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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making Internet Explorer load lightning fast

I have been using Internet Explorer as my main browser since IE 3.0 and usually I have no problem with it. I know the rendering engine is a piece of crap, but I got used to the feel of it and the developer tools in IE8 are nice and FireFox just rubbed me the wrong way, so that was that.

But since Internet Explorer 7 upwards, and especially with IE8, the first loading of the browser got slower and slower. So slow, in fact, that I have to wait several seconds for the browser to allow me to use the address bar. No wonder I have been slowly using Chrome for searching and reading the news and all that.

Today I got kind of annoyed with it and started looking into the Internet Explorer options. An advanced one was Enable third-party browser extensions and I removed it, just to see what it would do. Suddenly I had no Google toolbar (but I don't use it anyway, since I enter all my searches in the address bar), Flash worked, the pages worked, the internal IE8 developer tools worked. The only difference is that Internet Explorer would load instantly!

Ok, that would work as a last option, but I got intrigued so I enabled the option again and went into the Manage Add-ons section. I haven't being paying attention before, but each add-on in the list also has displayed the loading time. I looked around and I found Groove GFS Browser Helper that loaded in ... 8.2 seconds! Disabled it: almost instant browser loading. Two other addons had over one second load time, both of them from Sun and related to Java (which almost no one uses anymore in web pages). Disabled them and now I have my browser back! Just for the sake of it I googled for Java Applet and went to a site with a Java on it. Amazingly, the applets all worked! So the addons themselves were not responsible for loading Java, they were just useless junk.

But what is this Groove thing? Is it some malignant Microsoft rival that purposefully makes its browser addon load slower as to sabotage Internet Explorer (hint! hint!). It appears not. As it usually happens, the greatest enemy of Microsoft is Microsoft itself: Groove comes from Microsoft Office 2007!

What does Groove Syncronization do? Microsoft Office Groove was designed for document collaboration in teams with members who are regularly off-line or who do not share the same network security clearance. In other words: nothing useful. Even better, the whole groovy thing can be easily uninstalled, which I also did.

To uninstall Groove go to Add or Remove Programs, look for the Microsoft Office entry, click on Change, remove Groove. That's it!

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