How to Uninstall or Remove Internet Explorer

How to turn off or hide Internet Explorer

What to Know

  • In Windows 10 to Vista: Settings > select Apps or Programs > Apps & Features > Programs and Features.
  • Next, select Turn Windows features on or off > un-check Internet Explorer 11 > OK > Restart now.
  • In Windows XP, go to the Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > Set Access and Defaults > Custom > disable.

This article explains how to disable Internet Explorer (rather than uninstalling it, which can lead to issues) in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer and recommends that you update to the newer Edge browser; head to their site to download Edge. IE was last available in Windows 10.

How to Disable Internet Explorer

Test an alternative browser first, such as Edge, Chrome, or Firefox, then follow the steps below to disable Internet Explorer. See which version of Windows you have to know which set of these directions to use.

In Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista

In Windows 10 through Windows Vista, disable Internet Explorer by turning it off through the Windows Features screen. Here's how to get there:

These instructions will disable IE, not remove it. Your computer will continue to use the browser for internal processes.

  1. In Windows 10, open the Start menu and choose Settings (the gear icon).

    For other versions of Windows, open Control Panel.

    Gear icon in Windows Start menu
  2. Select Apps in Windows 10, or Programs in other Windows versions.

    Apps in Windows Settings
  3. Select Apps & Features on the left and then Programs and Features on the right.

    Choose Programs and Features if you're in Control Panel.

    Programs and Features in Apps & features
  4. From the left pane, choose Turn Windows features on or off.

    Turn Windows features on or off
  5. Clear the Internet Explorer 11 check box.

    Internet Explorer 11 deselected checkbox
  6. In the warning dialog box, confirm that you want to disable Internet Explorer, and then select OK on the Windows Features screen.

  7. When prompted to restart your computer for the change to take effect, select Restart now, or restart manually. When the computer reboots, Internet Explorer is disabled.

    Restart now button in Windows Features panel

Disable Internet Explorer in Windows XP

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

  1. Navigate to Control Panel: Go to Start and select Control Panel (or Settings and then Control Panel, depending on how Windows is set up on the computer).

    Control Panel in Windows XP Start menu
  2. Select Add or Remove Programs.

    Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP Control Panel

    Depending on how the OS is set up, you may not see the Add or Remove Programs icon. To find this icon, select Switch to Classic View on the left.

  3. Select Set Program Access and Defaults.

    Set Program Access and Defaults button in Add or Remove Programs dialog
  4. Choose Custom.

  5. In the Choose a default Web browser section, clear the Enable access to this program check box.

    Enable access to this program
  6. Select OK. Windows applies the changes and the Add or Remove Programs window closes automatically.

Why You Can't Uninstall Internet Explorer

Since Microsoft retired Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer will redirect to Edge if launched. Microsoft will ultimately disable Internet Explorer via Windows Update, so you won't have to disable it yourself.

When IE was the primary Windows browser, there were several reasons why people wanted to remove it from a Windows computer. They likely wanted faster, more secure, and more feature-rich browsers. However, there was no safe method to remove Internet Explorer.

IE was more than just a browser. It worked as an underlying technology for a number of internal processes, including updating the operating system and apps, basic Windows functions, and more.

Disabling IE gave users the benefits of removing it without the possibility of creating serious system problems.

You can always change your Windows default browser and run two browsers simultaneously on a single PC.

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