Browser add-ons are a great way to enhance the experience and capabilities of your Web browser. Add-ons are loaded by IE when you open a new browser window or tab. This is usually a quick process, but certain add-ons may cause IE to take a longer time than expected. For example, after installing Skype 4.1*, this user (and his father) encountered a slowdown in IE on their computers. Just like most of you, almost everybody on the IE team is tech support for their parents, so improving the user’s ability to fix problems themselves is a topic that is near and dear to our heart. (Hi Dad!)
The delay caused by add-ons is usually the reason you see an IE tab with ‘Connecting…’ at the top, and as a result, the web page (even if it is about:blank) takes a few seconds to load. You can fix this type of issue by doing the following:
Examine the performance impact of your add-ons using the Manage Add-ons dialog. Click on Tools – Manage Add-ons, and look at the ‘Load time’ column. Some users have already discovered this.
The load time shows the average time to load the add-on** and the wait time to finish initializing for each new window or tab creation. If you do not want to keep a slow loading add-on around, you can disable it, and it won’t be loaded the next time you open a new window or tab. You can also open Add/Remove Programs and remove IE add-ons that you are not using. This removes the add-on for all users on the computer.
When you disable an add-on, the new add-on management feature in IE8 (mentioned previously) finds all related add-ons (toolbar helpers, etc) that are also part of the browser extension that you are disabling, and allows you to disable them as well. Add-ons that are already disabled will show up in the ‘Manage Add-ons’ dialog with their last load time in brackets. Note that their ‘load time’ is really ‘0.00 seconds’, because IE does not load disabled add-ons. We show the last load time (in brackets) so you can evaluate the performance impact of turning an add-on back on.
As always, we are working with IE add-on makers on performance and stability so you have a fast, reliable and feature-filled browser. We’d love to get your feedback on this topic.
Internet Explorer User Experience Program Manager
*Skype 4.1 installs the Skype program, and an Internet Explorer add-on that enables you to click phone numbers (or names of your Skype contacts) on web pages to call them with Skype. The Skype IE add-on can be uninstalled or disabled without affecting the core functionality of the Skype program itself.
**We don’t show load time for ActiveX controls or registry-based extensions (Command Bar buttons). Also, add-ons that cancel themselves from being loaded (in their DllMain function) also don’t show a load time.