Enterprise Software

How do I... Uninstall Microsoft Internet Explorer 7?

Contrary to common mythology, it is indeed possible to uninstall Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. Mark Kaelin shows you how in this step-by-step guide.

The venerable Web browser continues to evolve. No longer just an application for displaying HTML, the Web browser now has to handle JavaScript, PHP, Java, Active X controls, loosely coupled Web services, plug-ins, multimedia, XML, RSS feeds and more. The Web browser has become an integral part of the total computer experience. All of those expectations make choosing a preferred browser more important than many ever thought it would or should be.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and Mozilla Firefox 2 are the latest Web browser contenders for your attention (apologies to fans of Opera and other Web browsers, but these are the two that garner the most attention). Many of us have tried both and made a decision about which is the browser of choice.

If you have chosen Firefox 2, then you may want to uninstall IE7. But this brings up two questions: Can you uninstall IE7 and if you can how do you do it? The answers are: Yes, you can and here's how.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic Download.

Uninstall IE7

If your installation of IE7 was successful and uneventful, then uninstalling it is relatively simple process. The following steps will uninstall IE7 and restore IE 6.

  • Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  • Click Add or Remove Programs.
  • Scroll down to Windows Internet Explorer 7, click it, and then click Change/Remove.

If for some reason Windows Internet Explorer 7 does not appear in the Add or Remove Programs, you should:

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Click Tools | Folder Options
  • Click the View tab
  • Make sure the radio button next to Show hidden files and folders is on
  • Click OK
  • Click Start, and then click Run
  • Type: %windir%\ie7\spuninst\spuninst.exe into the text box and click Enter

Specified user account

In some cases, you may get an error message when you try to uninstall IE7 that says you cannot uninstall from a specified user account. To get around this check you will have to edit the Windows Registry.

Warning: Editing the Windows Registry incorrectly can cause the Windows operating system to stop functioning completely. This is an advanced operation and you are encouraged to back up the Windows Registry before you attempt any editing of the file. You have been warned.

Bypass the user account check with this Windows Registry edit:

  • Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then press ENTER.
  • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer.
  • Right-click the Internet Explorer key, click New, and then click DWORD value.
  • Type InstalledByUser as the name, and then press ENTER to finish creating the new registry value.
  • Try to uninstall Internet Explorer 7 again.

More help

If you find yourself still needing help uninstalling Internet Explorer 7, check out the IE7 release notes found on the Microsoft MSDN Web site.

About

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

147 comments
phuntshoenator
phuntshoenator

how do i remove open with virus.whenever i open it explore with open with option

luigi.digrande
luigi.digrande

If you install XP SP3, the uninstall option for IE7 is no longer available. Keep this in mind prior to upgrading to SP3 and remove IE7 prior to the upgrade if you don't want IE7

wayne1970
wayne1970

i tried diffrent methods to remove ie7 but couldn't shift it till i found this little tool works a treat www.solveithere.com/ier

avik137
avik137

can a domain user login in domain controller?

josephpstich
josephpstich

Thank you for the informative article. However, please, if you can help me to get Windows Media Player to display the proper or desired album art. No matter what I do, if I have entered the wrong media or want to change the art, WMP won't let me. I've even tried uninstalling and reinstalling the program, joseph josephpstich@gmail.com

Heggo
Heggo

I have recently installed and defaulted to Safari (thanks Apple). It is actually quite good and consistent with 'their' claims is faster than M$ IE7 and Ffox. Interestingly some (M$) processes still default to spawning M$7

RNR1995
RNR1995

Is this the whole article? What about when you get the dreaded warning stating that if you uninstall IE 7 this list of programs will no longer work correctly? Personally I disregarded the message and uninstalled anyway, since it was a brand new laptop, worse case scenario is I do a restore

tinyang73
tinyang73

Does your second method work on vista, Mark?

dold
dold

I have trouble with some plugins in IE7. Several, but the one that bugs me is the Flash movie player used by Picassa to play little movies. I tried Add/Remove Uninstall (which is so obvious, I don't understand why it is a TechRepublic article), but that doesn't uninstall the plugins! Nasty little beasts, corrupt and non-corrupt, are all still there somewhere, neatly where they were before, when I install IE7 again. How do you uninstall IE7, and all of its accoutrements?

