How to make IE open new tabs faster

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.

Manage add-ons dialog showing load times for various add-ons.

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.

disable add-on dialog

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.

Frank Olivier
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.

Comments (86)
  1. Olivier says:

    What about the slowdown when we have a huge list of sites in the restricted zone ? (list provided by example by Spybot)

    In IE7 it was fast, now in IE8 it’s slow to open the tabs.

    I’ve checked with regmon, each time we open a tab, IE8 will get the whole list from the registry, can’t it caches it somewhere in his memory for later uses ?

    Is it because each time has his own process ? Please fix that.

  2. Frank Olivier [MS] says:

    The restricted zone slowdown (when IE has a huge list of sites in the restricted zone) has already been fixed – Check in Windows Updates for a fix for this 🙂

  3. Edwin Martin says:

    Is this a flaw in Skype or in IE8?

    Is there a new API for add-ons since the tabbed interface? Is Skype using that?

    Or is this problem inherent to the architecture of IE8? And if so, will that be solved?

  4. war59312 says:

    Thanks Frank, I was wondering about that too.

  5. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Edwin: The IE team is working with the Skype team to help them resolve the performance problem in their IE addon.

  6. Timothy says:

    @Frank – You failed to mention that there are certain addons that you should most certainly disable or un-install right away in IE8.

    1.) Remove the "MS Research" addon. It doesn’t do anything worthwhile and its loading performance time is extremely slow.

    (Microsoft (IE Team) has confirmed this addon is slow and no longer valid. However the MS Office team has refused to listen to the IE Team (or the general cry from the public) and do something about removing this addon from IE permanently.

    2.) The Java SSV Helper? addon is slow and should be disabled.

    3.) Sonic Drive Letter Access.

    4.) I can’t confirm this but I’ve heard that the "Send to OneNote" addon shows poor performance but maybe someone reading this blog has more information.



  7. Olivier says:

    @Frank Olivier [MS] : thanks for your answer, but is hasn’t been fixed for me.

    I’ve just visited Windows Update and I’ve all the updates.

    I’ve checked again with Regmon and each time I open a new tab, I get a long list of keys coming from "HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionInternet SettingsZoneMapDomains"

    My system Windows XPS3 with IE8.0.6001.18702 (French versions). This computer is powerful and it takes about 3 seconds to open a tab (even in non addons mode, maybe it’s a bit faster).

  8. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Olivier: The performance problem with the large number of sites in the restricted zone was caused not by the registry reads, but instead by the algorithm used to place those hostnames into a data structure which enables fast searching. In the update which Frank mentions, the algorithm was improved to make it orders of magnitude faster. If you are still encountering a performance problem, and temporarily renaming the zones key to prevent it from loading makes a measurable difference, please export the registry key in question, Zip-compress the .REG file, and send it to me.  I’d love to have a look.

    @Timothy: 1> While I agree that the MS Office Research addon is of little value, it is a simple Explorer bar and thus should not actually take any CPU or memory unless you elect to display it. I have yet to see a case where disabling it makes any difference. 2> We have experienced (and had others report) performance issues with the SSV Helper and are working with the vendor on this topic. 3> DLA is of unknown value in the browser and older versions definitely cause crashes in IE. It’s likely that this addon was only meant to be used in Windows Explorer. 4> Send To OneNote is a command bar button and hence it uses no memory or CPU cycles until you actually click on it.

  9. Frank Olivier [MS] says:


    "Remove the ‘MS Research’ addon."

    Some users do use this – it still works 🙂 if you want to uninstall it: Open ‘Add/remove programs’, Select Office 2007, Pick the ‘Change’ option, and then (in the big list of office components) uncheck the "Office Tools – Research Explorer Bar" component.

    You can uninstall the Office "Discuss" IE add-on in the same way.

    "Sonic Drive Letter Access"

    Internet Explorer 8 does not load any version of Sonic DLA – we confirmed in IE8Beta1 that this should not be loaded in IE.

    "Send to OneNote"

    I haven’t heard of any issues with this add-on, but I will have my team investigate – thanks for the feedback.

  10. Timothy says:

    @EricLaw – thanks for the prompt response.  I realize that there is a "careful line" to walk when discussing other MS products but as you noted Research is of no use, DLA is only meant for Exploring (not Explorer) etc.

    Unfortunately the IE Addon model suffers from many issues but hopefully many of these will be resolved by the time IE9 comes out.

    For the record when I disabled MS Research on my PC it significantly improved things.  The amount of delay it caused on EVERY SINGLE Tab load was beyond acceptable.

    Here’s a screen shot from my manage addons dialog box.  As you can see I don’t have much interest in Any MS Addons since they all seem to not provide anything but lag and bloat.

    1 second+ on every tab load in totally unacceptable and is a big part of why IE is not and will not ever be my default browser.  Performance, Features, Standards and Customization are everything in a browser and unfortunately IE fails on #1, #2, #3 and #4.

