Build a better browser

CHOICE Computer's pick of the best add-ons for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome
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02.Internet Explorer


The current version is Internet Explorer 9, and if you don’t already have it running, Windows Update will usually prompt you to upgrade. IE 9 is only available on Windows 7 however and has a more streamlined design, fewer dialog boxes and more intuitive navigation. It also aims to be faster – a major criticism of previous versions from Microsoft. For older computers running Windows XP you can still use IE 8, and the following plugins should work with both versions.

Installing add-ons

From the browser click Tools > Manage Add-ons, to bring up the Manage Add-ons window. This is the place to set options, or deactivate or de-install add-ons you currently have. Now click Find more toolbars and extensions (bottom left) and IE will load the add-ons website. Browse to the ones you want to install and click Add to Internet Explorer.

The pick


displays an icon next to the websites on your search engine pages; hover the mouse over the icon to see a pop-up preview of the page before you commit yourself.

WOT (Web of Trust)

rates the links in your search pages for safety, based on collected data from other users. The rating appears as traffic lights alongside the web-site before you follow the link.

World Clock Search

provides ready access to the time anywhere in the world, so you can make sure that Skype call isn’t going to disturb someone’s beauty sleep!


provides an encrypted, on-line repository for all your passwords. It provides a more secure alternative to IE’s own password file and with just a click, will take you to a website, enter your user name and password and sign in for you with your own details.


is a boon for the socially connected, bringing your Twitter, Facebook, Skype and all those other messenger services into a single browser-based viewer. You can not only see all those messages coming in, but send out your replies from each one without leaving the browser.


is an easy to use online conversion service that can also be accessed through this add-on. You can use it to download files and convert them to the format you want, whether it’s a Youtube video to WMV, an image to JPG, or that old classic of turning a word file into a PDF.


can disable ads, block Flash, perform searches and spell-checks, and run customised scripts (obtainable from against the webpages you’re looking at and more. It’s a veritable swiss-army knife for IE, and works in IE 8 and 9 too.

Stumble upon

learns what your interests are and suggests links to sites you might like based upon the likes of people with similar interests to your own. It’s a great way to find sites you might not otherwise know about.


automatically backs up and synchronises bookmarks and favourites between your computers. Just bring up the browser at home or work, and you can access the same bookmarks wherever you are.

Mouse Gestures

lets you perform common operations like scroll forward and backward just by moving the mouse, generally with the left button held down. There’s a whole series of defined actions, plus others you can add yourself.


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