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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.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic download.

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.

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.

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click Add or Remove Programs.
  3. 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:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Click Tools | Folder Options
  3. Click the View tab
  4. Make sure the radio button next to Show hidden files and folders is on
  5. Click OK
  6. Click Start, and then click Run
  7. 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 a 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:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then press ENTER.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer.
  3. Right-click the Internet Explorer key, click New, and then click DWORD value.
  4. Type InstalledByUser as the name, and then press ENTER to finish creating the new registry value.
  5. 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 Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

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