    I appologise if it sounds like I’m being harsh but when I read this article and it didn’t even mention the worst offender in terms of IE addon speed it certainly got me grumpy… as happens often when I see/read the wool being pulled over users eyes.

  11. Timothy says:

    @Frank – I did (on another PC) uninstall MS Research (as I would advise everyone to do) but on this PC it is just disabled.

    As for removing it why is the button inside IE disabled for every single addon in my list?  Is this a bug in IE or has MS not provided developers of Addons a way to be automatically included in this list (which IMHO should be 100% MANDATORY)

    I have Sonic DLA installed on my PC (disabled though) and yes, IT DID LOAD as I have the Time it took listed in the list.

    As for the OneNote – I don’t have any data either since I don’t use this piece of software.

  12. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Timothy: The "Load time" column shows you how long a given addon takes to load. Addons that are only loaded when you actively use them (like Explorer Bars) will display the amount of time it takes them to load, but you pay that cost only when you actually load them.

    The Research addon only loads when you click View > Explorer Bars > Research. You can use a tool like "Process Monitor" from SysInternals to see this for yourself; *refiebar.dll isn’t even read from disk* until you try to use that feature.

    In contrast, other addon types (BHOs & visible toolbars) incur a performance cost on every new tab creation.

    As to your question about "Why is the Remove button disabled"– you can only remove addons that are installed in a standalone manner (without dependencies) and only if you have proper permissions. As a huge number of addons today are not standalone (and are installed by a full-installer, and/or other applications depend on them) the "Remove" button is often disabled.  

    DLA addons are currently blocked from loading; if you EVER loaded the addon in the past (say, during an IE beta) then the "legacy" add-on load time will remain in the UI/registry.


  13. Timothy says:

    Thanks for the details Eric.. I was part of the Beta so that may be the case.  Since I’ve never to my knowledge used the DLA stuff I’m curious what it even did.

    As for Research I don’t beleive I’ve ever used that either but it certainly register a time.

    Its too bad that the addons for IE are tied into other parts of Windows, thats a bad design IMHO but never the less the status quo for IE addons.

    One last (2 part) comment. a.) Why do most of the addons in the list not register any time for loading? and b.) since I’ve disabled most of my addons (and even started in the no-addon mode why does opening a new tab still take 2 seconds when every other browser I’ve used opens them instantaneously?  Can I use "Process Monitor" to actually see or track what is running for that 2 second period so that I can send the details to Microsoft so that it can be fixed?

  14. Olivier says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT] : Thanks for your answer, I had also to rename :

    "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionInternet SettingsZoneMapDomains"

    What’s your e-mail address so I can send you the zip file ?

    Anyway, I guess the best would be to delete the whole list and block the URLs on my proxy instead. It would fix that problem on every computers. And I should stop using the immunize setting of Spybot.

  15. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    Olivier: On your machine, what’s the time difference between opening tabs with and without these keys?  My email address is ericlaw at microsoft dtcm.

  16. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Timothy: Addons are easy to register for IE, and IE has been a successful browser for a long time. Hence the cruft.

    Frank notes the main reason for addons that don’t register any time– they’re not the sort that load on startup; see the ** at the bottom of his post.

    Yes, you can use Process Monitor to see exactly what’s happening during this time. (What AV engine do you use?)

  17. Timothy says:

    Wow, Process Monitor certainly shows some details…

    Ok so after a whole lot of filtering and excluding all processes except iexplore.exe and tracking only the Registry events between having 1 tab and 2 tabs (e.g. clicking addTab.

    There were 113,437 Registry events (thats 113 THOUSAND!) Open, Query, and Close (combined)

    Of those, I had 135 Buffer Overflows, 2417 Name Not Found, 45 No More Entries, 110,839 Sucesses.

    24,236 OpenKey events

    23,837 QueryKey events

    28 CreateKey events

    42,758 EnumKey events

    22,527 CloseKey events

    50 SetKey events

    The majority of it seems to be ZoneMap checks for domains that look shady (poker, sex, virus, free, spam, etc.)

    I’m not sure where/why all of these got in here but I’d have to guess that cleaning out these entire lists would have to improve load time.  Even at fractions of a second they add up.

    These 5 actions took the longest (timewise)

    1.) Setting:  HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftCryptographyRNGSeed

    2.) Querying: HKCUSoftwareClasses

    3.) Setting: HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSecurityAntiPhishing2CEDBFBC-DBA8-43AA-B1FD-CC8E6316E3E2UserFile

    4.) Opening: HKCRCLSID{50D5107A-D278-4871-8989-F4CEAAF59CFC}TreatAs

    5.) Opening: HKCRCLSID{9BA05972-F6A8-11CF-A442-00A0C90A8F39}

    As for AV (AntiVirus I pressume) I use AVG8 (with the LINK SCANNER DISABLED) and SpyBot S&D for Spyware protection.

    I’m going to try separate scans for network, thread and other bits to see if anything jumps out.

  18. Timothy says:

    File System results:

    3 Buffer Overflows

    4 Fast IO Disallowed

    64 Name Not Found

    4 Path Not Found

    4 Range Not Locked

    1,341 Success

    Otherwise nothing particularly interesting.

