Internet Explorer has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last few versions, and it’s now a speedy and sophisticated web browser on a performance par with Google Chrome and Firefox. If you’re using the latest version 11 and it seems slow, however, there are a few things you can do to restore its performance.

Check out the video above to find out more.

Tip 1: Empty the cache

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All web browsers save temporary files to avoid downloading the certain parts of web pages repeatedly when they haven’t changed between visits, such as logos and other images. These are stored in the browser cache and they can sometimes be responsible for a web site not downloading correctly.

To clear the cache, click the cog icon at the top-right of the Internet Explorer 11 window (both for Windows 7 and the Windows 8 Desktop application) and select Internet Options. Then click the Delete… button on the General tab under Browsing history, followed by the Delete button on the new dialog box that opens.

Tip 2: Close unused tabs

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Having too many open tabs in Internet Explorer can also slow things down — though how many is ‘too many’ depends on how much memory your PC has and what other programs are running. Close any programs you aren’t using first, then close unwanted Internet Explorer tabs and windows. Restarting Internet Explorer can also free up PC memory.

Tip 3: Remove unused add-ons

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Internet Explorer 11’s ‘add-ons’ add extra features to certain web sites and services. It’s easy to install these inadvertently and having too many can slow down web browsing. Check which add-ons are installed by clicking the cog icon at the top-right of the Internet Explorer window and selecting Manage add-ons. Under Add-on Types in the left of the dialog box that opens, look under Toolbars and Extensions and Accelerators. If there’s an add-on here you don’t recognise or want, select it in the right of the window and click the Remove button at the bottom of the dialog box.

Tip 4: Clean up your hard drive

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Performing a routine clean-up of your PC’s hard drive can also help speed things up. Checking your hard drive for errors, deleting unwanted temporary files and defragmenting can make a surprising difference to all programs, not just Internet Explorer. Take a look at our guide cleaning up your PC for more information.

Tip 5: Check for malware

 

Online malware is a common cause of slow web browsing, since it often interferes with the way web pages download and appear. Internet Explorer 11 has built-in filters for this, which is one good reason to upgrade if you’re still using an older version of the browser. Malware can still slip onto your PC by other means, however, so installing and using anti-malware software on a regular basis is essential to keep your computer safe.

Windows offers free anti-malware software in the shape of Windows Security Essentials for Windows 7 or you can use BT Virus Protect which is free for all broadband customers for broader protection when web browsing.

Tip 6: Check if a web site is working

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If a web site won’t load at all, you can check that it’s not just your browser that’s to blame by entering the web address into www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com.

Tip 7: Install an optimised version of Internet Explorer

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If you find Internet Explorer is slow with certain BT.com services, such as BT Mail, try installing the free BT-optimised version of Internet Explorer 11. It uses search.bt.com as your homepage and has built-in links for BT.com, BT Mail and My BT.