How to Reset IE Security Settings to Default Levels

Internet Explorer security settings are located in the browser settings

What to Know

  • Select the Settings Gear or Tools > Internet options > Security > Reset all zones to default level > OK.
  • Close and then reopen Internet Explorer, then try again to visit the websites that were causing your problems.
  • To restore the default settings of just one zone, select that zone and select Default level.

This article explains how to reset Internet Explorer security settings to default levels. These steps apply to IE versions 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer and recommends that you update to the newer Edge browser. Head to their site to download Edge.

How to Reset IE Security Settings to Default Levels

Follow these steps to reset all Internet Explorer security settings back to their default levels.

  1. Open Internet Explorer.

    If you can't find the shortcut on the Desktop, look in the Start menu or on the taskbar, which is the bar at the bottom of the screen between the Start button and the clock.

  2. From the Tools menu (the gear icon at the top right of IE), choose Internet options.

    internet explorer menu

    If you're using an older version of Internet Explorer (here's how to tell), select the Tools menu and then Internet Options.

    See Tip 1 at the bottom of this page for some other ways you can open Internet Options.

  3. Select the Security tab at the top of Internet Options.

  4. Choose Reset all zones to default level, located toward the bottom of the Internet Options window.

    internet explorer with internet options

    See Tip 2 below if you're not interested in resetting the security settings for all the zones.

  5. Select OK.

You can now close and then reopen Internet Explorer. Try again to visit the websites that were causing your problems to see if resetting the Internet Explorer security settings helped.

What Are Internet Explorer Security Settings?

Internet Explorer has a number of security options that you can customize, allowing you to get very specific on what sorts of actions you allow websites to take on your browser and computer.

If you've made several changes to IE security settings and then have problems browsing websites, it can be difficult to determine what caused what.

Worse yet, some software installations and updates from Microsoft can make security changes without your permission. Fortunately, it's very easy to take things back to default.

Tips & More Information

  1. In some versions of Internet Explorer, the Alt key will reveal the traditional menu. You can then use Tools > Internet options to get to the same place as you would when following the steps above.

    internet explorer tools menu

    Another way to open Internet Options without even having to open Internet Explorer is to use the inetcpl.cpl command (it's called Internet Properties when you open it this way). This can be entered in the Command Prompt or the Run dialog box. It works no matter which version of Internet Explorer you're using.

    A third option, which is actually what the inetcpl.cpl command is short for, is to use Control Panel, via the Internet Options applet. See our guide on how to open Control Panel to go that route.

  2. The button that reads Reset all zones to default level does just as it sounds—it restores the security settings of all the zones. To restore the default settings of just one zone, select that zone and then choose Default level.

  3. You can also use Internet Options to disable the SmartScreen or Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer, as well as to disable Protected Mode.

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