  19. Timothy says:

    Just checked in Firefox.

    Opening a new Tab? 4 registry events. (4!)

    4 little queries to check for the current Locale/Language.

    Wow, just wow.  What a huge difference.

  20. Timothy says:

    Tested in Chrome too:

    Opening a new Tab? 9 registry events.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the registry (ab)usage is likely the reason why opening new tabs in IE is so slow.

    Well i’m off to bed… stayed up way to late playing with this for today.

    Very, very insightful though!

  21. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Timothy: Keep in mind that opening a new tab in IE8 results in a new LCIE process. Firefox does not use process isolation and thus new tabs remain in the same process. (The downside is that tabs are not isolated, and crashing one tab brings down all tabs and the browser frame.) Chrome makes very little use of the registry, and keeps its settings in configuration files.

    On my Win7 machine, creation of a new tab in IE results in ~7800 total registry key operations.

    You very likely enabled the “SpyBot innoculate” feature which spams the IE registry keys with tens of thousands of sites, leading to hundreds of thousands of operations. While the worst part of the performance impact of this was recently blunted via the June Update, you’re correct to note that reading tens of thousands of keys takes some amount of time. You may wish to disable the “Inoculate” feature and see what performance delta you see (and how many registry reads are removed).


  22. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    Olivier kindly sent me a registry export of his ZoneMap keys for both HKCU and HKLM after the AVG Inoculate feature had been enabled.

    The .reg scripts took 102 seconds to import on my machine using RegEdit. My machine is an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 @ 2.4ghz with 3gb of system memory running 32bit Win7.

    Before I imported the registry scripts, I used Process Monitor to take the following measurements:

    + Registry time on IE boot to about:blank took 0.1426863 seconds, with 12,387 total events.

    + Registry time on IE new tab to about:tabs took 0.0872716 seconds, with 7586 total events.

    After I was done importing the scripts, I closed IE and retook the measurements:

    + Registry time on IE boot to about:blank increased to 1.305558 seconds (915%), with 222,481 total events.

    + Registry time on IE new tab to about:tabs increased to 0.6903690 seconds (791%), with 112,602 total events.

    The registry time captured by Process Monitor does not include any time spent on the IE side setting up the data structures into which the data is read and organized, so the registry time alone does not account for the full impact of having the Inoculate feature enabled.

  23. qingbo says:

    wow, cool, IE is so wonderful!

    All browser makers should write such a tutorial to teach their users!

  24. Klimax says:

    What is name of that update? I have not seen it in MU and cannot find it through search.

    As for those "buffer overflows" they are used in some cases,since API call returns safely and returns correct size,so subsequent call succeeds.

    (Often first call is with 0bytes buffer and then for second call is buffer allocted to full size)

    I think it was somewhere discussed,maybe Raymond or this blog?

  25. Alex says:

    I’m not sure about this tool. Because even it showed me, that Adobe PDF Link Helper took 0.00 to load, disabling this extension greatly improved of a tab opening process.

  26. Klimax says:

    I have just realised few more things.

    Sometimes IE loses "already visited" and marks links as not visited (if different colour),but visited pages are still present in history. It is minor annoyance as certain forum has a lot of updated threads and some new ones,so this enables to see which ones are new.

    (Is semi-random;I have set 90days for history)

    Second:Could be HTML rendering and javsacript optimised so it is riunning better on atom-based computers?(Asus Eee… or Acer)

  27. M Koh says:

    But that didn’t explain why the tabs opened instantly when Protected Mode is OFF.

    With ALL add-ons enabled.

  28. Shaun says:

    @EricLaw – I too have SpyBot installed but if I turn the "Immunize" feature off it does not clear out the thousands of zone entries.

    Is there a registry script that will go and clean every single site out of every single zone for every single user in Windows XP?

    I don’t want any of these site checks bogging down my system (and to be quite honest) I could care less about the "Security Zones" settings all together.  A site is either trusted or not. There are no levels of trust for most users… trying to enforce such is trying to get users to swallow Astronaut Architecture (which none of them care about)

    Since this is a major problem in IE (only) can the IE team publish a registry script on this blog that will fix the issue with URL’s being in these zones, thanks!

  29. Shaun says:

    For the record – even having 8 zillion entries shouldn’t be a problem.  If I visit then (and only then) should the registry lookup be done to see if it is *in* the list!  There shouldn’t be any calls to load the entire list.

    Even more so a new tab loads a blank page so no lookups of any kind should take place.

    Just what APIs are available to addon developers when a new tab opens? Is all of this an issue because IE doesn’t provide a reasonable API? If so, this should be the #1 priority rather than ranting on addon developers to fix their addons.

    Then again, if there is a better way… PUBLISH IT NOW right here on the IE Blog so that developers KNOW what they need to fix!

