How to Fix the 'Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working' Error

Get your web browser working again

When Internet Explorer displays an error message that says "Internet Explorer has stopped working," there are a few ways to get it running again.

This problem can occur on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 computers, and the possible solutions here apply only to Internet Explorer (not Microsoft Edge). Microsoft no longer updates or supports Internet Explorer. Before you attempt to fix the error, consider updating to Microsoft Edge or another current web browser instead.

Causes of the 'Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working' Message

As with many Windows issues, the problem typically comes down to programs being unable to access specific library files known as DLLs (dynamic-link libraries). These allow programs to communicate, share data, and function properly, but when these files are damaged or misplaced, applications cease to function.

The error also can stem from damaged cache files and incompatible plug-ins.

Computer systems error message on screen, digital composite.
Lucas Racasse / Getty Images

How to Fix 'Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working' Errors

Troubleshooting the most likely culprits could fix the issue so you can get back to your favorite online content.

  1. Update Windows and Internet Explorer. The issues you're facing might have been addressed and fixed in a previous update. As a result, it is critical to ensure you have the latest version of Windows installed on your PC.

  2. Reset Internet Explorer settings. Resetting Internet Explorer to its default settings can remove modifications that cause the browser to slow down or stop working altogether.

    A reset disables any added toolbars, resets the homepage, deletes all web history, clears all saved passwords, and requires you to log back in to all your websites.

  3. Disable add-ons. Open Internet Explorer and manually disable all add-ons. If this solution fixes the problem, then you know one of the third-party add-ons is affecting your browsing experience. Re-enable add-ons one by one, checking to see if the error returns. If it does, disable that particular add-on permanently.

  4. Reset Security Zones. Microsoft Internet Explorer follows a strict set of security rules when accessing the web. These rules occasionally break down, thereby causing issues.

  5. Disable software acceleration. Internet Explorer can take advantage of software rendering to improve your browsing experience. However, if your system isn't correctly configured or has graphics issues, this setting could exacerbate the problem.

  6. Run a Windows troubleshooter. Using a troubleshooting tool built into Windows could find and fix the issue that caused Internet Explorer to stop working.

Still Running Into Problems?

If you can't find the root of the problem, use a different web browser such as the Microsoft Edge browser or alternatives such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

If you can't (or don't want to) diagnose and fix the issue, consider getting help from a reputable repair service. Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer and contacting their customer service department is unlikely to help.