Personalize IE8 through Services

One of the things that I learned from working on IE is that there are common patterns of how users browse the web, yet what they browse varies person to person.  We designed Visual Search Suggestions, Accelerators, and Web Slices to simplify common patterns with the flexibility for you to customize these features with services that you enjoy.  I want to explain how IE8 treats services and share how I personalize IE8 with my favorite services in less than 5 minutes.

Out-of-box services

We want to provide an out-of-box experience for you to easily try out the new features to IE8, Accelerators and Web Slices.  The first time you install IE8, your browser is loaded with Accelerators and Web Slices for you to get started.  You can opt-out of the out-of-box Accelerators and choose your own through the Settings Wizard or Manage Add-ons.

Existing services

IE8 respects your existing services on a version (IE7 to IE8) and build-to-build (Beta 2 to RC 1) upgrade.

Search providers were available in IE7, and IE8 keeps your previous search providers and the default setting.  IE8 also checks and updates your search providers with suggestions, so that you can start using suggestions automatically.  For instance, if you installed the Amazon search provider on IE7 and upgrade to IE8 you get results from Amazon directly from the search box:

For Accelerators and Web Slices, IE8 keeps your services and default settings on build-to-build upgrades.

Customize IE8 with your own services

The IE8 Add-ons Gallery is a way for you to find the services that you use on a daily basis.  After I install IE8 on a new machine, I take a few minutes to install my favorite services before I start browsing.  If you’re on IE8, click the add link to try it out!

Search – access search results and suggestions from the search box


visual search provider icon


Food Network

visual search provider icon


Live Search

visual search provider icon



visual search provider icon



visual search provider icon


Accelerators – get contextual services from any webpage by selecting text


accelerator icon



accelerator icon



accelerator icon


YouTube Videos

accelerator icon


Web Slices – get notifications if the site updates from the Favorites Bar

DJI Stock

webslice icon


Live Search News

webslice icon



webslice icon


To further tweak your search provider and Accelerator settings, use Manage Add-ons from the Tools menu.

I’m constantly discovering new services through the gallery, and the gallery inspired me to create my own Accelerator over the holidays (RetailMeNot, an Accelerator to help keep my shopping spree under control). If you’re pretty tech savvy, consider creating your own service and sharing with the community.

Enjoy the RC1 build!

Jane Kim
Program Manager

Update 2:30: Updating OneRiot Webslice link.

Comments (30)

  1. trevor says:

    Will adding these Search, Accelerators, & Web Slices add to the performance problems with opening new tabs?

    If so will removing the default or unused ones help bring the performance of IE back in line with modern browsers?

  2. Mark Sowul says:

    I wish the blog software made the comments section a web slice.

  3. Sorry for beeing "slightly" offtopic, but I’m (and others are) missing the Enable Personalized Favorites Menu option in the Advanced Internet Options setting.

    I’m aware that you can get the option back by importing the relevant registry keys from an IE6/IE7 system (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftInternet ExplorerAdvancedOptionsBROWSEFAVINTELLI) but wonder, if the functionallity is still given then.

    Is it intended to not have that option any longer by default? If true, why?



  4. IE7 says:

    Mhhh, adding a search provider in IE7 was available through adding via the TEST String in the search URL.

    How can I add my search provider in IE8 now? This feature is not available on the IE8 Search Provider Web Page???

  5. service1 says:

    is it possible to have Web Slice with flash/javascript games?

  6. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @IE7: You can still build your own search provider using this page:

    @Ottmar: I believe the Office 2000-style menus (which would hide little-used options) were removed in IE7, even if you set the registry key.

    @Trevor: No, the architecture for these new extensibility points is such that Slices, Accelerators, and Visual Search have a much lower impact on browser performance than almost all traditional browser add-ons.

  7. steve_web says:

    I was going to be nice and do a bunch of testing in high DPI mode (as per the connect request today) but man that mode is just painful to look at.

    Filed 1 report, everything else looks like it does in regular dpi… same good stuff, same bad bugs.

  8. Kwispel says:

    "yet what they browse varies person to person"

    I think most of them use Google, so why not make Google the default search engine and map service?

  9. Dan says:

    >"I think most of them use Google"

    Only in the US.  And can you imagine the lawsuit from Yahoo?

    Google pays other browsers to be their default.  I can’t imagine Google writing Microsoft a 400 million dollar check every year.

  10. Glen Fingerholz says:

    Eric, any plans to convert EnhanceIE.COM to ASP.NET? Or to move from Windows Server 2003 (IIS 6) to Server 2008?

  11. Jane Kim [MSFT] says:

    @service1: Yes!  check out the "alternate display source" for the web slice documentation on msdn –

  12. @Eric

    "I believe the Office 2000-style menus (which would hide little-used options) were removed in IE7, even if you set the registry key."

