How do I change my browser home page back to what I want?

Occasionally, when installing software it'll change your home page "for you". I'll walk you through why, and what to do to reset it.

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I upgraded Internet Explorer to Version 8, and I’ve always had MSN as my homepage. Now, suddenly, the MSN homepage has changed to something called “Preview MSN”. It has a white background. I hate it. Can I change it back, and if so, how do I do it?

It’s actually fairly annoying, but many software installation programs these days will offer to change your browser’s home page “for you” to whatever they think it should be. Sometimes they don’t even ask and just do it, which to me is simply unacceptable.

Since I create and use my own custom browser home page, it’s more than a little annoying when it gets changed out from underneath me.

So yes, let me show you how to reset it, and throw out a tip or two to avoid it being changed again “for you” in the future.

First, the basics – how to set your browser’s home page.

Internet Explorer

First, navigate to the page that you want to use as your home page. That means if you want to use “iGoogle”, Google’s custom home page service, step one is simply to go there – http://www.iGoogle.com.

Then, while on that page, click on the Tools menu, Internet Options item, and then click on the General tab.

Setting the a home page in Internet Explorer

First, navigate to the page that you want to use as your home page.

You can see the Google page in the background, and that the current Homepage in Internet Options is set to the MSN preview page.

Simply click the Use current button, followed by the OK button and your home page will be changed to the page you’re currently viewing.

Firefox

The procedure for Firefox is similar.

First Navigate to the page you want as your new home page. Then click on the Tools menu, Options item, and the Main tab:

Setting the a home page in Firefox

Once again you can see the Google page in the background, and that the current Home Page in the Options dialog is set to the MSN preview page.

Simply click on Use Current Page, and then OK, and the home page will be changed to the page you’re currently on.

How’d this happen?

There are typically three causes for an unexpected home page change.

It asked and you said yes.

This is perhaps the most common scenario. When installing software never accept the default settings that might be offered. Always choose the “custom” or “advanced” set of installation options when asked. The reason is simple – very often one of those default options is to change your browser’s home page. Make sure you pay attention to all the options offered when you install or update software, and take care to opt-out of any changes like this that you’re not interested in receiving. (Installing additional toolbars in your browser is another common option down this path.)

It didn’t ask and did it anyway.

Some installation programs don’t bother to ask. They simply assume that because you’re installing what they have to offer, they have the right to change your home page as they see fit. In my opinion this is evil, but it happens. Watch for it as you install software, and prepare to revert using the instructions above if it does.

It’s hard to call this much different than the third scenario…

Malware did it.

Spyware is absolutely notorious for hijacking home pages. Typically it’s not to something as benign as an MSN preview page, but often to more questionable sites. Make sure you’re running a good anti-spyware solution to protect yourself from this scenario.

Update: A number of people are coming here because of an apparent change to the MSN home page. I’ve written a new article on that: How do I get the old msn.com homepage back?

There are 28 comments:

  1. Simon Reply

    Good answer. Just not to the question that was actually asked. The real reason the questioner’s MSN homepage is now called “Preview MSN” and has a white background is not hard to deduce: MSN are presumably having a redesign, and are testing out the new design on a random selection of people. A quick google confirms this (the new design is also available to others at msn.com/preview.aspx). There’s probably a setting somewhere that lets people who have been switched over go back to the old design, until the switchover completes.

  2. Chris Reply

    Yes, I was going to say the same thing as the above poster. The real reason is because of a future redesign which I have been forced to look at, too. I can’t figure out how to get out of the preview version and I hope they don’t use this redesign in the future as, in my opinion, it sucks.

    When the original questioner clarified the question after seeing this article, my response was basically: this is likely a vision of what is to come, and you likely will not be able to switch away from it. This is consistant with how Microsoft has made these types of changes in the past.

    Leo
    18-Nov-2009

  3. Robert N. Minsky Reply

    MSN has hijacked my home page. I have done what you have outlined above but when I hit the homepage icon, it returns to MSN

  4. lee wells Reply

    there is no e mail icon on my sbc.global.net anymore….now its AT&T yahoo mail, and still no e mail icon on the opening pg…I have NOT changed a think…my son if I did, he’d —–!! so I don’t mess with anything, ’cause I always seem to have something get screwey…pls adv. I don’t want to ask son…he’s going to think I am the culpret….thanx…..

  5. Sara Reply

    The msn.com page has changed and there seems to be no way to revert back to the original of before Nov.13th. You can use the customization and make the selection mymsn.com and then rearrange the page to suit you – but this is still not the same as the original. Why does microsoft impose this on people without giving a choice? Everyone I know just HATES the new version of msn.com. Is there a way to revert to the page as it was before Nov. 13th?

    Since many people are asking, I’ve written a new article on the MSN.COM change: How do I get the old msn.com homepage back?

