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Add-ons can slow down your browser 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Install Lots Of Browser Extensions [Opinion] 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Install Lots Of Browser Extensions [Opinion] We all love our browsers, and we all love the extensions that you can install with them. We love browser extensions because they allow us to do what we want our browser to do that... Read More . Wouldn’t you like to identify the culprits?

The average MakeUseOf reader has 1-20 browser add-ons installed How Many Add-Ons Do You Have Installed On Your Browser? [MakeUseOf Poll] How Many Add-Ons Do You Have Installed On Your Browser? [MakeUseOf Poll] The browsing world is divided into two groups: add-on lovers and add-on haters. Well, OK, not everyone loves or hates add-ons, but there are strong opinions on how good or bad it is to have... Read More . Depending on the number and type of add-ons, this can have a significant effect on your browser. So unless you’re one of the rare types, you probably know what I’m talking about.

One solution is indeed to avoid add-ons all together, and use bookmarklets Stop Installing Browser Add-ons - For a Faster, Leaner Browser Use Bookmarklets Instead Stop Installing Browser Add-ons - For a Faster, Leaner Browser Use Bookmarklets Instead Read More to achieve many of the same effects. But wouldn’t it be great if you could know for sure which add-ons are OK to use, and which ones are slowing you down? You can do this by disabling all your add-ons and adding them back one by one, or you could give Guardius a try.

Guardius? Is That Yet Another Add-On?

Not quite. Guardius is not a browser add-on but an actual desktop program you need to install (fancy, I know). It’s currently in closed, invite-only beta, but the developers were generous enough to provide us with some exclusive invites just for you. You can find out more on how to get yours at the end of this article. But first, let’s see what Guardius is all about.

Before You Get Started

Even before that, though, I’d like to emphasize again that Guardius is still very much in beta. Since this is a service that uses crowdsourcing as its means of operation, it will naturally get more powerful the more users it has. At the moment, Guardius is not as useful as it could be, but the idea behind it is a good one, which led me to trying it out and writing this article.

Don’t expect miracles right off the bat. As with every successful product, we need to be patient here too. The cool thing is that you can start using it right now (if you get hold of one of our invites), and watch as it develops from sort of useful to amazingly useful.

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Getting Started With Guardius

The installation process is quick and easy, but don’t get confused by the post-installation instructions. These tell you to look for Guardius on the bottom right corner of your browser window. It’s not there.

guardius-1

Like I mentioned earlier, Guardius is not a browser add-on, it’s a desktop program, and as such, you’ll find it in your system tray, where you can double click its icon and see how your browsers are doing.

guardius-2

Guardius works with Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer, and will display information for any of the three you have installed. For each browser, you’ll see how its speed compares to other users, and what add-ons or toolbars might be slowing it down. This data comes from analyzing what other users have removed and how it affected their browsers.

guiardius-4

Using the dropdown menu on top, you can switch between your browsers, if you use multiple ones. For each, you might or might not get recommendations to remove add-ons and toolbars.

The Good

Despite having to restart your browser to get Guardius to detect new add-ons, it will sometimes automatically pop up and tell you that this or that add-on might be slowing you down.

guardius-5

If it does find something, you can hit “More Details” to see the culprits, and get a better understanding of what these recommendations are based on. In this case, it seems that 171,842 users recommend that I turn off Photo Zoom for Facebook.

guardius-6

Saying that these users “recommend” might be a bit misleading; users don’t actually get to say anything in this process, it’s all automatic. You can’t actually recommend anything to anyone, but if you remove an add-on and things get better, it does this for you automatically.

The Bad

See that “turn it off” button on the screenshot above? Well, it does nothing, at least on my system. While Guardius did provide several recommendations, I couldn’t manage to turn off anything using its interface. It would say that it turned it off, ask me to restart by browser, but when I looked at my add-ons, the culprit was still there.

Not only that, but Guardius kept telling me I should remove it and prompted me to do so. After a chat with the Guardius team, I discovered that Guardius doesn’t support Window 8, which is why my add-ons were not getting removed. In fact, it only supports Windows 7 at this time. Not ideal, but at least I have the information and can remove it manually if I decide to.

