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Posts Tagged ‘add-ons’

MS Fix It Center and Add-ons

I have been having a problem with the MS Fix It Center. I visited the center because Internet Explorer 8 frequently “hangs” during a page download. Sometimes it will eventually respond but most often I get impatient and just close it and try again. A pop-up takes me to the Fix It Center – Automated Troubleshooters for Your PC. The two troublesome “Fix Its” are Internet Explorer Add-On and IE Performance and Safety. When launched, the programs run for a number of seconds and then stop and the error message, “The troubleshooter has experienced an unexpected error and cannot continue” is displayed. The “scan results” indicate that a number of add-ons are “defective.” Any suggestions or is there a better way to detect and repair defective add-ons?

The MS Fix It Center is supposed to help you solve the problems that you are having with your computer; however, it can sometimes have its own troublesome issues due to the existing problems with your computer. With the MS Fix It Center, you are supposed to be able to run the fix and solve the problem almost effortlessly. Unfortunately, it sounds as though this isn’t the case for you.

Standard Strategies to Restore Internet Explorer to Proper Working Order

If you haven’t already tried each of the following strategies, please do so. It is possible that one or more of them is causing your computer problems. Corrupted files, spyware, viruses, and incompatible add-ons can all create problematic issues.

•Clean the registry
•Defrag the computer
•Scan for spyware and viruses
•Make sure that you have the latest update for IE 8
•Clear the Internet Cache
•If you recently updated your IE 8, make sure that you re-enabled your Java add-on.
•Make sure that you don’t have too many tabs open on the browser
•Check to see that you have sufficient memory
•Remove Adobe Flash Player and see if your Internet Explorer works. Make sure you get the latest version when re-installing it.
•Run the Windows uninstaller

Trial and Error Troubleshooting of Add-ons

You may want to boot up in Safe Mode and use IE 8 without any add-ons at all or you can disable all add-ons using these directions:

•Click Start
•Select All Programs
•Select Accessories
•Select System Tools
•Select Internet Explorer (no add-ons)

Now, you can turn your add-ons back on one at a time to try and figure out which one is causing the problem. Most likely, the specific add-on that you added or updated right before the problem began is causing the problems that you are experiencing. Simply turn one disabled add-on back at a time and see what happens when you try to use IE 8 or the MS Fix It Center. If you aren’t currently using an add-on, consider leaving it disabled until you need it.

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Internet Explorer Opens Slowly

My Internet Explorer is slow to open in Windows XP. Can you recommend a procedure to overcome this?Celeste Stewart

Internet Explorer and Add-ons

It sounds like perhaps an add-on is interfering with Internet Explorer's ability to open quickly. Add-ons are additional pieces of the program that enhance the browser's functionality. For example, Internet Explorer on its own is quite basic. It can't play videos unless a media player add-on is added allowing it to do so. Similarly, it can't display PDF files inside the browser window unless the Adobe add-on is added.

How are Add-ons Added?

Many of these add-ons are added the first time you try to use a function requiring the add-on. You may be prompted with a message to allow the add-on to be installed. You may be familiar with toolbars such as the Google Toolbar. These are often added in conjunction with software installations, sometimes by default. Other add-ons are added in conjunction with a hardware install. For example, your printer may add an add-on to make it easier to print Web pages.

Add-ons and Load Times

Because each add-on is its own little mini-program that must load each time you load Internet Explorer, add-ons can affect the load time. If your browser has dozens of add-ons, each with its own loading requirements, the load accumulates and it takes Windows Explorer a long time to fully open.

Managing Add-ons

Fortunately, Internet Explorer comes with a built-in tool specifically for managing add-ons and viewing each add-on's load time. Go to Tools> Manage Add-ons > Toolbars and Extensions. Here, you'll see a list of all add-ons. Scroll to the far right and you'll see a column detailing each add-on's load time in seconds. If you see an add-on with an excessive load time, that could be the culprit. If it's non-essential, highlight it and click the "disable" button and you should notice an immediate improvement in Internet Explorer's load time. In fact, you may want to go through the list and consider disabling add-ons that you don't need.

