How To Disable Internet Explorer

Tim Watson 25-04-2009

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.


How To Disable Internet Explorer block internet explorer 0

(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 Chrome vs. Firefox in 2016: Which Browser Is Right For You? I want to explore why people might prefer one over the other, and hopefully those reasons will shed some light on features and aspects that you may not have considered before. 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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  1. Bapi Barman
    November 19, 2009 at 5:38 am

    this is not a good idea for stop internet explorer doing this method i can open internet explorer by using show all desktop icon format this method only hide this internet explorer icon but i can do internet

  2. text_in_progress
    May 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I want to remove Internet Explorer, but how do I do it on vista?

  3. Subt
    May 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Here's the most secure browser of them all!:

    (if you don't mind text mode and the lack of many features) :-D

  4. vikrant
    May 4, 2009 at 9:47 am

    currently using to block access to internet using hosts file, will try

  5. Bike Gamer
    April 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Micro$oft iz t3h 5U><0R5 lol... Thanks for the tips. I'll try it now. B'/3 13 (using L337 translator:D)

  6. Jon
    April 26, 2009 at 10:26 am

    is Andreas Solberg's image at the top just a picture or is it a desktop theme?

    if so where can i get it?

  7. Yonathan
    April 26, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Reasons (addons) why I can't leave FF:

    -IE Tab
    -Orbit Downloader Firefox Integration
    -Stealther (I hate Chrome's Incognito feature)
    -Web of Trust
    -Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks)

    • Shree Mulay
      April 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

      The Opera Desktop Browser has most all of these features built in natively, and it runs a far smaller memory and cpu footprint than the other browsers.

  8. Shree Mulay
    April 26, 2009 at 12:04 am

    In the article you link to, the Opera Browser wasn't included. Therefore your statement, "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." isn't accurate as by including Opera in the previous paragraph, in imply that it also suffers from the same security vulnerabilities. I bet, you would find that Opera is even more secure than Chrome if they went face to face in a security challenge. Accuracy is key. has been highly inaccurate when it comes to articles written about Opera.

  9. sexysofie
    April 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    here's the best way to disable intermittent exploder

  10. meritico
    April 25, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    There is no real point to this. its the same as accepting Firefox or chrome as default generally it will ope the alternative but we a program wants IE it will get IE.

    Good idea, fail reality.