ronson4
ronson4

There is a problem though, updates. Updates won't download with other browsers. I know it didn't work for me with Firefox.

ronligon
ronligon

I was able to uninstall with restore.

don
don

Thanks for helping me get rid of IE8! For those of you wondering, it works on 8 too, just replace 7 with 8.

michael_orton
michael_orton

I have always found that to disable any program, the easiest way is to boot from a Knoppix Linux CD, cd to windows etc and locate the microsoftprog2kill.exe file and change to microsoftprog2kill.vxe if its a .com to .vom. Remove the Knoppix CD, reboot and the program is disabled. And its easy to put it back if you c0ck it up.

quark
quark

What happens to Quick Launch which is integrated in IE?

bigx69
bigx69

Will I be able to unistall IE7 after installing WinXP SP3? Read something that the SP installs IE7 and it's a bear to unistall IE7. Comments?

jaw1362
jaw1362

I don't know about uninstalling IE7. Some programs, like weather alert programs, use IE7 settings in order to fetch weather data to your desktop. For example, removing IE7 seems to cripple Weather Watcher! I see nothing wrong in using two browsers. Keep one for some things and the other for other things.

ChilliNut
ChilliNut

Just to point out that there is apparently a related issue with XP SP3 (now out). If you install SP3, you can only uninstall IE7 if it wasn't installed at the point that SP3 was applied. If IE7 is on the system when SP3 goes on, the option to uninstall IE7 is greyed out. Make sure you have IE6 when adding SP3 and you can then install/remove IE7 ok.

rameshraina1
rameshraina1

If its then its of any use for me. I prefer IE6 to IE7 IE7 sucks my PC speed PLease suggest

s51j
s51j

I did that before, the same way, but got IE6 back then. I had to uninstall that too, to get rid of IE's!

MGP2
MGP2

If uninstalling IE7 only restores IE6, then what's the point in the first place. I would assume that, if you're a Firefox user, then you prefer tabbed browsing. And, being that some sites just don't work in Firefox, doesn't it stand to reason that the version of IE that most resembles Firefox is IE7?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I actually prefer Internet Explorer 7 over Firefox 2.x. But my job requires that I use both Web browsers every day, often at the same time. They both have merits. I know the preference varies person to person. And I known that people switch between different browsers often. So, what is your feeling about IE7? Still prefer Firefox? Are you trying IE8 beta? (I am.) Do you really only use one browser anymore?

GBot
GBot

So you use Mozilla's operating system? IE7 in Vista runs sandboxed, which is one of the reasons why I have used Vista without antivirus software for over a year. I totally understand when the IT dept at an organization is hesitant to upgrade because of their technophobic employees. If you're going to critcize a product without any reason for your criticism, stfu and buy a Mac.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

M$ has integrated ActiveX deeply into their web pages. Since no other browser supports ActiveX...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

As long as you've got an IE on your system, you've got Quick Launch.

agitated
agitated

Internet Explorer 7 Users If you are currently running IE7 on XPSP2, Windows Update will offer you XPSP3 as a high priority update. If you choose to install XPSP3, Internet Explorer 7 will remain on your system after the install is complete. Your preferences will be retained. However, you will no longer be able to uninstall IE7. If you go to Control Panel->Add/Remove Programs, the Remove option will be grayed out. http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/05/05/ie-and-xpsp3.aspx

AbbyD
AbbyD

I have Windows XP Professional with IE6 installed and I downloaded and tried IE7. I did not care for the look of the browser so I went to the Change or Remove Programs in Set Programs Access and Defaults. After I uninstalled IE7 I discovered that IE6 was still there to replace it. I did not uninstall IE6 when I tried IE7.

nshmakov
nshmakov

if even IE7 sucks your PC perfomance in suchj a way :) IE6 will be installed instead

jnipa
jnipa

I agree, what's the point? maybe completely uninstall IE (no IE 7 no IE 6), but prefer IE6 over 7?, I hope all of you know that IE6 is plagued with problems, its a much worst browser in handling Web Standards, PNG transparency is broken, CSS is broken, and its easily compromised by spyware out there, and you want to sacrifice all those over just slight performance in XP? why not just add some RAM or more CPU power to your PC than take such a silly risk? i'd go with remove IE completely than going back to 6 from 7 IMHO

mburton325
mburton325

Besides the SP3 and preference issues some shops still use apps that require ver 6.x. If 7 is downloaded by mistake the app doesn't work and you have a user screaming that there work station is broke. Got to love SUS servers

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

is that SP 3 installs faster and with fewer problems when IE 7 isn't present. ICBW.

