Some Tips for Improving the Speed of Internet Explorer and Eliminating Error Messages

By Dave Peiser

Lately I’ve run into a number of situations where Internet Explorer is very slow or error messages are displayed every time the user exits. Some IT consultants might tell you to use Mozilla Firefox and stop messing around with Microsoft’s browser, but I see that as a last resort. There are a few things worth trying to improve the situation. Here is a list of things I do when troubleshooting slowness and errors:

  1. Run a spyware scan – If you haven’t scanned for spyware lately, it is quite possible that a deviant program has made its way onto your system and is slowing things down. The best program I recommend is Spyware Doctor. Great free programs are available at Search for Lavasoft Ad Aware or Spybot Search + Destroy. One thing to note: there are a lot of programs that claim to clean up spyware but actually are spyware themselves, so don’t automatically trust any vendor pushing anti-spyware software.
  2. If you’ve scanned for Spyware and things are still slow, disable all the Internet Explorer “Add-Ons” and see if this makes a difference. “Add-Ons” are small programs that run every time you use Internet Explorer, and they typically have something to do with bigger programs you’ve loaded on your system like Adobe Acrobat, a search program or antivirus program. You disable them by opening Internet Explorer and clicking on “Tools”. Then select “Manage Add-Ons”. Then “Enable or Disable Add-ons”. One by one, select an Add-On by clicking on it, and then click on Disable. Do this for all the add-ons and click OK. Close Internet Explorer and re-open it and see if this made a difference. If it did, then one-by-one, enable the add-ins until you figure out which one is causing problems. Or, just leave them all disabled, if nothing is missing that you care about.
  3. One culprit of late with Internet Explorer issues has been Adobe Acrobat. I’ve worked on several situations (including my own computer) where Acrobat caused error messages to occur when using Internet Explorer. This especially seemed to be caused when two versions of Acrobat were installed – both the free Acrobat Reader and a version that allows you to create PDFs (Standard or Pro). The solution is to uninstall all versions of Adobe Acrobat, confirm no Acrobat Add-ons are still in Internet Explorer, and then reinstall just one version of Acrobat.
  4. Another culprit is the Google Toolbar. I now have worked on two systems that had significant increases in speed with Internet Explorer after uninstalling the Google Toolbar. One system that was taking 30 seconds to load Internet Explorer was improved to a 1-2 second load. Amazing! Now, I don’t necessarily want to pick on Google. Other toolbars might do the same thing. I just haven’t had the chance to test this with other toolbars.

That’s my list. Please let me know if you have any suggestions to add to the list. (Click “comments” below this posting to make suggestions).