider can be changed here. You can search, add, and remove these add-ons as per your wish.
However, you will not be using all of these Internet Explorer 8 accelerators. I recommend that you keep them to minimum to avoid crashes and slow functioning of the IE8. To disable or remove the accelerators, select the accelerator (add-on) and click Disable or Remove. To add an accelerator, look at the bottom-left corner of Manage Add-ons dialog. You will find a link that takes you to a page that helps in adding accelerators to Internet Explorer 8.
These are the most important advanced settings in Internet Explorer 8 that affect your browsing experience. Others are common---fonts, colors, etc.---customizable through the Internet Options, accessible from both Tools menu and Control Panel.