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All great things (and not-so-great) must come to an end. You may find yourself, for various reasons, wanting to ditch Internet Explorer for a better browser. Some site security concerns while others prefer an alternative browser, Firefox or Opera, for example, that holds to open standards. Some simply think that Micro$oft iz t3h 5U><0R5, and don’t want to deal with any MS product.

(image credit: Andreas Solberg)

My number one reason for breaking things off with IE is that I don’t want my family or visitors to use it, lest some unpatched security hole get exploited while I’m not looking. Nuh-uh. Not even Decepticons can breach Big Daddy’s defenses on my watch.

To be fair, there are security vulnerabilities present in just about any Internet software, especially browsers. In a recent hacking competition, the only browser that wasn’t compromised was Google’s Chrome. David recently gave us six compelling reasons to switch to Chrome 6 Reasons Why Firefox Dude May Want to Switch to Chrome 6 Reasons Why Firefox Dude May Want to Switch to Chrome Read More , my current default. Firefox and Explorer, I’m sorry. It’s not you. It’s me.

Once you’ve picked your new browser, it’s time to call things off with IE. This poses a bit of a problem, as many Windows functions and programs depend on IE’s rendering engine. While it’s technically possible to remove IE completely, you may be better off leaving it in, if you value functionality. In Windows XP and Vista, you can do the next best thing: Removing access to IE for all users of your system.


So, how do you disable (block access) to Internet Explorer?

From the Start Menu, click on “Programs.” An icon labeled “Set Program Access and Defaults” should be near the top of the menu. If it is, you may skip the next paragraph. If it’s not, please continue below.


You’re going to want to open your Control Panel, also from the Start Menu. Next, open the Add or Remove Programs window. You’ll have four choices on your left. What you need is the lowest option: Set Program Access and Defaults. I’m sure you’re anxious to break this off. We’re almost done.


Select the “Custom” option, and then go ahead and designate what you want your default programs to be. You may disable access to Internet Explorer by clearing the checkbox next to it. All program shortcuts to Internet Explorer will be removed, and your default Internet browser on the Start Menu will be of your choice.


There may arise a situation during which you may need to open IE. Most often it will be to open a site which doesn’t play nicely with other browsers. With all the shortcuts gone, just open the Run box (hold the Windows Key and press R), type “iexplore” then hit OK. See? While you’re no longer exclusive, you and IE can still be friends. It’s alright, really. I won’t tell the other browsers.

Geeks such as myself can get very defensive of their software of choice. I expect to see grand levels of evangelizing your favorite browsers in the comments!

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