The other significant problem with Guardius is that it’s pretty bare on information at the moment. I enabled every add-on I’ve ever used or tried, and all Guardius could provide was information on one measly add-on. Not very impressive, but this is bound to improve as the user base expands.

Guardius also messed up some hotkeys on my system, but this might be unique to my setup, or might be due to its Windows 8 incompatibility.

OK, I Want In!

Guardius is not perfect, but it’s still in closed beta, so that’s only to be expected. If you’re comfortable with trying out beta products, this is definitely one you want to check out. Don’t worry, it’s not going to mess up with anything, the worst it can do in its current state is give you no recommendations, but you will be joining the user base, and will help others make good decisions about their add-ons and toolbars.

The normal wait time for a Guardius invite is 1-2 weeks. We have a unique download link for Guardius that will get you the app immediately, no wait necessary. The link is only valid for 100 downloads, so hurry up and get yours!

Download Guardius <- Note that this link will start downloading the installer immediately. This is a Windows download, Mac version is on the way.

[Update: some users were having trouble with installation. The developers fixed the issue, and the installer should work now. If you’re not running Windows 7, Guardius might still work, but is not yet officially supported.]

How do you deal with too many add-ons? Do you have a good system that helps you discover problematic add-ons? Managed to grab a copy of Guardius and want to share your experiences? Leave a comment below.

  1. R1ckr011
    September 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Sure what the hell Gimme one XD

    BTW:
    comment constructively,
    stay on the subject of the article, and
    respect the opinions of others

    Needs to be on Every Webpage in Existence. Kudos for doing it on all of yours.

  2. Ajay
    August 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Cool... I ll Like to try it out!!!

  3. Got It!!
    August 21, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Hey, this product is not available yet BUT I've managed to get an invitation for it beta (coming soon) on their website:
    go to http://guardi.us

  4. Louis W
    August 21, 2013 at 5:31 am

    It's not really useful right now, it really only works for popular addons as well.

  5. Fik of borg
    August 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Got flagged by my antivirus (Eset NOD32) as potentially unwanted app with a variant of Win32/SweetIM.C. Deleting and going back to disabling extensions manually.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Not sure why NOD32 is flagging it. It's a false positive, it's not flagged on my system or with any other AV I know of.

      • Fik of borg
        August 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        Anyway, I tried to install it in a "disposable" PC and did not install. Downloaded again, same results...

        • Yaara Lancet
          August 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm

          Might be a compatibility issue? The beta only officially supports Windows 7 for now.

        • Fik of borg
          August 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm

          Nope. Both machines are Win 7 pro 64

        • Yaara Lancet
          August 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm

          Hmm, I'm officially out of suggestions... not sure why it's not working for you. Sorry! I would have suggested trying to download it again, but the invites are already gone.

          I guess you can try it when it's officially out. :)

        • Fik of borg
          August 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm

          Most of your suggestions are useful, no big deal if just one doesn't work for one reader. Keep'em coming.

  6. Ankush K
    August 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Tried this on Win 7 64 bit
    Installed Fine, one click set up.
    Tested on Firefox 22.0 (I need to update)

    But was quite surprised by its findings. It says that it the browser speed is fast. (which although is actually, barring few hanging instances on data intensive websites.)
    But was surprised that although I have 48 extensions installed with 30 active, none of which it recommended to turn off. Not sure that salutes my extension choosing prowess or a poweruser while using firefox for past eight years. LOL

    A screenshot of its findings-
    http://go.ankush.co/fxjwx

    Thanks a lot for the free beta testing link.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      Yes, like I mentioned in the post, there aren't too many findings for now, but it should get better the more users they have. It's crowdsourced, after all. It didn't have too many findings on my browsers either.

  7. Pierre B
    August 20, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks MakeUseOf for the invite!

  8. Waldo
    August 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Did you read the privacy policy for this thing? It's a nightmare! No thanks, I'll pass on this one.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Yes, it's not for the privacy fanatics, but it's nothing worse than most things we use daily. Should you use services that collection information? That's a whole different ball game, and not a question I will attempt to answer here.