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Internet Explorer without Add-ons

My Internet browser won't let me watch anything or listen to anything. When I click on Explorer it says that Explorer is currently running without add-ons. Under the toolbar it says that my Explorer is running with add-ons disabled. How can I fix this problem?Celeste Stewart

Internet Explorer and Add-ons

Internet Explorer on its own is an extremely basic Web browser. In order to get the most out of Web browsing, add-ons are added to the browser which add additional functionality. Microsoft Windows adds a few add-ons while other add-ons are added by third parties such as Adobe or Sun Microsystems. In some cases, you are prompted before an add-on is added; in others, the add-ons are added without your knowledge.

Internet Explorer No Add-ons

Your computer comes with two versions of Internet Explorer: the normal Internet Explorer and "Internet Explorer No Add-ons."  The Internet Explorer No Add-ons is located in Start> Programs > Accessories > System Tools. This version is used for troubleshooting IE errors. For example, if your Web browser is not functioning as expected, add-ons are often suspected of causing the error. By running with no add-ons, you can test this theory. If the browser works fine without add-ons, then you know that you need to disable each add-on one at a time until you figure out which one is interfering with Internet Explorer.


Since your browser continues to display this message, it's time to look at how you're launching Internet Explorer. Are you using a Desktop shortcut? A shortcut in the Start menu? It's possible that a shortcut was made from the No Add-ons version in which case you'll want to use a different shortcut.

Creating a New Shortcut to Internet Explorer

If you no longer have a legitimate shortcut to Internet Explorer, you can create one by right-clicking the Start button and choosing Explore. Navigate to Program Files and Find Internet Explorer in the list. Right click iexplore.exe and choose one of the following:

  • Pin to Start menu
  • Add to Quick Launch
  • Send to > Desktop
  • Create Shortcut

Pin to Start menu creates a shortcut that displays in the list of favorite programs whenever you click the Start button. Add to Quick Launch creates a shortcut that is found next to the Start button. Send to > Desktop creates a shortcut on the Windows desktop. Create Shortcut creates a shortcut icon within the current folder. From there, you have to drag and drop the shortcut to the desired location.

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What are add-ons?

Celeste StewartInternet Explorer is one of the most common web browsers in existence thanks to its inclusion with the Windows operating system. On its own, it offers numerous features that make browsing the Internet easier than ever. However, starting with Internet Explorer 5, Microsoft allowed for "add-ons" which further enhance the browser. In Internet Explorer, add-ons include ActiveX controls, browser extensions, and browser helper objects. These add-ons often make it easier to perform functions or find information such as toolbars from Google or Yahoo.

Add-ons are used to "personalize" the browsing experience. If you use Internet Explorer, you can find a variety of useful add-ons such as pop-up blockers, customizable start page, pop-up killers, RSS readers, toolbars, and more at the Internet Explorer Add-ons Web site.

Many of these add-ons are completely legitimate though malware programmers have exploited this technology, making it necessary to protect your computer from malicious programming or block ActiveX controls. Most likely, add-ons downloaded directly from the Internet Explorer Add-ons Web site are probably safe. Use your judgment (and follow up with spyware scans) when downloading add-ons from sites that you are unfamiliar with. For example, if you found a site offering free add-ons by following a link in a spam message, it's possible that the promoted add-on could be spyware.

Internet Explorer's Manage Add-ons feature allows you to enable, disable, and remove add-ons. This is useful when you no longer want an add-on or when you suspect that an add-on is causing problems. Remember that add-ons are small programs that require resources in order to run. Whenever you open your browser, you are also opening these programs. Try disabling add-ons to see if by stopping the add-on from running, you are also solving performance problems. If so, consider deleting the add-on completely.

While browser helper objects are exclusive to Internet Explorer, browser extensions are used by other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox. Browser extensions modify existing features or add new features. One popular Firefox extension, AdBlock, actually blocks advertisements from appearing on Web pages. Typical Firefox add-ons include search tools, toolbars, feed readers, dictionaries, download managers, eBay companion tools, and communications tools. You can find Firefox add-ons here.

In Firefox's case, the Web browser is designed to be slim and then personalized with browser extensions and add-ons. For the most part, Firefox users don't have to worry about malicious browser helper objects like Internet Explorer users do. However, downloading lots of programs does lead to potential performance issues, computer errors, and conflicts. If you notice computer errors or sluggish performance after installing an add-on, it's entirely possible that the add-on is to blame. Removing the most recent add-ons should solve the problem. Follow up with a spyware scan to be sure that your computer hasn't been compromised as well.

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