Browser Tricks to Improve Performance

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Why is it that just when you need to get something from the Internet quickly, your computer seems to grind to a halt? It can be maddening – we’ve all been there.

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When your computer slows down, a number of causes may race through your head. Perhaps the computer is out of memory? Maybe that new software you installed is slowing it down? Could it be that you’ve contracted a virus or spyware? Or maybe you just have a bad Internet connection. If you really are concerned about a virus, spyware or other malware infecting your computer, find help at Internet Security Central.

Otherwise, it’s possible your browser isn’t configured for peak performance. These tricks may not solve all your problems, but they should help get you going in the right direction.

1. Change Your Home Page
This may seem simple, but a graphic-heavy home page, or one with a lot going on in the background, may make your browser take longer to get going. For example, if you have your home page set to a site with a number of large ads, try switching your home page to your favorite search engine and see if that makes a difference.

To do this in Internet Explorer 7 or 8, simply go to the page you want to make your home page and click on the arrow to the right of the Home button, located on the far right hand side of your IE Tab Bar. Select the option labeled Add or Change Home Page and select Use this webpage as your only home page. In Firefox, navigate to the page you want as your home page, click on the icon to the left of the web address and drag it to the Home toolbar button right next to it. Click Yes to confirm.

2. Clear Your Cache
The cache contains details of your browsing history. Images, video, audio files and cookies are stored, presumably to make browsing faster. However, if you have too many temporary files saved on your computer, it will eventually begin to slow down.

To clear your cache and create more space in Internet Explorer 8, click the Tools button on the IE toolbar and select Internet Options. Click Delete under Browsing History and then click Delete one more time.

In Firefox, click Tools, select Options, then Advanced. On the Network tab, click Clear Now in the Offline Storage section.

3. Disable Add-Ons
Sometimes, with or without you knowing it, your browser ends up with add-ons such as extra toolbars, animated mouse pointers, stock tickers or pop-up ad blockers. While add-ons can make your online experience better, they can occasionally interfere or conflict with other software on your computer. Try starting Internet Explorer without add-ons to see if the problem goes away. Click the Start button, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).

In Firefox, you are given the option to Disable all add-ons if you start Firefox in Safe Mode.

4. Disable Graphics in Internet Explorer
This may seem like a drastic measure, but if you are desperate, it works and it is easy.

On the Tools menu, click Internet Options, then the Advanced tab. In the Settings box, scroll down to the Multimedia section. Clear the following boxes and then click Apply.

• Play animations in Web pages
• Play sounds in Web pages
• Play videos in Web pages (Note: This option is not available in Internet Explorer 8)
• Show pictures

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How to Clear Your Cache (And Why You'd Want to)

Clearing away temporary Internet files, otherwise known as a "cache," is a good tip for speeding up your browser and protecting your privacy.

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