Browser Crashes: Add-ons a Problem for IE8, Firefox Sees 40% Stability Increase
Article by George Norman
On 13 Apr 2010
The two biggest names from the browser world are Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox. The two browsers hold the biggest bit of the market share. Just because they have a lot of users does not meant they are not prone to accidents – like annoying crashes.

Redmond-based software giant Microsoft recently announced that the stability of its Internet Explorer 8 browser is affected by add-ons. As Microsoft explained, 70% of all crashes are caused by add-ons. Which would mean that only in 30% of cases it is IE8’s own fault for crashing.


“Although browser add-ons can add great new features to your browser, they can also introduce performance issues if written poorly. Add-ons cause most browser crashes, accounting for over 70 percent of Internet Explorer 8's crashes. Slowdowns in Internet Explorer 8 are very often caused by add-ons—especially when you open a new browser window or tab,” explains Microsoft in a white paper entitled “Enhancing the performance of Windows Internet Explorer 8.”

The average IE8 user has 5 to 6 add-ons installed. In the whitepaper Microsoft lists the top 20 most popular IE add-ons as of July 2009:
  1. Google Toolbar
  2. Windows Live Sign-in Helper
  3. Adobe Acrobat Reader
  4. Windows Live Toolbar
  5. Yahoo! Toolbar
  6. Java Plug-in
  7. Thunder Download Manager
  8. KingSoft Browser Shield
  9. AVG Security Toolbar
  10. Skype
  11. Norton Internet Security
  12. McAfee VirusScan
  13. Kapersky Internet Security
  14. MSN Toolbar
  15. QQ Toolbar
  16. Baidu Toolbar
  17. AskBar
  18. Google Browser Address Error Redirector
  19. Spybot Search and Destroy
  20. Adware.StickyPops

Moving on to the Mozilla Foundation and its Firefox browser, the company recently announced that Firefox has seen a 40% improvement in stability over the past 5 months. The stability improvement is due to Mozilla’s ongoing effort to make Firefox a more stable platform.

“Improving Firefox stability was a top level objective of the Mozilla community during the last few months of 2009. That effort was led by a variety of folks across a wide breath of the community… people who saw the many complaints about crashes, collected the data, figured out what was causing the most pain, addressed those issues (sometimes in code, sometimes by working with partners) and saw product improvements,” explained Mozilla’s Ken Kovash.

The stability improvement is also due to the fact that the crashy nature of Firefox 3.5 was addressed and by the fact that a lot of Firefox users switched to Firefox 3.6, the latest and most stable version.

Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, IE, Add-ons, Mozilla, Firefox
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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