IslandBoy_77
IslandBoy_77

... that IE 7 sucks on XP, slows down updates, changes various "security" settings and stuffs up Office 2003 to some degree. I only use IE6 because I have to on some site. The rest of the time I use Firefox 2. Altho the current iteration of IE7 is better than previous, it still slows down most XP installations (including my own), and never uninstalls properly (PCs that have had IE7 on them always "feel" slowish after having IE7 removed). So, the point is to get rid of the IE7 resource hog / "change XP for no go reason" program and have a better computing experience... Better yet, keep away from IE7 / 8 altogether on XP.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

But I've had dozens of users complain about IE7 and they want IE6 back. All the simplicity compared to IE6 and the tab function scares them for whatever reason. Some people just don't like change, even for the better. I could understand at least if they whined about wanting firefox...but rolling back to ie6?! Just doesn't make sense unless you have some aging in-house homegrown app that isn't ie7 friendly...and you're too lazy to fix it.

gbhall
gbhall

I actually have installed and use all three browsers mentioned by other posters. I mostly use Avant, as it is the most customisable, although it can freeze occasionally when saving files. Even then on restart it automatically re-opens the same page, so that shows how smart it is..... I use Firefox when other browsers refuse to save at all, but it has an unfortuate choice of filename when saving. Instead of using the description on the link to the file you want to save, it uses the html filename instead, which is useless. Finally I use IE7 when either of the other two won't work because of some proprietory IE feature used in the web page. In short - there ain't no such thing as the perfect browser, but for me, Avant comes nearest.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

LOL! It's just a pain in the ass to use but If your a net junkie....by all means....LOL!

fthornbu
fthornbu

I've had user's complain about the way I.E.7 renders pages for printing. Certain pages or documents viewed through plug-ins appear tiny when printed using the default setting. I've had to coach users on using the "Print Preview" to manually adjust the default setting of "Shink To Fit" in order to get the prints to look normal. Some don't like to go through this extra step and choose to go back to I.E.6 Fred Thornburg Galveston College

vtctom
vtctom

I have had many problems with accessing and navigating through the Web Interface for Polycom CODECs. I have to admit though I have not tried it with the most current firmware for the VSX series and don't want to use up valuable time right now in doing so. I had to revert back to IE6 which works seamlessly.

armchairmusician
armchairmusician

We deal with customers who use uploading technology that doesn't support it. I've had to block IE7 install from autoupdates using the block IE7 tool provided by Microsoft to help prevent IE7 from getting installed accidentally... so this is good to know.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

But I do however prefer not to have firefox installed at all because I like a minimalist install of windows. I've used both and at times either can be a bit sluggish, and each one has positive points and negative so it's a draw in my book. My job doesn't require firefox so I keep it off of my pc and it's on my restricted software list in group policy. I don't have anything against it, but I was receiving unneccessary helpdesks with firefox issues back when I let the users choose their browser. It's just more headache than it's worth in my organization since it isn't a requirement.

gbhall
gbhall

Can't accept that. All browsers can use activeX, though many (unlike IE) want a compfirmation from you that you are prepared to take the risks.... In particular, Avant browser (mentioned favourably above and used almost exclusively by me), can switch activeX on and off instantly as required, and can also work perfectly with MS download.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

M$ Update. Too many dispersed workers with laptops are incapable of following simple illustrated instructions to manually download and install patches, fixes, and service packs. In my experience, the sales staff, to a man, are the best example of this. Why? I have no idea.