  30. blah says:

    The add-on manager is a complete crock. If I go to Manage Add-ons right now, I end up in Toolbars and Extensions, showing Currently loaded add-ons. Half the items in the Currently loaded list are things I marked disabled months ago, and even say Disabled here. Yet they’re not. Shame on you MS.

  31. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @M Koh: Sounds like you have an addon that has a performance bug when running in Protected Mode. I’d be interested to hear which one it is.

    @Klimax: The IE update in question was the overall June Cumulative update for IE. It was not a standalone download.

    Yes, I believe either Russinovich or Chen explained that "Buffer Overflow" was the case of the 0-byte read to get the target buffer size.

    @Shaun: If disabling "Immunize" doesn’t remove the list, you probably should take that up with the SpyBot technical support team. To remove the list yourself, start RegEdit, and in both HKCU and HKLM, clear the "Domains" key inside SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionInternet SettingsZoneMap

    There are good reasons why the Zone lists are loaded at startup. Spamming tens of thousands of sites into the registry is not a scenario for which the Zones system was designed, and, as I’ve stated before, isn’t particularly effective for what they’re trying to do with it. Non-dynamic blocklisting just doesn’t scale.

    All APIs are available to addon developers when a new tab opens. Arguably, that’s the problem: If IE didn’t load addons when creating tabs, that performance problem would not exist.

    @blah: If the extension indicates that it’s "Disabled" and you didn’t just disable it in this session, then it’s not loaded. "Currently loaded" is a bad choice of words (a bug was filed)– but "Add-ons that are or would be currently loaded *if* they were not previously disabled" isn’t a great piece of UI text either.

    In the same list, "Run without permission" is another bad choice of words– "Addons for which permission has been perpetually granted" is more accurate but wouldn’t neatly fit.

  32. T3dd says:

    The only thing i hate in IE 8 is the one click add favorite in favorite bar. when are you going to copy firefox and chrome add favorite in address bar which i prefer and I don’t mind if you copy it. I find it much easier to manage favorite in Firefox. Any possibility of changing the add favorite functionality with IE 8.5 and just copy FF?

  33. hd says:

    Most people are asking whether you are taking a break after ie8.The reason being that they want you to start on ie9 immediately and give the users the end product as soon as possible

    One thing That I don’t like about IE is it’s long development schedule,It’s pretty much tied to Windows.When will ie9 come out 2012?

    I would like to see it come out AT LEAST by early 2011.


  34. hd says:

    Most people are asking whether you are taking a break after ie8.The reason being that they want you to start on ie9 immediately and give the users the end product as soon as possible

    One thing That I don’t like about IE is it’s long development schedule,It’s pretty much tied to Windows.When will ie9 come out 2012?

    I would like to see it come out AT LEAST by early 2011.


  35. says:


    Goto a search engine that lists 10 results. While holding down thr CONTROL key, left click on the 10 results. You will find that in IE8 only 7 out of the 10 will open. While on Firefox, all open.

    I am an IE user and dont like the feel of firefox. Please fix the speed issue with opening tabs in IE8.

    BTW, I have performed this test on a fresh IE8 where there are no toolbars or addons.

  36. Mike Dimmick says:

    On Java SSV Helper: normally Java loads the version of the runtime that the component was compiled against, if it’s available. This would allow a malicious applet to load a known-vulnerable version of the Java runtime. SSV Helper redirects to the latest compatible version of the runtime that is installed.

    Java is (or at least *was*) installed side-by-side. If you disable SSV Helper, make sure you UNINSTALL all but the latest version of the Java runtime so that the vulnerable versions cannot be loaded. If you have some Java version that you can’t uninstall, leave SSV Helper enabled.

    Yes, it’s Sun’s stupid design to leave vulnerable versions loadable.

    The other Java-related component you can disable is the Quick Start feature. Unless you’re constantly loading Java applets, it won’t get you much benefit to preload Java into every tab. Disable the JQSIEStartDetectorImpl add-on and stop and disable the Java Quick Start service.

  37. Role says:

    After installing Norton Internet Security 2009, I find 3 new IE add-ons from that product installed – and they are the slowest  by far ("Symantec NCO BHO" 0.56 sec)!

    You should perhaps add a performance tips section to the MSDN docu for BHOs, toolbands, etc.

  38. Anonymuos says:

    Offtopic but why doesn’t IE have a simple "Use feed reading view (apply internal stylesheet for RSS feeds) only when custom stylesheet is not specified"? I’d like to see this fundamental feature in IE vNext please. Please forward this to the RSS platform team.

  39. xaml says:

    In my book, say on this machine, it takes about 3 seconds from pressing on the ‘new tab’ button until the "about:Tabs" screen is loaded. Most of this I strongly assume to be caused by IE itself, rather than the add-ons (3 Norton add-ons displayed as 0.09, 0.17 and 0.04 seconds – totaling at 0.3 seconds, which is nowhere near the tenfold time it actually took.

  40. hAl says:

    That AVG innoculate causing more than 100,000 extra registry actions is not included in the popular free version of AVG I hope ?