    Well, the Personalize Favorites Menu option *is* indeed available in IE7, but isn’t in IE8RC1 – at least on Windows XP (SP3). By exporting the mentioned registry key from a system which hasn’t seen IE8 so far and importing the REG file on a system with IE8 installed, the option is in fact present in IE8 afterwards.

    My questions remain: Is that an intentual move to not have that option in IE8 *AND* does the setting work in IE8 if the option has been imported via the registry setting?

    The whole REG file looks like the following:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    "RegPath"="SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main"

    "RegPoliciesPath"="SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main"

    "RegPath"="SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main"

    "Text"="Enable Personalized Favorites Menu"









  13. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Glen: My server uses both ASP and ASP.NET, mirroring the production environments of many different customers.  As to the IIS-version, that’s really up to my web hosting provider.

    @Ottmar: Options that are not exposed in the IE UI (and not exposed in the Group Policy UI) are not supported, may break at any time, and may cause problems that are difficult to diagnose.  I’ll check if this was intentionally removed, but I believe the answer is yes.

  14. IE8 has a lot of new features , but I like to show off three (visual search, web slices, and accelerators).

  15. Sotcr says:

    With the new feature of aero snap, when we have tabs we cant compare them, so, maybe dragging a tab to the desktop will open a new explorer window, and now, we can compare them 😉

  16. Alexander Grigoriev says:

    Guys, it’s IE7 all over again:

    1. Doesn’t respect user’s choice on Clear Type. Why do I have to disable it in Windows, and then again in IE?

    2. Still slow as hell on some sites, AND takes 100% of processor while loading them. Looks like scripting engine is still crap. Check,category,All%20Weblog%20Posts.aspx, for example.

  17. Sterling says:

    I think search is one of the stronger points in IE8. I love it!

    Here’s cool IE8 search bar tip via los dudes at Channel 10 –

    BTW, you don’t have to set Live Search as the default, just select it first before doing the search.

  18. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    >2. Still slow as hell on some sites, AND takes 100% of processor while loading them

    And, by the way, Firefox doesn’t have a problem handling those sites.

  19. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    >2. Still slow as hell on some sites, AND takes 100% of processor while loading them

    And, by the way, Firefox doesn’t have a problem handling those sites.

  20. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Ottmar: I’ve confirmed that IE8 does not have the code for the personalized menus feature.  Fortunately, the enhanced Smart Address Bar offers search of your favorites (as well as personalized relevancy logic) that makes it easier to find whatever favorite you’re looking for.

  21. FremyCompany says:

    An example of how useful can be some personalized accelerators :

    == Open this URL in New Window (+dynamic preview) ==

  22. Heather says:

    Installed IE8 and now my norton kepts telling me that my browser is not set to detect fraudulent Web sites or to authenticate genuine Web sites.  How do I fix my browser to do this as I didn’t have this problem with IE7


  23. @Eric

    Thanks for the digging while I still find it sad seeing the option/functionality beeing removed in IE8. The Adress Bar (which I personally found to be overloaded like in Fx 3.x by default) with functions I’ve never missed or will most likely never need.

    Could you please elaborate on *why* the Personal Favorites Menu function has been removed in IE8?

    TIA – Freudi

  24. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Heather:  Internet Explorer 8 includes its own antiphishing/antimalware feature called "SmartScreen Filter."  It sounds like Norton’s feature (which works in a similar way) is not yet compatible with the new version of IE.  Sometimes, 3rd parties will wait until the browser is released before making updates for compatibility.  You should ask the Norton team when they will have an IE8 compatible update.

    @Ottmar: I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  The Personalized Menus feature was never very popular (little comfort to anyone who did like it, I’m afraid) and unfortunately the code was not compatible with Protected Mode introduced in IE7 on Vista.  There were other problems with the feature that necessitated its removal early in IE8.

  25. @Eric

    I won’t shoot the messenger here. While I would like to know, which "other problems" there were with the option/feature, thanks for your replies.

    Nice weekend

  26. israel websites says:

    In general I enjoy surfing IE8 due to a lot of new features. But my Antivirus (McAfee) kepts telling me different messages every time I use it.

  27. Kurzbeschreibung: Finalversion des Windows Internet Explorer 8 (kurz: IE8) für Windows XP. Der IE8 ist die Internet Explorer-Version von Microsoft, welche bislang Web-Standards in der Voreinstellung am besten unterstützt. Dessen Installation ist somit

  28. Vester says:

    The personalized menus feature was the only real reason why I still used iE7. After installation of IE8 I was shocked to find out that this feature had been removed.

    No reason to stick to Microsoft anymore.


  29. IEBlog says:

    As a follow-up to my prior blog post about Automatic Update/Windows Update distribution that began gradually

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