Upgrade for Better Browsing

Browser performance is becoming a bigger issue as browser updates and website advances require new versions – and even new computers. Not upgrading can also present security issues.

The problem we are seeing is a combination of clients with older computers using older versions of their favorite browsers trying to view websites that have advanced features the browsers and computers can’t support. The problem manifests itself when visitors can’t access a site or they can’t move around the site and use all of its features. They also start to see pop-up messages to upgrade their browsers.

We all tend to keep using our older systems and make a lot of allowances until something has to give. In this case, it’s your browser and/or computer. If your computer is not woefully out of date, you likely can upgrade your browser, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Most important, don’t click on an upgrade pop-up message without being absolutely sure it’s a legitimate message. We have not heard of scammers and hackers using this type of pop-up to get your money or your data or both, but if they’re doing it already…

You can always go to the browser publisher’s website (Microsoft, Firefox/Mozilla, Chrome/Google, Apple, etc.) and download a browser upgrade from there. We believe it’s a safer way to do it. If you happen to download more than one upgraded browser, make sure you designate only one as your preferred or default browser. That will ensure that links you click – such as the link from our email message to get to this article – open in the browser you prefer to use.

If your computer cannot support a browser and a website you use, you should consider upgrading your computer. It’s not really an arbitrary suggestion; it’s all about security.

From the website owner’s point of view, they constantly need to incorporate new software to cover multiple platforms, such as Windows or Apple computers and a host of mobile devices. At some point, they just cannot incorporate the software needed to function properly on older browsers and older computers. Some of the reasons may include the ability to perform e-commerce transactions efficiently and securely, the storage of financial and medical records, the protection of encrypted messages and vulnerability to a variety of attacks.

Those needs take into account legal and insurance issues that affect their decisions about the software and systems they use and support. (We will discuss those in a future issue of Technology Update).

For you, the computer user, you need to consider costs – and that goes beyond just the cost of a new computer.

  • What is your cost if you cannot purchase business items online from your preferred vendors?
  • What is your cost if you cannot purchase any items online – personally or for business – because your browser (and computer) may have security risks?
  • What is your cost if you cannot bill customers and clients because of doubts about your security (see Protection in the Third-Party World)?
  • What is your cost if your data is breached?
  • What is your cost if you are found liable for others’ data breaches?

Browser requirements are likely to get tighter as we go deeper into our Internet-based world and as security becomes an even more important concern for website owners. We can help you get the most up-to-date browsers onto your computers, and we can help you plan an orderly upgrade of your personal and commercial systems to take advantage of any possible cost efficiencies. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to help keep your website browsing as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Disabling IE Add-On Messages

Want to get rid of those pesky add-on messages when browsing in IE (Internet Explorer)?  It’s relatively easy, especially if you’re comfortable with editing Windows Registry – but it’s not necessary.

The “Add-on Performance Advisor” feature automatically checks for add-ons, which might slow down IE. But it lets you disable them by showing a popup notification message “Speed up browsing by disabling add-ons” at the bottom-center of IE window.

That popup notification bar has two buttons “Choose add-ons” and “Ask me later”. If you click on “Choose add-ons” button, you’ll see a list of add-ons that might slow down your browser, and it shows a “Disable” button to disable one or all of the add-ons. If you click on the “Ask me later” button, you’ll see the message later. That can be annoying when you use selected add-ons and don’t want to disable any of them.  But there are three ways to get rid of the message.

1. Increase Performance Threshold

  • When the popup notification message appears again, click on the “Choose add-ons” button to open a new window.
  • Go the “Tell me when…” phrase at the bottom of the window, click the dropdown menu, change the time to 10 seconds and click “Done.”

That should effectively disable the message.  If you want to choose to see the pop-up message when you think it would be useful, you can edit Windows Registry.

  • Type regedit in RUN or the Start Menu search box and press Enter to open Registry Editor.
  • Go to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerMAO Settings
  • In the pane on the right side, double-click on “AddonLoadTimeThreshold”. Then, set Base to Decimal and set the value to 10000.
  • Click OK

If you don’t want to change the performance threshold using Registry but do want to open the Add-Ons Performance Advisor message the next time you launch IE, set value of “AddonLoadTimeThreshold” to 1 and delete “SuppressPerfBarUntil” key. That will reset it to appear automatically when you launch IE.

 2. Group Policy Editor

This is a simpler fix to permanently disable the pop-up.

  • Type gpedit.msc in RUN or the Start Menu search box and press Enter to open the Group Policy Editor.
  • Go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Internet Explorer.
  • In the window on the right, double-click on “Disable add-ons performance notifications” and set it to Enabled. (Yes, you are enabling the “disable” capability.)

3. Regedit

We recommend this only if you are an advanced user, and even then, we’d like to be able to walk you through the process. We’ll send you the steps on request and set up an appointment to make the changes.

Whichever method you choose, should you want to eliminate the annoying pop-up message, we’re ready to answer your questions or help you make the change. Just call 973-433-6676 or email us.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.