How to fix Internet Explorer 8 slow loading, “connecting” message and high CPU usage on startup

How To Fix Internet Explorer 8

How To Fix Internet Explorer 8

So there I was, with two identical Dell OptiPlex GX280s in front of me, both running Windows XP Pro @ service pack 3, a couple of free hours on my hands, and a hankering to try out the new Internet Explorer 8.

Both machines were still running IE6 as the primary browser and Firefox as the secondary – I tried IE7 a few different times and never liked it – , but several other people who used these machines (they are public business center machines at an apartment complex) had been asking for the upgrade so I figured what the hell, surely they’ve worked out the bugs from IE7 by now…

Machine 1 – downloaded and installed Internet Explorer via Microsoft Update. A few minutes and one reboot later, IE8 was up and running. Did some minor configuration to bring up the tabs and dump the default search engine and then took it for a test drive. Aside from some toolbar clutter, it was fine – nice and speedy, started almost instantly, new tabs opened without any noticible delay. I liked it….well, about as much as a Firefox guy can like Internet Explorer….


Machine 2 – just as with machine 1, I downloaded and installed Internet Explorer via Microsoft Update, installed, rebooted then double-clicked the IE icon on the quick launch bar. Then I waited. And waited. IE8 finally opened after maybe 10-15 seconds, but then I got ‘Connecting……” on the first tab. A good 15 seconds after that my default home page finally loaded. I clicked on a new tab, same thing, “Connecting……” for 10-15 seconds and then my home page.

I double-checked my installation, making sure there wasn’t some oddball toolbar or other add-on left over that could be causing trouble. Cleared the cache and temp dirs, uninstalled/reinstalled IE8, ran virus/spyware/malware checks, reset internet explorer settings, all with no improvement.

This machine had been hit with a virus a couple of weeks back, so I was starting to lean towards the possibility of a compromised file somewhere causing all the trouble. Just as I was digging around for the restore disks, it dawned on me that the only difference between the two machines was that I had installed a popular freeware spyware removal program on this one a few weeks back. Even though it was no longer installed, I wondered if its ‘innoculation’ feature may have left something behind that could be causing these new problems.

I googled, and found my answer.

It turns out that Spybot Search and Destroy, and possibly some other spyware/malware removal/prevention programs, load up IE8 with a large number of sites in the restricted zone, which in turn slows IE8 to a crawl on startup and when opening new tabs.

The fix? Remove them.

In an attempt to remove all the sites – and there were a lot – all in one shot, I reinstalled Spybot and then uninstalled it again, but the sites still remained in the restricted sites list. Before resorting to manual removal, I hit google again to see if there was a quick way to remove all the sites from the restricted list at once. The answer came in the form of an .inf file called deldomains.inf , which, as the name sort of implies, removes all domains from the browser’s restricted zone.

So, here are the steps:

  1. Download deldomains.inf from the author’s web site
    (Right-click and select: Save Target As)
  2. Locate and right-click the deldomains.inf file you just downloaded, and in the context menu, click ‘install’

If you get an ‘Unknown Publisher’ warning, click ‘Open’

If everything worked properly – and there’s very little that can go wrong with this procedure – your restricted sites list will be empty and your installation of IE8 shold now be flying right along with no more delays or high CPU usage.


Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.


Pardon my technical ignorance but, once your procedure has been followed, will IE8 slow to a crawl once again after running a SpyBot update?

More importantly, at least to some, after removing the list won’t your system now be more vulnerable? There is, after all, a very good reason for the restricted sites list being incorporated into IE.

It seems to me that MS should take into consideration that users might actually use this feature. There are a lot of bad sites out there. IMHO MS should come up with a fix for this problem that does not require us to accept unneeded vulnerability.

[...] very slowly Hi Ron, Tried your suggestion but it did not work for me, however this one did…ge-on-startup/ Many thanks for your info Teriel9 "Ron Hirsch" <ronhirsch1439> wrote in message [...]

Why does the slow occur just in IE8, not in IE7 or IE6?
Many users are weighing if they go from IE6 (or IE7) to IE8. The facts that IE8 brings a big problem, even if that problem seems to be cured (in one case at least), remains a grave issue: will I need all these weeks of Googling and Trying and Curing for every new flaw that IE8 will bring?

Versailles, Wed 10 Jun 2009 18:24:50 +0200

I found the comments informative. After “upgrading” to IE8 I found it took 2 mins to get IE connected. I use Spybot, and now of course have a dilemna – I do not want to be exposed to known rogue sites, but cannot abide the gluey start. Does Spybot also bless other browsers with its protection from dubious sites?

The real question is why such a list of sites degrades IE startup so much – MS needs to smarten it up!

Meanwhile Chrome is now my default browser.


IE certainly is slow. I use Firefox and often have around 100 tabs open (research) and it is far quicker than IE8 on opening up web pages, including the second time around. Far more useful features available as well, including spell checking as you go… I use the mvps hosts file (, and get almost zero popups or unwanted redirects, but when i hit the back arrow on IE8 then often nothing happens unless i keep at it. In this case clicking on the down arrow shows ad pages which did not load, and this likely accounts for the slow load times as well. FF does not have this problem, and i would rather not use IE8 than delete the restricted sites. I only use IE now as a supplemetary app for organizational purposes. Thank God for Firefox and similar improvements.

Thanks – you put me on the right track. I went into Spybot’s Immunization function and just hit the “Undo” button. I guess that cleared all necessary stuff cause IE8 now loads normally.

I will just have to rely on my other spyware’s active monitoring to protect my system from intrusions.

Thanks so much. Such an easy fix too.

Bingo – thanks man.

Thank you very much… That did it! The IE8 on my little net book loads and connects just as fast as it did when it was new.

This worked great for me. Thanks!

I had this problem on a new installation of Windows 7 Ultimate with IE 8. I went through and disabled all the add-ons and IE 8 loaded very fast. I enabled add-on one by one, and the very last one was the Sun Java Browser Helper. As soon as I enabled that, the initial load of IE crawled. I disabled the Java add-on again and all is well.

Thank you very much MS has never changed it throws stuff out and lets bright people (like yourself) figure out their problems. I had to go back to ex 6.

This is usually caused by IE’s Tools -> Options -> Connections -> LAN Settings -> “Automatically detect settings” being checked. For some reason, figuring out what proxy to use on the network takes forever. Clear the checkbox, and if you have a proxy, type it in below. Otherwise leave the rest of the box unchecked and blank as well.

That should get your first page coming up very fast.

Just bought a new laptop with windows 7 & ie8 installed, not much of anything else. Uninstalled as much junk as I kinew about and installed SPYBOT and a frew other freeware fixes. Systems seems to run as fast as my desk top. Maybe it was the spybot after instl that is the difference..

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.