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How to Speed Up IE8

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 2/16/2010

This article will describe how to speed up Internet Explorer 8 when first launched or after installation.

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    If you find IE8 slow, you might need to modify its settings to speed up browsing and starting Internet Explorer. Below are some tweaks to use to achieve IE8's maximum performance.

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    Optimizing Internet Explorer 8

    IE8 establishes six simultaneous connections to a web page to download data (images, video, flash content, documents, etc.) at 1 to 6 times only. Increasing the connection limit for IE8 to use will let you speed up IE to browse the net. To increase the connection speed to 10, download and install Fix it 50098 from the Microsoft website. If you are familiar with using the registry editor, locate the following keys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\FEATURE_MAXCONNECTIONSPERSERVER

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\FeatureControl\FEATURE_MAXCONNECTIONSPER1_0SERVER

    In the right pane, right-click to modify the value of explorer.exe (in Vista and Windows 7) or iexplore.exe (in XP) by increasing the value data to 10.

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    Disable Unneeded Features or Add-ons in IE8

    If you don’t use the following features in the browser, disabling or turning off is recommended to speed up browsing using IE8 or loading the browser itself:

    • Feeds and Web Slices
    • Unnecessary add-ons: Sun Java Plug-in 2 SSV Helper, Windows Live Sign-in Helper, Adobe PDF Link Helper, Discuss, Research, etc are widely-use browser add-ons that are not necessary or essential to be enabled. Disabling the add-ons will not remove or affect the programs associated to it.
    • Accelerators
    • Compatibility View
    • Search Suggestions: Open Add-on Manager of IE8 > Select Search Providers > Highlight a search provider > Click Disable Suggestions
    • Automatic Configuration: Internet Options > Connections > LAN Settings. Uncheck all the boxes under Automatic Configuration
    • Third-party cookies
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    IE8 Maintenance and Updates

    Whenever we visit any website, IE8 will store files that we viewed and downloaded in temporary location. It’s best to run maintenance with IE8 by clearing the cache and deleting cookies. IE8 has a built-in browser cleaner that you can use but if you prefer third-party software, I recommend using the slim build with no toolbar installer of CCleaner.

    To prevent IE8 from storing old pages of the websites that you visited, you should change the settings of IE8 Temporary Internet Files: Internet Options > General tab > Under Browsing History, click Settings > In Check for newer version of stored pages, select Every time I visit the webpage.

    Note: Increasing the disk space use by IE8 will help speed-up browsing. The recommended setting is 50-250MB.

    Microsoft often provides free updates to fix any reported and known bugs that are causing IE to not load or function properly. You should continue to install updates for the IE browser to take advantage of reliability and cumulative updates for IE8.

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    Use Hosts File and Web Browsing Control Programs

    A third-party Hosts file is a customized Hosts file that will automatically block unwanted or unnecessary advertisements on a webpage. This will speed up IE in loading the webpage and the connection time to several websites will be reduced. You can use hpHosts or the MVPS Hosts file that is frequently updated.

    Some security tools are offering web controls to automatically block or prompt you for contents that you may not need to see or use when reading online content. An example is the Web Control feature in Outpost Firewall.

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    Guard IE8 using WinPatrol

    WinPatrol is a program that will monitor critical system areas in Windows, including Internet Explorer add-ons. Use WinPatrol to be in control of what helpers are being added or removed in the system when you install any application or while you browse. Note: Protected Mode in IE8 will also prevent installation of unwanted add-ons.