  9. Jenny
    August 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Guardius.exe - Entry point not found Can't get any further than this after download. No icon in toolbar.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      What version of Windows are you running?

  10. Jenny
    August 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Guardius.exe - Entry point not found

    Can't get any further than this after download. No icon in toolbar.

  11. Nikola K
    August 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    NOD32 is detecting it as Win32/SweetIM.C

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Sounds like a false positive to me. No problems on my system.

  12. Sagar
    August 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Installed It
    No Problem Found

  13. Burl
    August 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Just tried again, issue seems resolved, install success. Look forward to testing, thanks MakeUseOf, and to Guardias as well.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Great, glad to hear it!

  14. TechnoAngina
    August 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Downloaded and installed fine for me.

    Windows 7 64-bit Professional
    Dell E5430
    11:36AM EST

  15. Gary
    August 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I clicked the download link and it is an exe file, is there a mac version? Perhaps you should put that it is a link for windows (next to the download link). I inadvertently "wasted" a download because I am a mac user.

    Is there a mac version?

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      A Mac version is coming soon, as far as I know. If you didn't actually download it, I don't think you wasted one, but you're right, it should be clearer.

  16. Jan M
    August 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I guess no-one was able to install this. Did you try this out or did you just believe the publisher for it? #sucks

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      I definitely tried it. Not sure why it's failing. Will get the developers on this ASAP.

  17. Atanu
    August 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Installation fails.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      I'm in touch with the developers about this, trying to find out what's going on. Sorry for your trouble, hopefully they respond here soon.

      • Atanu
        August 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

        Tried again. Successfully installed. Thank you :)

        • Yaara Lancet
          August 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

          Great!

  18. Debra Brown
    August 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    This sounds like it could become very useful as it grows. Thanks for all the good info. As a beginner geek, i find your stuff easy to understand and use.

  19. James
    August 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    It downloads an .exe file which is doen't work for macs. Any link to download directly from mac chrome ?

  20. A&L
    August 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Failed here too
    http://i.imgur.com/Ck2Zwga.jpg

    speedyfox works good for me
    http://www.crystalidea.com/speedyfox

  21. Les Siewert
    August 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Absolutely wouldn't install even after I quit as many processes as possible, multiple attempts.

  22. Bruce S
    August 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Downloaded and attempted install. Get a warning message that all browsers must be closed. closed all. Installation failed, told to try again later.
    a) is this a real problem or
    b) does this mean I wasn't one of the 100
    inquiring minds want to know.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      I'm in touch with the developers trying to find out what's going on. Will update as soon as I have news.

      • Bruce S
        August 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm

        Just successfully installed after changing internet connections. Thanks for the download!

        • Yaara Lancet
          August 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm

          That's great! Thanks for letting me know. There seems to be a problem with the link, they're working on fixing it now.

  23. Bruce
    August 20, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Downloaded and attempted install. Get a warning message that all browsers must be closed. closed all. Installation failed, told to try again later.
    a) is this a real problem or
    b) does this mean I wasn't one of the 100
    inquiring minds want to know.

  24. Andy R
    August 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Installation failing for me.

  25. John P
    August 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for the offer but installation fails. I downloaded as soon as it hit FB so surely the 100 seats haven't gone already? Am I right in understanding that if the download works, it should install yes?
    Or is it the first 100 installs rather than downloads?

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Did you try again? There was a problem with the installer, but it should be fixed now.

      • John P
        August 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        Yes, i tried again this morning and it seems to have installed fine. Thank you.

  26. Amar
    August 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    downloaded the installer and when i run, it says the installation was unsuccessful. does it mean it has already reached 100 dl's?

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Trying to find out, will let everyone know soon.

  27. Burl
    August 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Installation fails, multiple attempts.

    • Andy R
      August 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Same here.

    • Yaara Lancet
      August 20, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Sorry about that, trying to find out what's going on.

  28. Alejo
    August 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Awesome! Thanks MakeUseOf, I'll try this one out.

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