    Could the IE team possibly compile some more information on different types of malware protection software that seem to cause extreme amounts of registry actions for IE8 and thus slow tabstartups ?

    Could the IEteam possibly provide something like a Proces monitor script to standardize this kind of measument so that people having slow tab startup times can be provided with an easy means of providing standardized information on their configuration ?

    This could then also be used also by MS experts assisting on the Microsoft discussion groups.  

  41. hAl says:


    What malware protection software (anti virus, ad block, anti phising) are you using ?

  42. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @hd: Who are the "many people" and where are they asking? As I’ve said here, and in the IE chats previously, no, we are not "taking a break." The IE team remains hard at work.

    @Mike: Thanks for the description of the Java addons!

    @mikev: I’ve never been able to replicate your results. Have you tried this when explicitly running in no-addons mode?

  43. hAl says:

    I downloaden sysinternals to check a few new tab starts with proces monitor.

    Slowest item I could find was in stack summary.

    More than 0,4 seconds in WindowsLiveLogin module(location DllUnregisterServer)

  44. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @hAl: You have to be a bit careful when interpreting the results of the Process Monitor Stack Summary because you often don’t have proper symbols for the DLLs you’re viewing. In those cases, you’ll see all of the time bundled up in the one or two functions for which symbols are known (e.g. DLLRegisterServer or DLLUnregisterServer).

  45. hAl says:

    I thought as much but then again I also wondered if the windowslive login module tries to connect to live login server on new tab creation.

    That would potentially create very different start times for new tabs depending on your connection to an external server and it’s response.

  46. Jack says:

    Hi! I downloaded that procman utility to check what was making my tabs so slow in IE.

    I don’t have any spyware protection installed but checking the registry lookups that seem to be the performance hit I still had about 3500 of them.

    If I tally up the success/failure lookups I get the following:

    Total duration spent in registry on opening a new blank tab.

     Total: 603.206 ms

    Success: 383.9 ms

    Failure: 219.306 ms

    I realize some of these lookups that fail are "tests" but 1275 failures seems quite high when opening a new tab.

    Can IE not be a bit smarter and ignore lookups on the ones that fail regularly?

    I’m not sure what else is taking so long but my new tabs take over a second to render.

  47. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @hAl: I’m pretty sure they’re doing any network traffic on a background thread (they’d better be! 🙂 You could use Fiddler to check by setting a request breakpoint and seeing if the tab hangs.

    @Jack: What type of CPU do you have; how much memory do you have; what OS are you using? It sounds like your computer is doing half the registry lookups but taking ~7x longer. That leads me to wonder what your PCs overall performance is.

  48. Harry Richter says:

    @ EricLaw

    Her e is an idea for an update to IE:

    The update should do the following upon installation, apart from updating the relevant files:

    1. Check if the registry is spammed

    2. If this is the case, it should export the values to a xml-file

    3. Clean out the registry

    4. Tell the people about it

    The following functionality should be provided by this update:

    1. Reading your comments about the registry-spam programs I think the max number of entries should be set to 256, as that seems to be about the number the functionality was initially designed for. Telemetry and discussions with your partners in the industry should give you an idea on the actual numbers used in professional environments, so the 256 could go both ways, up or down, but within reasonable numbers.

    2. If the max number of entries is exceeded from within IE or GP, a warning should be generated, and only the max number should be stored.

    3. If the max number of entries is exceeded by “make-do” or by registry spammers, the same procedure should be implemented as described for the installation of the update.

    Thus, once and for all, this type of tarnishing the product IE could be avoided. I believe this is a legitimate self-defense measure that in the end provides a better user experience to the customers. In order to avoid potential legal issues, before publishing the update, you should give a period of time notice on the change that is about to happen, in order to give the registry-spammers an opportunity to fix their stuff.



  49. Harry Richter says:

    Sorry! Item 3 under functionality should read

    3. If the max number of entries is exceeded by “make-do” or by registry spammers, the same procedure should be implemented as described for the installation of the update upon startup of IE.


  50. says:

    RE: [quote]@mikev: I’ve never been able to replicate your results. Have you tried this when explicitly running in no-addons mode?[/quote]

    Hi EricLaw [MSFT]

    I have performed this test on different machines. None have addons, and all are powerful, including zeon servers as I begin to set them up for a role.

    Goto Bing, do a search. You will get 10 results. Now…. time for a race. Hold down the CNTRL key and click on each search result hyperlink as fast as you can. In the majority of my tests, only 7/10 tabs end up opening.

    During the test, dont wait for any interface feedback as to whether the click was successful such as link color change or the tab to appear.

    There should be no reason that my click is not captured, resulting in lost webpages.

    This is a problem which is present in IE7 and when IE8 came, i was hoping it would be fixed, it is not. 🙁


    Mikev (Valamas)

  51. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @mikev: I tried this with a few queries and wasn’t able to get a repro. When you say "none have add-ons" is that to say that you assume that there are no add-ons installed, or that you explicitly ran in No Add-ons mode?

