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Windows only: If you never want to have to tweak Internet Explorer’s settings again—and there are many, many settings—Backrex Internet Explorer Backup has you covered. The small, step-by-step backup program grabs everything from Internet Explorer 6 or 7, including cookies, add-ons, auto-complete entries, connection settings, and, of course, your favourites .You back it all up to a zip file that’s compressed and, if you’d like, password-protected, and can restore settings in the same click-by-click fashion. The app doesn’t support the Internet Explorer 8 betas from what I can tell, but that may be on the way. BackRex Internet Explorer is a free download for Windows systems only. BackRex Internet Explorer Backup [via gHacks]
Read the hype on every new web browser released or due out this year, and you’ll see claims that every one of them is “faster” than all the others. You could compare super-specific tests and decipher all the code-brain terminology, and you’d still be left wondering which browser starts quicker, uses less memory, and slides through dynamic interfaces like Gmail the fastest. Since our squadron of independent analysts had the week off, we ran the latest editions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera 9.5, and Safari for Windows through some unscientific but highly geeky tests ourselves on a plain old Windows computer. Take a look at the full (and somewhat unexpected) results after the jump.
You already know that Firefox is a superior web browser, but you still have to use Internet Explorer on a daily basis. Whether a stubborn IE-only web site or full-on IT lockdown keeps you from using Firefox, things aren’t as bleak as they seem: You can cram many of Firefox’s best features into the proprietary beast that is Internet Explorer. After the jump, find out how to add bookmark syncing, integrated spell-checking, session management, keyword bookmarks, ad blocking, inline search, undo-closed-tab functionality, and oh-so-much more to IE.
The How-To Geek blog posts a truly helpful guide to figuring out what’s causing Internet Explorer 7 to slow down, particularly on Windows Vista systems. Starting with running IE7 in safe mode, the guide is a boon for anyone not particularly tweak-savvy as it moves through disabling add-ons, confusing options boxes, and all the way to disabling auto-tuning, plus the ultimate fix—unplugging and re-plugging your router, of course. Regardless of skill level, it’s a good forward for anyone you know who can’t/won’t install Firefox and is tired of browsing the Internet at slug-like speeds. (Original auto-tuning post) Troubleshooting Internet Explorer on Vista Locking Up or Running Slowly [The How-To Geek]
Windows only: Add Firefox-style address bar shortcuts with IE Alias, a free add-on for Internet Explorer 7. While address bar alias shortcuts—as in typing “lh” to get to Lifehacker.com—have been available in packages such as IE7Pro (original post), IE Alias’ tool adds the nifty ability to open multiple URLs with the same shortcut, giving Internet Explorer the same kind of “Open All in Tabs” convenience of, well, Firefox. IE Alias is a free download for Windows systems and Internet Explorer 7 only.
Windows/IE7 only: Nothing’s better than heading to a web page to find some information and being greeted with a slow-loading, over-the-top Flash intro, right? For distracting, crash-causing, or otherwise troublesome animated pages, Toggle Flash, a free Internet Explorer 7 add-on, soothes the pain pretty quickly. Once you’ve installed the toolbar button, a single click turns off Flash functionality in the background; click again, hit refresh, and the videos, animations, and other Flash elements return. It’s small, it uses no background memory, and it just works. Toggle Flash is a free download for Windows systems and Internet Explorer 7 only; hit either link below for help getting the button to show up on your toolbar. Toggle Flash [via Simple Help]
Internet Explorer 7 might have some chops when it comes to handling and organizing RSS feeds, but dedicated Google Reader fans don’t get much love from the browser—there’s no option in the interface for adding a feed anywhere but inside IE7′s “Live Bookmarks,” leaving the copy-and-paste job to the user. Alex at the Google Operating System blog points out two makeshift solutions: Install Google Toolbar 5, or add a nifty “Subscribe” bookmarklet to your Links toolbar, provided on Google Reader’s Settings->Goodies page. Both seem far more convenient than digging to find the address of a site’s feed and pasting it into Google Reader’s “Add Subscription” dialog. Add Feeds to Google Reader in Internet Explorer 7 [Google Operating System]
Windows only: Get a find-as-you-type page search function in Internet Explorer that’s almost identical to Firefox’s long-touted feature with a free download from programmer Sven Groot. The IE add-on doesn’t have much in the way of configuration options, but it adds an inline search bar in-between your address bar and tabs, jumping to words and phrases as you find them and turning red if it can’t find the next letter. We’ve previously featured a similar add-on, but Groot’s tool is updated for Vista support, as well as 64-bit downloaders. Find As You Type is a free download for Windows systems only. Find As You Type for Internet Explorer [via gHacks]