garyleroy
garyleroy

Anytime you change something with a preconceived idea, it's going to appear to "happen". If a machine is so marginal that a browser update will push it over the hump and slow it down, then the real problem is that you're running things too close to the limit. I've seen no difference in performance in IE7 use over IE6; and frankly, the hype about how much better and faster Firefox (1 and 2) were supposed to be, seems to be just that...hype. I expected some zippy increase in performance with Firefox, but just got the same old, same old; lots of nice plugins if that floats your boat, but otherwise not worth the bother. Most techs in the MS tech forums seem to feel that IE6 is a significant security risk, and were upset that SP3 for XP didn't automatically upgrade 6 to 7. The reason it wasn't done, is that there is in fact some functional difference to where MS felt that too many still using IE6 may have problems if they were automatically upgraded, so they didn't. Not because IE6 is better, does more, or performs better, but because some haven't gotten around to doing what they need to do to keep "even". Unfortunately, keeping even by using the same stuff is not possible, because we are under constant bombardment by various vultures who are as intent on spying, dishing out ads, or attacking our machines in other ways as we are in keeping them out. Why not blame THEM for the needed increase in security and complexity of things, that's where the blame really should go. Hook up to the internet with a default XP gold install through a straight DSL connection and see how long you last before a trojan invasion. Yet we could do that in 2001-2002 without issue. Major software updates are necessary to keep just even, no two ways about it. I use IE7 on several machines daily, and have no issues with it; perhaps there are valid gripes in certain uses, but most of the gripes seem to just be that it's from Microsoft and it's an update. If it is slower, there's so little difference that it doesn't matter, and if there's something it won't do, it's nothing I use anyway, so who cares? If it won't show some web developer's fancy-dan bouncing monkey that he worked so hard to shove down our throats, so much the better. Before IE7, tabbed browsing was in itself a reason to change to Firefox; suddenly it's a non-issue, and IE6 is better than IE7...what happened? What happened is that Microsoft incorporated it in their browser, now it's no longer important, because it's MS.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]I use Firefox when other browsers refuse to save at all, but it has an unfortuate choice of filename when saving. Instead of using the description on the link to the file you want to save, it uses the html filename instead, which is useless.[/i] Yes, Firefox defaults to the html page name, but the save dialog allows you to type in the page name of your choice.

blarman
blarman

When IE 7 was first released, we ran into a host of internal programs that broke. I am all too familiar with the uninstall for IE 7. The biggest problem was that these weren't even programs that should have been affected. I put the blame squarely on Microsoft for intertwining the browser in the OS. Among the programs we had problems with were our AV, several web-based programs, and a couple of internal apps. We also ran into significant issues because one of the web-based apps is a multimedia training program and the codecs were a big problem for several months. We'll just say that IE 7 has been as big a hit as IE 5 with me.

cholt2064
cholt2064

My company rencently spent a ton of money on the purchase and install of Hyperion Financial Management (HFM). Users had to uninstall IE7 in order to get the workspace to display on their screen. Firefox and IE6 seem to work fine with the product.

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

I have had a great deal of trouble even just opening some pages in IE7, yet they open fine in IE6, Firefox, opera, Avante. On speaking with the developers of the web sites in question, they refuse to even attempt to modify their sites as each time they have IE7 seems to add another patch, which voids the "fix that the developer as applied. They now say they refuse to work with IE7 stating that the majority of techs and normal users only have IE6 which is an older version but seems to be a lot more stable. Following an update to IE7 i installed on April 9 this year, a lot of pages simply would not display sections of the page, and when I attempted a refresh, IE7 froze and I could not even cloes the browser. Solution?... remove IE7 and block it from the updates, and wait and see if IE8 is better. The story from a microsoft tech that I spoke to on their support line actually said that IE7 is/was a huge mistake, and IE8 is a huge improvement and will meet most of w3c requirements. So lets hope

wsmith
wsmith

I am curious what upload technology is not working with IE?

nshmakov
nshmakov

even more since IE has become the part of OS. most of the stuf users can do with IE anyway

tkeller
tkeller

that Avant can use ActiveX - Avant uses IE as its core engine. So it would seem logical that any of the browsers that are based on IE should be able to use ActiveX.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]All browsers can use activeX...[/i] Maybe they can, but they don't. Firefox doesn't (http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/ActiveX), nor does Safari; they all use the Netscape Plugin API (http://tinyurl.com/4nxw5), which is inherently more secure than ActiveX. In fact, until you mentioned the Avant browser, I wasn't aware of [u]any[/u] browser other than Internet Exploder that supported ActiveX. Your statement actually begs the question: If all browsers can use ActiveX, why doesn't Microsoft Update work with anything besides IE (or, as you say, the Avant browser)? Edit: format