    I’ve posted some information about common IE performance problems over at

  52. says:

    Hi Eric,

    thanks for your responses so far. When i meant "noaddons", i meant, i was running IE8 from a fresh install of the O/S and not the IE_NoAddons link. Sorry for the confusion.

    I just tried the IE_NoAddons version as found in my system tools. IE performed super fast. This is how I want to browse! Gee, sometimes when I wanted to run down a search result page and click on every result; i had to open FireFox (grr); not anymore.

    IE definitely feels better than Firefox (opening a can of worms?).

    thanks for the link, reading now …



  53. Gareth says:

    Does the ‘time taken to load’ get logged as telemetry so the creators of the slowest addons are made aware of the timings?

  54. Jack says:

    @Eric Law – HP T2400 Core Duo @1.83Ghz 1GB RAM,  667 Mhz bus, 2MB L2 cache, XPSP3

    I can upg the ram up to 4GB, but this seems like a bandaid solution.  Opening tabs, splitting & merging tabs in Firefox and Chrome is instantaneous.

    There’s no question about it… IE8 is slow.  Very, very, very slow at opening new tabs and it isn’t just on my PC I’ve heard users complain about this since IE7 was released and its even worse now.

  55. Conrado says:

    I disabled all addons and its still slow to open new tabs. Why not load these addons on background? These seconds would not make any difference if loaded in background while user is typing the URL address or pasting it.

  56. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Conrado: I’ve posted some performance troubleshooting steps over at

    In terms of the "why not just load add-ons in the background"– it’s a great question, but the answer is fairly technical. Basically, loading addons asynchronously would cause compatibility issues with many addons that exist today. It could also cause a pretty jarring UI experience, because toolbars and other UI would end up "popping in" as you’re trying to use the tab.

  57. boen_robot says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT]

    While I agree for the compatibility point, I have to respectfully disagree on the UX point.

    The IE address bar is already posistioned at the very top of the UI, and all toolbars and other UI is loaded below it. AFAIK, IE doesn’t allow add-ons to change that fact (if it does, consider disallowing it in the next version of IE; no popular add-ons do it anyway).

    Add-ons need a few seconds to load. User needs at least a second to type in the first URL, or perhaps a few seconds if auto complete is loaded asynchronously too. Therefore, as long as the address bar remains in the same place, users won’t notice (or care about) any toolbars popping up, as they’ll be too busy typing the page and waiting for it to load.

    In order to preserve compatibility, is it possible to let extensions declare somehow that they want to be loaded asynchronously? If they don’t do that, they’ll load synchronously, and thus preserve compatibility.

  58. Frank Olivier [MS] says:

    @Gareth Yes, we do have telemetry that tells us about perf issues in IE, and we contact add-on developers about performance, stability and issues where their add-on taking control away from the user (see

  59. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @boen_robot: You’re welcome to disagree on anything you want, obviously. However, the point is that a toolbar popping in below the address bar is going to move the content area, including all of the tab UI, the about:tabs web page, etc.

    Now, the obvious next step is to propose changes to the add-on model; for instance, an addon could declare that it’s going to create a toolbar of size "X" and have IE reserve that space for it immediately and lazy-create it. (There are tons of other ideas, of course). The problem, of course, is that doing so wouldn’t fix any of the existing add-ons, the worst offenders of which are outdated versions that uses have.

    We have lots of ideas here, but there are rarely easy answers.

  60. Roland says:

    Last Tuesday, I was offered updated drivers for my Soundblaster X-Fi card on Microsoft Update. After installing them, browsing in IE was suddenly very slow.

    After a long investigation, I found the cause: The updated drivers also installed a utility named "Creative Software AutoUpdate", which added its name to the IE user agent key in the registry! As a result, my browser agent string was now longer than 200 characters, which lead to the slowdown because such a long user agent string is refused by many web servers.

    The IE team should ensure that the IE user agent never exceeds 200 characters and simply cut it off in case it gets longer. I really wonder whether every .NET Framework version has to be added to the IE user agent.

    Even after removing the Soundblaster item, my agent is still very long:

    "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/4.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.5.21022; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729)"

    As many people might get the new Soundblaster drivers over Windows Update, this issue could affect many users, and most of them might never find out the cause!

  61. @Roland: Thanks for the note. I’ll be posting an article about UA-string bloat over on my blog soon (I already wrote about Accept header bloat:  

    Yes, it is a problem, though I would like to point out that the UA bloat problem rarely results in a sudden or extreme slowness, since sites which break on the long UA tend to do so quickly, returning an immediate error; generally they don’t just "run slower".

    However, as the request headers get longer and longer, the requests do gradually take longer and longer to send (up to fractions of a second longer, each).

  62. JINESH JAIN says:

    How to make IE open new tabs faster

  63. boen_robot says:

    @EricLaw [MSFT]

    True about the page shifting, but there’s a difference between what a user sees and what a user *wants* to see. What they (or at least me and everyone I know) want to see is the page they’re trying to reach, not the home page, whatever that may be. To get it, all they need is an instant access to the address bar, with the focus being kept on it (not taken away or being refocused after add-ons are loaded), and with the address being kept to exactly what they’re typing (not being altered to the home page address, potentially erasing what was already typed) and for the page to actually start loading once the enter key is pressed.

