Saturday, December 18, 2010

Windows 7 How to: Completely Remove and Reinstall Internet Explorer 8

For Windows 7:

Whether your capacity of IT experience is as a career in the field or simply as a home user, you have most likely run into some issue where Internet Explorer 8 begins to exhibit an issue or erroneous behavior of some sort. Sometimes the issue can be solved by disabling an add-in from some third party software, and other times the process can be a bit more involved.

If, after spending 5 - 10 minutes of looking at your problem with Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7, and you still cannot find what is causing the problem. I recommend you try completely reinstalling Internet Explorer 8. After just discovering how to do this myself, I figured there must be some other people experiencing similar issues. Considering that Internet Explorer 8 is the preliminary version that ships built-in with Windows 7, you can't simply go to Programs and Features (or Add/Remove Programs like in XP) and remove it, to then go back to the older version where everything was working all honky-dorey. Below is a brief guide explaining how to remove completely and reinstall Internet Explorer 8, and hopefully this will prove as helpful to you as it has to myself.

Things to note prior to doing this:

You will not lose any favorites when doing this. However, some addins that were installed prior to doing this may not reappear. I checked mine and they all appear as normal. If this does not occur for you, then they will need to be reinstalled by doing a repair install of that software in Programs and Features.

First, we need to remove Internet Explorer 8 from Programs and Features.

  1. Install another browser if you do not have one. Pick your poison - Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc. Personally, I use Opera for my secondary browser.
  2. Go to Start -> Default Programs... -> and click on Programs and Features (located at the bottom-left corner). In the left-hand side of Programs and Features, click on Turn Windows Features On or Off.
  3. Uncheck Internet Explorer 8 and click OK. When prompted to restart, click on Restart Later.
  4. Open up Windows Explorer (Start -> Computer) and go to C:\Program Files\. Right click the folder Internet Explorer and select cut.
  5. Go back up to your main C:\ folder and create a new folder called "Internet Explorer Backup". Double-click on that new folder and create one more folder called "Program Files". Right click on that folder and select Paste.
  6. Go back to your C:\ folder and look for Program Files (x86). If you have that folder (meaning you have 64-bit Windows), then do the same as steps 3 and 4, but make the subfolder named "Program Files (x86)".
  7. Now you can restart your computer.
  8. When you start back up into Windows, open up a command prompt as administrator. (Start -> type CMD in the search box -> Right Click CMD.exe and select to "Run as administrator". Approve the User Account Control prompt that comes up to begin CMD as an admin.
  9. Type the following command in the prompt: sfc /scannow.
  10. This will re-create your Internet Explorer folder(s) you previously moved. Once SFC (System File Checker) is finished, do the reverse of step 3 by selecting Internet Explorer 8 in Programs and Features.
  11. When prompted, select Restart Now.
Congratulations, you have completely reinstalled Internet Explorer 8 for Windows 7.
If any of you have some revisions or additions to better gut out further things (i.e. from the registry, %windir%, etc) please feel free to note them and I will update accordingly, with a reference to who posted that idea.