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Internet Explorer 10 - Essential add-ons

Quality add-ons for Internet Explorer are few and far between, but we did find nine noteworthy candidates

Quality add-ons for Internet Explorer are few and far between. Unlike Chrome or Firefox, there just isn’t as large a community of independent developers devoted to creating useful enhancements for Microsoft’s web browser. Newer versions of IE have rendered many older add-ons obsolete. Others are actually shareware that allow for free use only during trial periods, which you find out are in fact this after you’ve gone through the trouble of installing them. But we did find nine noteworthy candidates.

DoNotTrackMe

WHAT IT DOES: Block online tracking.

IE10 has a “do not track” option buried within its settings. So installing this add-on might be redundant. But DoNotTrackMe could be useful if you want the option to restrict or allow a specific site’s ability to track your surfing. It installs as an indicator on the toolbar that shows a real-time tally of companies it’s blocking from following you.

IE Asterisk Password Uncover

WHAT IT DOES: Recovers passwords.

This may be considered the opposite of security. But it’s handy if you forget passwords to the sites you visit. If you have IE set to allow it to save your passwords, then the password field of a web page you’ve already visited and entered a password will show asterisks in place of the actual password. This add-on will reveal the hidden password.

KeyScrambler Personal

WHAT IT DOES: Anti-keylogging.

This add-on may appeal most to the paranoid user, but considering how common it still is for Windows computers to get infected with malware, it may be a safe measure to install. KeyScrambler Personal adds an extra layer of security. It thwarts malware, or keylogging security software, from recording your keystrokes by encrypting the characters as you type.

Enterra Download Manager

WHAT IT DOES: Manage downloads

One thing lacking across all the major web browsers is how they handle downloads. Typically, you just get a pop-up window that shows progress bars for files being downloaded. There are hardly any alternatives for IE, so thank goodness for Enterra Download Manager. It can resume most downloads that have been interrupted by a spotty network connection.

Xmarks

WHAT IT DOES: Synchronizes and backs up bookmarks

With the Xmarks add-on installed, your bookmarks will be automatically backed up to the cloud (on the Xmarks company’s servers), and they’ll be synced to your other computers or mobile devices that have browsers with Xmarks installed on them, too. (There are versions of Xmarks also for Chrome, Firefox and Opera, so your bookmarks can be cross-synced among any of these other browsers you may be using.) It’s a little surprising that Microsoft doesn’t offer such syncing directly for IE through its own service - Google and Mozilla do for their browsers - but they do through Windows 8 as a function for that overall OS’ ecosystem.

Readability

WHAT IT DOES: Unclutters web pages

Readability is a web service that you can add to IE10 as a bookmarklet, which then lets you remove extraneous elements (images and text) surrounding the main body of words in a web page layout. The result should make reading the text you really want to read more legible and free of visual clutter.

Pictures Toolbar

WHAT IT DOES: Downloads images in bulk

There are other image downloader add-ons for IE that are designed to make it easy for you to download at once all the images on a web page, or links to images listed on it. We really like Pictures Toolbar because it stands out for two very important reasons: It’s the easiest to use. And it’s free - most of the others are shareware with confusing, bloated feature sets.

Fireshot

WHAT IT DOES: Captures web page screenshots

This is the only add-on in this slideshow that is shareware (you’ll have to pay $34.95 after a free 30-day trial), but it could be worth it if you need to snip images from web page a lot. There are plenty of free screengrab tools out there for Windows, but Fireshot can grab a web page’s entire layout as a single image. In contrast, most standalone screenshot programs are designed for grabbing what you see on your computer’s screen, or a user-selected portion of it.

ZoomInto

WHAT IT DOES: Edits online images

If you need to do some minor editing of online images, ZoomInto lets you do so easily and quickly. Right-click on an image embedded in a web page, and you can then adjust its brightness, colours or contrast; or add text to, crop, flip, resize, or rotate it. The finished image is then stored locally on your computer.

  • DoNotTrackMe
  • IE Asterisk Password Uncover
  • KeyScrambler Personal
  • Enterra Download Manager
  • Xmarks
  • Readability
  • Pictures Toolbar
  • Fireshot
  • ZoomInto
  • Play
  • Play
  • Backward
  • Forward

Xmarks

WHAT IT DOES: Synchronizes and backs up bookmarks

With the Xmarks add-on installed, your bookmarks will be automatically backed up to the cloud (on the Xmarks company’s servers), and they’ll be synced to your other computers or mobile devices that have browsers with Xmarks installed on them, too. (There are versions of Xmarks also for Chrome, Firefox and Opera, so your bookmarks can be cross-synced among any of these other browsers you may be using.) It’s a little surprising that Microsoft doesn’t offer such syncing directly for IE through its own service - Google and Mozilla do for their browsers - but they do through Windows 8 as a function for that overall OS’ ecosystem.

Quality add-ons for Internet Explorer are few and far between. Unlike Chrome or Firefox, there just isn’t as large a community of independent developers devoted to creating useful enhancements for Microsoft’s web browser. Newer versions of IE have rendered many older add-ons obsolete. Others are actually shareware that allow for free use only during trial periods, which you find out are in fact this after you’ve gone through the trouble of installing them. But we did find nine noteworthy candidates.

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