    Heck, once a user presses the "Enter" key, they’re usually willing to forgive a slow page load (they’d blame it on their internet connection), even if it’s coupled with toolbars popping around.

    Even though old add-ons won’t be fixed, it’s vital for the next version of IE to have a completely redesigned and rethought add-on arhitecture in order to put these kinds of problems in the past. And more importantly, you should have new, clearly documented APIs for it, to discourage "reverse engineering" and "hacks". Also (as subtle as it may seem), you should call add-ons that don’t use this API "legacy" and/or "deprecated" add-ons. This alone will highly encourage add-on developers to revise their add-ons, and discover everything new you have to offer at that point.

    From an end user point of view, if the legacy add-on *could* work (regardless of *how* exactly and at what cost), it will all be fine.

    BTW, I’m writing a detailed report on all problems I (and I’m sure you too) have noticed with IE’s add-on arhitecture, and with requirements for a new add-on arhitecture… Because I’m not an add-on developer, I have avoided giving explicit solutions, but I’ll list some ideas like the ones mentioned in these comments. I’m hoping I can give it to you in time for the next IE chat, if you’d like that of course.

  64. Greg says:

    IE should watch for updates on the registry and update its local memory data structure containing its registry entries.

    IE should not re-read the registry over and over again just because a new IE tab is opened.

    The IE process re-uses memory and data when it opens a new tab currently because all of the browser tabs are under the same IEXplore.exe process.  The registry should be also be cached and shared amongst the IE tabs in a read only fashion.

    .NET has a built in function to watch for changes to a directory (instead of polling the directory).  It should have a way to do the same for a registry tree and IE should use that to reduce overhead.

    sysinternals filemon and regmon should be used to ensure that IE is decently using the registry and filesystem and not churning them over and over.

  65. @boen_robot: “at least me and everyone I know” leaves somewhere in the neighborhood of 500M other users accounted for. 🙂

    But seriously though, yes, we absolutely agree that having immediate and uninterrupted access to the address bar is a critical scenario for a large number of users, and to that end we took a number of fixes throughout IE8 to help prevent focus-stealing and related issues. If you’re having issues with focus-stealing and a particular add-on, please let me know which one it is.

    No need to wait for the chat– please feel free to email me your thoughts about the addon model. Of course, getting the add-on developer’s perspective is important for us, because ultimately, it’s those developers that must write code based on the add-on model.

    Thanks for your interest!

    @Greg: The statement “because all of the browser tabs are under the same IEXplore.exe process” – is not correct in IE8. See

  66. @EricLaw [MSFT]

    You said "no, we are not ‘taking a break.’ The IE team remains hard at work."

    Then why the IE Team did not reactivate several bugs filed at IE beta feedback? … which certainly deserved to be fixed in my opinion

    And what about clear, well-written bug reports not filed at IE beta feedback, filed elsewhere? Are they in the to-fix-for-next-IE list?

    When is IE Team going to disable the annoying DHTML tooltip in IE beta feedback? Why the IE Team never removed that annoying DHTML-driven tooltip? We (many people in this IE blog months ago) have explained why this feature is utterly inconsequent, incoherent, anti-user-friendly, abusing user system resources, not helpful, not useful, etc.

    What about ability to view, to modify or to delete file-attachments of testcases at IE beta feedbacks?

    What about many issues, requests made in this IE Blog that, in my opinion, were legitimate, reasonable, respectable and which today have been apparently ignored, have been [apparently] silently rejected, have been apparently tacitly rejected?

    regards, Gérard

  67. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Gerard: As mentioned a number of times, the IE team does not develop the Connect feedback site. We absolutely have provided feedback to that team about changes we’d like to see.

    As to your questions of "why isn’t the IE team currently doing [x], [y], or [z]" — I can only say that we prioritize our efforts to maximize benefit for IE users and web developers. With a user base of over 500M users, there’s always plenty of work to do. We very much appreciate the feedback and suggestions we’ve received, and they absolutely help prioritize our investments for future updates. Thanks.

  68. says:

    I had uninstalled Google toolbar, main (addon) browser much faster now. Cheers, Mike

  69. Disabling addons in IE really works. And removing unnecessary toolbars improves performance.


  70. Hi all

    Thank you for bringing this even more to our attention!

    I am happy to announce that we have now released an update of Skype. It contains an update of the add-on for Internet Explorer that does take care of the performance problems described above.

    You can find the new version here:

    Please let me know if any problems remain!

    Best regards

    Peter Kalmström, PM Skype Toolbars

  71. hd says:

    Sorry,I did not expect you to heat up so much about it.Thing is I (REALLY)like IE I just want it to be better that’s all!!! But you have to admit that ie has a slow development schedule in comparison to it’s competitors.This is a bit of a disappointment for me

    To contribute a bit to the topic ;

    There is a noticeable delay in opening tabs in ie8 even in no addons mode. This is probably due to tab isolation to recover from tab crashes (as you explained previously).There is an option in ie that ‘switches off’ automatic crash recovery but as I understand it does not turn off tab isolation.Any way to do this ?

