How to Uninstall or Remove Internet Explorer

Removing IE Is Really Hard - Disabling or Hiding It Is Best

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There are all kinds of reasons to want to remove Internet Explorer from your Windows computer. Alternative browsers are sometimes faster, provide better security, and contain great features that Internet Explorer users only dream of.

Unfortunately, there is no safe method to remove Internet Explorer from Windows.

Internet Explorer is more than just a browser - it works as an underlying technology behind a number of internal Windows processes including updating, basic Windows functionality, and more.

There are methods outlined on some other websites that appear to completely uninstall Internet Explorer and provide workarounds for the problems that removing it causes, but I don't recommend them.

In my experience, removing IE causes too many problems to be worth it, even with the workarounds.

Even though removing Internet Explorer isn't a wise option, you most certainly can safely disable Internet Explorer and use your alternative browser as the one and only way to access the internet on your Windows computer.

Below are two methods that accomplish the same thing and give you nearly all the benefits that removing Internet Explorer would give you, but without the very real possibility of creating serious system problems.

It is also perfectly acceptable to run two browsers simultaneously on a single PC. One browser must be designated as the default browser but both are free to access the internet.

How to Disable Internet Explorer

Test out an alternative browser first, like Chrome or Firefox, and then follow the easy steps below to disable Internet Explorer in your version of Windows.

Since Windows Update requires the use of Internet Explorer, manual updates will no longer be possible. Automatic updates, if enabled, should continue unaffected.

Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista use the Set program access and computer defaults tool to disable Internet Explorer. Instructions for Windows XP are below these.

Please remember - even though you are disabling Internet Explorer, you are not actually removing it. Your Windows PC still uses Internet Explorer for a number of internal processes.

  1. The quickest way to do this in Windows 10 is by searching for it in the Start menu.

    In Windows 8, use the Power User Menu's WIN-X keyboard shortcut.

    For Windows 7 and Vista, click the Start Menu and then choose Control Panel.

  2. If you see several categories of Control Panel applets, choose Programs. Otherwise, if you see a bunch of icons (i.e. you're in Classic View), choose Default Programs and then skip down to Step 4.

  3. Choose Default Programs from the list of options.

  4. Select the link called Set program access and computer defaults.

    You might need to confirm access with User Account Control; just choose Continue if asked.

  5. Click Custom from that list.

  6. Under the Choose a default web browser: section, remove the check in the box next to Internet Explorer that says Enable access to this program.

  7. Click the OK button to save the changes and to close out of the Set Program Access and Computer Defaults window.

  8. You can now exit out of Control Panel.

Windows XP

One way of disabling Internet Explorer in Windows XP is by using the Set Program Access and Defaults utility, available as part of all Windows XP installations with at least the SP2 service pack installed.

  1. Navigate to the Control Panel by clicking on Start, followed by Control Panel (or Settings and then Control Panel, depending on how you're setup).

  2. In the Control Panel window, open Add or Remove Programs.

    In Microsoft Windows XP, depending on how your operating system is setup, you may not see the Add or Remove Programs icon. To correct this, click on the link on the left-hand side of the Control Panel window that says Switch to Classic View.

  3. In the Add or Remove Programs window, click on the Set Program Access and Defaults button on the menu on the left.

  4. Choose the Custom option in the Choose a configuration: area.

  5. In the Choose a default Web browser: area, uncheck the Enable access to this program check box next to Internet Explorer.

  6. Click OK. Windows XP will apply your changes and the Add or Remove Programs window will close automatically.

Disable Internet Explorer Using A Dummy Proxy Server

Another option is to configure Internet Explorer to access the internet through a non-existent proxy server, essentially disabling the browser from accessing anything on the internet.

  1. Enter the inetcpl.cpl command in the Run dialog box to open Internet Properties.

    You can open Run through the WIN-R keyboard combination (i.e. hold down the Windows key and then press "R").

  2. Choose the Connections tab from the Internet Properties window.

  3. Choose the LAN settings button to open the Local Area Network (LAN) Settings window.

  4. In the Proxy server section, check the box next to Use a proxy server for your LAN (These settings will not apply to dial-up or VPN connections).

  5. In the Address: text box, enter

  6. In the Port: text box, enter 80.

  7. Click OK and then click OK again in the Internet Properties window.

  8. Close all Internet Explorer windows.

  9. If you wish to undo these changes in the future, simply follow the steps listed above again, only this time uncheck the box next to Use a proxy server for your LAN (These settings will not apply to dial-up or VPN connections) in Step 4.

This is a more manual, and less desirable, way to disable access to Internet Explorer. If you're comfortable making slightly more advanced changes to your internet settings, this option might be for you.