Saturday, 7 April 2007

How to speed up Internet Explorer 7, IE6 in Windows etc

I've whinged about IE7 being too slow (certainly compared with the fab free Firefox, my fave browser ()) and found a registry tweak which helped.

Now after more digging, there seem to be two main hacks to make browsing via Internet Explorer faster, which apparently (but I've not tried them on anything but IE7) work on IE 6 and even Internet Explorer 4 and IE5 too, and help optimisation of browsing speeds not just on XP, but also previous versions of Windows from Windows 95 up i.e. Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows NT4, though I don't know about Vista - can anyone please tell me if they work on Vista?

These fixes seem to be worth doing again after upgrading to Internet Explorer 7, as the update may have restored your PC back to the previous "slow me down unnecessarily" settings.
Warning: these tips involve changing your Registry, use them at your own risk. Your PC may not start if you muck up the registry so you should always backup your registry or the relevant key first:
  • How to backup whole registry or export a single key?
    (note: for a single key, instead of highlighting the key on the left then using File, Export, you can instead just rightclick the key, then Export, give it a name for saving); to restore a backup doubleclick the exported reg file, if necessary click Run, then Yes & OK.
Tip for quick access to Run: instead of clicking Start, Run, you can just hold down the Win key then press r. (See this post on keyboard shortcuts generally)

Here are the two tweaks together, but be warned that you do this at your own risk and see above about backing up your registry first:
  • Increase the number of simultaneous connections IE makes to a Web server:
    tweak11.reg (from, it sets the no. of connections to a very high number, 50 decimal) UPDATE: seems down so try this link instead.
    • Or you can try this alternative (by the way it means restart IE, rather than the whole PC)
    • How to use .reg files on the Net?: rightclick the link to the .reg file, save to your PC, then find it and doubleclick it (or you can run the reg file by clicking the link direct from IE if you prefer); if necessary click Run, then Yes; then restart IE
  • Stop Windows checking for network shares: this explains exactly how to backup the relevant registry key and then manually delete it; backup first, then if you want the deletion to be automatic you can use this .reg file (see previous bullet on how to use REG files):
    • Apparently Windows scans shared (remote) folders/files across the network, including the internet, for any Scheduled Tasks on the remote computer, before it connects - which delays browsing; deleting this key stops that happening (according to this post)
    • To restore the deleted key use this reg file: restoreSTcheck.reg
    • Stop it checking for printers too? This page suggests deleting the other subkey there, the Printers one, too, to stop your PC checking for printers on the remote computer. I've tried it and it seems OK for me, but do it at your own risk and backup first, etc etc. Here's the reg file to delete it with: deletePrintercheck.reg; and to restore it: restorePrintercheck.reg

Also make Internet Explorer 7 tabs open faster: I also found some more tweaks to speed up Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7), they make tabs open a lot faster.

(Keyboard shortcuts in IE. Being a keyboard shortcut fan, I think this post is a useful summary of keyboard shortcuts in IE, but I prefer ctrl-l for going to new sites as it works in all browsers; and I use that plus "g" to search via Google without visiting their website, "rt" for Rotten Tomatoes film reviews etc via Searchy, which still works with IE7.)

Despite the speed tweaks I've tried, new tabs with ctrl-t still open too excruciatingly slowly in IE 7. Anyone know a tweak for that? UPDATE: I also found some more tweaks to speed up Internet Explorer 7 (IE 7), they make tabs open a lot faster.

And I find that alt-tabbing away from IE7 doesn't work the first time, I have to switch twice or go to a third app then back to IE7 then back to the original 2nd app. Odd. (If anyone else has this issue too I'd like to know, and even more so if you have a fix!).

I've updated my original post to refer to this post and also to add a link to a site I finally found, which had a reg file to get rid of the superfluous IE search box, yay!

Complete aside on speeding up Windows generally

While looking for IE speedup tweaks I found this page also, which has a tip for generally speeding up Windows that's pretty good. So stuff doesn't look as fancy, but it all seems to be going faster.

I'd tried that "Adjust for best performance" tweak a while back but didn't like the outcome visually; however, I think a good compromise is, instead of clicking "Adjust for best performance", clicking Custom and only selecting "Smooth edges of screen fonts" - this means text is easier to read, but the other performance improvements also apply. I'll run with that for a while but I think that strikes a happy balance, for me anyway.


Ian McKenzie said...

Thanks for the link.

Power-Inside said...

Thanks a lot for this! I hope that this IE 7 tricks can speed up my IE 8 RC1 BETA emulated under IE 7.

Anonymous said...

I found that almost all of this works for Vista except that some regisrty keys are named diffrently but the point is that in the end, the tweaks worked! I really see a difference!