  72. hd says:

    @Pasan Indeewara

    Hello,Never seen a fellow Srilankan on this blog


  73. Seth says:

    hd, actually, IE releases major versions almost as often as their competitors. It’s true that minor updates are more visible for the other browsers, because IE rolls its updates into the every-other-month WindowsUpdates.

    "Noticeable delay" isn’t a useful piece of data, and you’ve provided no information about your machine state and hardware. On all of my pcs, new tabs open basically instantly in IE8.

  74. tom says:

    Thanks for the importand post it very helpfull.

    Greetings from Germany, TOM.

    my motto: mountains never meet, people always

  75. jp says:

    IE should remove the "connecting" visual of a tab opening in the background.  Tabs should open immediately to the front and focus should move to the address bar.  Until IE does this it will continue to feel like a much slower browser than the competition.  Please fix this as soon as possible!  

  76. Challenge Accepted says:

    Challenge Accepted!


    @Seth – if IE8 tabs open for you instantaneously (or for anyone else) ***WITH ADDONS ENABLED*** then please post a video online showing your instant tabs in IE8.

    Since I have yet to see instant tabs in IE8 on any PC I’ve looked at in the last few months I don’t believe a word of this.

    Show us. ‘Cause the rest of us are waiting while IE8 is "Connecting…"

  77. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    I don’t know what Seth’s machine looks like, but here’s a view from my older, slower machine:

    New tabs appear as fast as I hit CTRL+T.

  78. hd says:

    I checked out your video.Actually it looks surprisingly fast on what I see on my machine.But I also see that you have no addons(visible) running.

    Is the speed comparable to what we see on you video with any addons running (say windows live toolbar for an instance)?

  79. hd says:

    Why can’t ie8 load addons in the background?

    As for the popping toolbars problem why don’t you develop and algorithm to calculate the area required by the addon by comparing the delta between the original size of controls in ie and the size of controls after the addon is loaded

    (say the decrease in size of the web browser control due to a toolbar addon for an instance)

    IE could determine the area consumed by  addons  on the first run (and any subsequent  addon changes) and allocate space for the them when a new tab is created  

  80. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @hd: Yes, I’m running a few add-ons, including menu add-ons (no impact on performance: see and the fantastic Mouse Gestures add-on (BHO) from Ralph Hare, which is well-written and runs very fast.

    The magic of software means that one can code nearly anything, given sufficient time and investment. Trying to calculate a Toolbar add-ons likely size based on its last size is one such possibility, although it wouldn’t be perfectly reliable and it’s not clear that users would be significantly happier with poorly performing add-ons that are still slow to appear and spike the CPU, etc. For single-core netbooks and the like, delegating to a background thread won’t help very much.

  81. Sam says:

    IE is slow even without any addons, it is still the slowest browser on the market, and still seems to be flawed with bugs from years ago.

    If you want to open tabs faster then try a new browser, I have to say that Google Chrome opens new tabs faster than any other browser I’ve tried.

    I installed it on my flatmates 5 year old laptop, he has been using IE8, and now he says the Internet runs ‘just like new’.

  82. Damien says:

    Sam, thank you for providing an example of a comment which is entirely useless. Saying something is "slow" without even trying to measure it is lazy. Why bother writing if you’re not going to write something useful to the IE team or anyone else?

    Good luck blocking Google’s spyware and ads with Chrome.

  83. hAl says:

    I did switch off the AVG safe search addon before as it slowed new tab opening down by about half a second.

  84. jp says:

    @EricLaw, Whether in no add-ons mode or not, my tabs *never* open as fast as in your video.  (My computer is an Intel Core Duo, 1.67 Ghz with 2GB ram.)

    This video by Zack Whittaker shows how slow it can be:

    You can also read his zdnet post:

    While my performance is not this bad, it is slow enough to cause frustration (at best around 0.3 or so seconds and at worst a second or two).  

    To be honest, I don’t understand why IE has to keep the tab in the background "connecting" while other browsers immediately move it to the front.  But I am not a developer…

  85. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @jp: There’s no question that bad addons can result in a slow user-experience, and I’d bet that this is the problem that Zack is seeing.  Since he didn’t describe any troubleshooting he might have done, it’s hard to say which addon(s) or products he’s specifically having problems with.

    As for your case, there are things that will impact performance even in no-addons mode, as I noted over here:

    Tab startup times in the .3 second range sound about right on the hardware you describe, keeping in mind that starting a new tab is spinning up a new process (LCIE). 1 second is definitely at the long end of things, but it’s going to be harder to spot the bottleneck vs. the degenerate multi-second cases that some users in bad configurations see.

  86. tom says:

    IE is slow even without any addons, it is still the slowest browser on the market, and still seems to be flawed with bugs from years ago.

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