How to Uninstall or Remove Internet Explorer

Removing IE is really hard—disabling or hiding it is best

If you don't use Internet Explorer, don't uninstall it. Uninstalling Internet Explorer may cause your Windows computer to have problems. Even though removing the browser isn't a wise option, you can safely disable it and use an alternative browser to access the internet.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Why You Can't Uninstall Internet Explorer

There are many reasons why people want to remove Internet Explorer from a Windows computer. Alternative browsers are sometimes faster, provide better security, and contain better features. However, there is no safe method to remove Internet Explorer.

This is because it's really more than just a browser. It works as an underlying technology for a number of internal processes including updating the operating system and apps, basic Windows functions, and more.

There are methods outlined on some websites that completely uninstall Internet Explorer and provide workarounds for the problems that removing it causes, but there may be too many problems and the workarounds may not work.

Instead of uninstalling it, disable it. You'll get all the benefits that removing IE gives, but without the possibility of creating serious system problems. Another option is to run two browsers simultaneously on a single PC. Designate one browser the default browser but both are free to access the internet.

How to Disable Internet Explorer

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

Disable Internet Explorer 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 Internet Explorer, not remove it. Your Windows PC 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

    In Microsoft Windows XP, depending on how the operating system 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 XP applies the changes and the Add or Remove Programs window closes automatically.

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