Add-ons: Feedback on Add-on Performance Advisor

Typically in blog posts we focus on the negative feedback we’ve heard, and the changes we make in the product as a result. In this post, we’re going to do something a little different. Below, we share the public feedback about the add-on performance advisor that we’ve heard, as well as some comments that show how aligned we are as an industry around performance.

From the Houston Chronicle:

One of the most interesting features of IE9 is its improved ability to manage browser add-ons.… You can turn all or some of them off, and you’ll like how much faster IE launches when you do.

From PC World:

IE 9 will also check to see if any add-ons you’ve installed are slowing down your browser’s startup time.  If any are, it will notify you once it opens.  Thanks to this feature, I realized that I had some add-ons installed that I didn’t even know were there. This check by IE9 is a fairly small addition, but it’s a welcome one.

From Computer World (emphasis added):

When you run add-ons in a browser, they can slow down your browser’s performance.  IE9 has tackled that problem with a new feature that other browsers would do well to emulate.  If IE9 detects that you’ve got add-ons that might slow down your browser, it pops open a notification bar at the bottom of your screen...This is an excellent feature that Mozilla, in particular, should consider adding. Power users often wonder what kind of performance hit Firefox takes because of its add-ons.

From Engadget (emphasis added):

We can’t tell you enough how much of a difference the new “Add-on Performance Advisor” tool makes.  You remember how we mentioned all those PC manufacturers that preload IE with toolbars and thus slow down the browser?  Well, the first time you boot up IE9 a small notification appears on the bottom asking if you’d like to “speed up browsing and startup” by disabling them all.  It’s like a miracle come true: you don’t have to go searching to disable them and it tells you how much time each of them adds to the browser start-up time.

From Download Squad (emphasis added):

A lot of the Internet Explorer users that I support wind up with a handful of toolbars and search add-ons installed -- and they rarely know how it happened.  A good number of those add-ons make IE needlessly slow, and they can be downright irritating.  Older versions already featured a simple interface to manage and disable add-ons, but IE9 takes things a step further.  It will alert users when a new add-on installs and offer to intervene once total “add-on time” exceeds a specified number of seconds.  As you can see, even Microsoft’s own add-ons can cause a great deal of startup lag -- but Internet Explorer 9 is happy to disable them for you with minimal fuss.

From another Computerworld article (emphasis added):

Add-ons can add a lot of overhead to browser load time and browsing time.  Load down your browser with enough of them, and no matter the browser’s basic speed, it can become sluggish.  IE9 has a very nice feature that automatically warns you via a pop-up when your add-ons increase load time and browsing time, and let you disable them.

And finally, from Steve Souders, noted web performance expert at Google:

Sounders twitter feed - Hats off to IE9 add-on performance advisor.  I constantly hear users & browser vendors complain about add-ons hurt perf

It’s great to see how aligned we are as an industry around performance. The easiest news articles to write involve conflicts and disagreements, so you may not read in the news about engineers agreeing. For example, in this video “Every Millisecond Counts,” you can hear folks at Google emphatically agree with us about the importance of every fraction of a second, whether it’s the first time the user does something or the hundredth. Similarly, in this video (starting around the 28 second mark), you can see how we agree that extensions shouldn’t crowd out what’s most important: the web page the user is visiting.

Paul Cutsinger
Lead Program Manager for Fundamentals

Comments (12)
  1. Emil says:

    Ars Technica –…/5

    Browser add-ons that behave poorly are a big reason for slow or glitchy browser behavior, and Microsoft is acutely aware that Internet Explorer can be made to look bad when the fault lies with ill-behaved plugins. To that end, the browser will now warn if any slow-loading add-ins are detected, giving the option to disable the problem extensions.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, many of the extensions it warns me about are Microsoft's own; the Bing toolbar and a search extension whose purpose I'm not entirely sure of are routinely fingered on my systems as being slow to load. Though I can easily decide that I don't want the Bing bar, I have no idea if I want the search helper or not. It would be nice if Microsoft could use its own performance data to inform its own teams about which slow code they need to fix.

  2. Aryeh Gregor says:

    Probably everyone's commenting on it because of how visible it is — it's the first thing you notice when you start the browser.  My reaction was similar: this is a really nice feature.  Firefox should add it ASAP.  I don't know if other browsers are typically slowed by extensions enough to warrant this, but Firefox gets a lot slower if you pile on extensions.

  3. JB says:

    Sure it's a nice feature, but I use an add-on that frequently gets reported when I launch IE9. I get it… the add-on is a little slow… but I still want to use it. I'd appreciate if it stopped bugging me about it every time.

  4. Don Reba says:

    To be honest, I find this feature annoying. The warning always pops up when I launch IE with other applications that access internet, which happens often. I don't have any unnecessary plugins, it is just wasting my time.

  5. DT says:

    If the addons you're wanting to use are slow enough to trigger the dialog, why don't you just increase the amount of time it's set to trigger on?

  6. ken says:

    Nice to see such a humble post…

    This is a step in the right direction, although I'd also be in favor of making it harder for applications to sneak in IE addons during software installs for unrelated products. I can catch them, but my parents never do. Removing addons from their IE is a monthly job.

  7. Bing Bloat Bar says:

    Not the IE9 team's fault but please work with the Bing Bar guys to make it THE fastest addon for IE. It's so horribly bloated, esp os slightly slower computers like netbooks. Bing Bar slows IE9 maximum.

  8. Herman [MSFT] says:

    @ken: There's another change to the add-ons experience: IE9 notifies you when new add-ons are installed to ensure that only the ones given your explicit consent can run in the browser. See my earlier post for more information:…/add-ons-staying-in-control-of-your-browsing-experience.aspx

  9. ken says:

    Herman, very nice! Sorry I missed that. I just recently subscribed to the RSS feed for this blog, and haven't had a chance to catch up on all of the historical posts. Thanks for the info.

  10. Rob^_^ says: – they have Addon Hell too. FX4b… all addons disabled… v.g.

  11. john barker says:

    doing good so far i been runing on facebook it hack all over so it gets a work out  no trouble any where else it does good  i lke it real well  i have trouble get it info download  but i was ask to let them follow me on it so they might not need the download  no bug so far except facebook and that the  hacker cause it done it on 8 to so it find john

  12. Mike Dimmick says:

    @Bing Bloat Bar: just uninstall it and use the One Bar. I haven't used search toolbars since the search box was added in IE 7 Beta 2.

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