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

IE7 does give a very negligible performance hit. I only notice it on older machines running slower p4's and less than 512 meg ram. At that point it's time to upgrade/replace anyway. It's fine for a linux box but for windows it doesn't cut the mustard anymore. I like you used firefox for a long time simply because of the tabs. I never thought it was faster, or better...I just liked the tabs. IE7 came out so I switched back just to keep one less item installed on my pc's.

stanton.chris.m
stanton.chris.m

I think IE 7 works fine and it has never frozen on me or failed to display web sites or any part of them. I don't see what the big complaint is anyway.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I hear that ALOT from developers and on forums. I am by no means dispiting that. Yet on a dail basis in an organization that works with diverse web site apps (banking, GIS, government tax listings connection to mainframes, government agencies, multiple vendors, purchasing, countless more...) I have yet to have a single complaint about IE7 not working for any of my 1000+ users. I'm not saying that there aren't problems, I'm just saying that for my diverse application IE7 works just fine. Through group policy I restrict other browsers from being installed and I even have their websites blocked...though I am sure a determined user COULD download it one way or another but not install it. As I said, I'm not disputing the issue of compliances...but I do beleive the IE7 problem to be over-hyped or I would have run into a few IE7 problems by now with such a varied user base and varied number of apps.

garyleroy
garyleroy

(quote) Avant browser does not automatically start as a clone of IE (why should it?) but it has a great deal more flexibility in it's setup than IE, including having not just one startup home page, but as many as you want to specify !!! (end) Why should it start with the same prefs as IE? If you're using IE, obviously you have it set up to your preferences. Why would you NOT want the opportunity (at least) to have it import your home page and general preferences from IE? If you don't like IE, that's great, but what does that have to do with where it starts up or your other settings? Second, IE7 can start with multiple tabbed home pages, just add them to the list in your preferences. It amazes me how so many people can get a dislike for one particular thing, justified or not, then whatever comes along, even if it's no improvement (or worse) is raved about with enthusiasm, and any shortcomings are forgiven. If IE7 didn't work, or was sluggish, blasted you with ads, or couldn't be customized to your liking, that would be one thing. However, none of that is the case unless you have other issues such as hardware or software problems. So if you want to use BillyBob's Big Bad Browser instead of IE7, great, but maybe you should be as critical and unforgiving of it as you are of IE7.

gbhall
gbhall

Avant browser does not automatically start as a clone of IE (why should it?) but it has a great deal more flexibility in it's setup than IE, including having not just one startup home page, but as many as you want to specify !!! It is a great pity you did not spend more time looking round all the setup options, available control bars and so forth.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I don't have virus/malware problems utilizing IE6 & 7. With a good virus solution and a decent security practice you can keep everything safe...also assuming you're vigilant about updates and keeping all of your solutions in check. Spam isn't an issue either. Again, a good solution will block it. Out of 750000+ emails a day less than 10% of mine are legitimate. That's about average for medium to large businesses from what I have witnessed. Even with these vast amounts of spam none of it gets through. As I said, I won't be adding any browsers until it's required by a website pertaining to business or an app we're using. I beleive in strict security standards and minimalist windows installs, I don't like a bunch of junk on there.

tkeller
tkeller

I have not tried Avant lately, but I did try it a while back, and I seem to recall it was based on IE. And in looking at Avant's support page, yep... http://www.avantbrowser.com/support.html#What%20is%20Avant%20Browser? While it may well add some nifty bells and whistles, and improve on IE, it still seems to BE IE under the hood. So, no matter how nice it seems, I would not put it into the same category as Firefox or Opera, which are entirely different from the ground up.

dschoene
dschoene

1) www.avant.com will get you nothing. The proper address is http://www.avantbrowser.com/ 2) The browser seems to take over your home page. I downloaded and installed. When I open it up, it defaults me to Avant Find even though my home page is still set to dogpile in internet option in the program.. I'm ditching this browser for that sheer fact alone. please inform me if i'm missing something...

info
info

Because of lot of virus en spam problems I always was looking for a good substitute for Iexplorer, but could not handle the Opera & Firefox substitute myself. Now I have found a perfect browser which is a up-to-date browser to use these times. It is called Avant. You can find a free download at www.avant.com Give it a try...

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