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 in Windows XP.

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.

Disable Internet Explorer In Windows XP With The Program Defaults Utility

    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.

    Test out an alternative browser first, like Chrome or Firefox, and then follow the easy steps below to disable Internet Explorer using the Set Program Access and Defaults utility:

    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).

      See How to Open Control Panel if you need some more help.
    2. In the Control Panel window, open Add or Remove Programs.

      Note: 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.

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

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

    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.

    Make sure you've installed and tested an alternative browser, like Chrome or Firefox, and then follow the easy steps below:

    1. Click on the Tools menu option in Internet Explorer, followed by the Internet Options... option.
    2. Choose the Connections tab from the Internet Options window.
    3. Click on the LAN Settings... button. The Local Area Network (LAN) Settings window will appear.
    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 Options 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 may be for you.

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