    Leo
    18-Nov-2009

  6. Ron Shaw Reply

    I entered uk.yahoo.com into IE8 & it brought up m.uk.yahoo.com. I followed your instrucions & clicked on Use Current, followed by clicking OK. I also changed the small browser window at top-right of IE8 from Microsoft to Google. Next time I brought up IE8, up came the old uk.msn.com/?ocid=iefvrt & the browser window again showed Microsoft instead of Google.
    When in Yahoo! I have more than once clicked on “Make Y! your homepage” which offers uk.yahoo.com “as your only home page”, but next time I bring up IE8, I’m back with msn.com.
    This homepage hijacking happened several months ago. At the time I was using MS Windows Dedender, & I have since switched to Malwarebytes, but neither has picked up the unwanted msn homepage & browser. I have run a full scan of MS Malicious S/W Removal tool which didn’t detect anything.
    However, when I click on Mozilla Firefox,up comes m.yahoo.com and Google in the browser window.

  7. nick Reply

    i cannot get “google advanced page” to remain as my honme page; it keeps reverting back to the normal GOOGLE page (with its goofy mouse-over highlights, etc).

    I’ve selected their ADVANCED search, set it as the home page, it retains it for a couple time, then later it goes back to http://www.google.com

    it is only on my VISTA tablet machine; my othe macchines seem to retain the settings

    thanks
    Nick

  8. ANTHONY EDWARDS Reply

    You are my TOP MAN. I have been messing about for the last couple of hours to no avail. Ten minuets after reading your notes, HEY PRESTO, bring out the champagne, you have solved my problems. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all over the water, from all us LIMEYS.

  9. Tom Reply

    I do not like the glaring white..I am not able to get my local weather to show up as before and I like the old format much better..
    I am beginning to lok at other home pages.

  10. jacque mccormick Reply

    I want the MSN Homepage back. I will be switching home pages on all computers. What was wrong with the old MSN? You don’t get a voice and they think they can run me and how I use it Not this user.

  11. Ann N Reply

    I would like to have my original homepage back. It was very easy to navigate and included the options I wanted.

  12. Emma Wiseman Reply

    how i make a new MSN for my home page can you please
    help me with this for me thanks Babes

  13. Deborah Scarborough Reply

    I tried your advice but the original home page does not show up.

  14. Jim Reply

    I now have Rocklin, CA (95677) weather on my MSN home page, but I live in Seward NE (68434) and want this to come up when I open MSN. I have changed the weather selection several times and requested to save but I still get the 95677 when I go back to the page. It does not remember the new nor delete the old. What to do?
    On Windows 7.

  15. LUPE Reply

    I NEED TO SWITCH BACK TO MY ORIGINAL HOMEPAGE BECAUSE THIS IS NOT MY HOME PAGE I HAD MY HOME PAGE THAT HAS YAHOO AND WELL OH YOU GET THE IDEA MY DAUGHTER JESSICA SWITCHED MY HOME PAGE AND I WANT IT BACK ORIGINAL MEANS I WANT THIS HOME PAGE TO BE DEALEATED SO I NEED BACK MY HOME PAGE THAT TAKES ME ON A SHORT CUT THAT WAY I WON’T HAVE TO GO TO GOOGLE THANK YOU AND GOOD AFTERNOON AND GOOD BYE

  16. fred young Reply

    Do not like new msn homepage !!! Can not navigate it. Much has changed !!! Please give us back our previous homepage and all that went with it. THANKS. Prefer not to have to change browsers, but will. HURRY !!!

  17. Irene Reply

    Thanks Leo! My homepage was changed and it was driving me crazy til you helped me fix the problem.

  18. Rich Prickitt Reply

    I see Internet Explorer and Firefox, but what about Safari? I am Internet challenged, and hardly computer illiterate. I want my MSN home page restored, please!

  19. FRIEDA JOHNSON Reply

    I AM A SENIOR AND LOVED MY OLD MSN HOME PAGE. I HATE THE NEW ONE.
    I WANT MY OLD MSN HOME PAGE BACK. IS THERE A WAY I CAN GET IT BACK ASAP?
    SO NOT FARE TO CONSIDER SENIORS TO MAKE CHANGES LIKE THE YOUNG ONES OF TODAY.

    • Leo Reply

      Please read the article you just commented on. At some point, no, there will not be a way to get the old one back. That “some point” may be today.

  20. kat Reply

    I am over 50, Its not that I dont like change but the old MSN homepage is more easier for me to use. I have been using for such a long time and Iam very comfortable with it. So please give it bak to me and all it had with it. ASAP Please. The new one seems better for the youg people NEW WEB for the NEW AGE..

  21. Mary Reply

    I really miss the old myMSN home page because of the Favorites Module where I was able to list links to the websites I visit regularly in a block right there on the home page. I have not found a way to customize the new MSN page and will be leaving MSN as soon as I find something more customizable.

    • Debbie Reply

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I miss my links to the NYT, WAPO, and other news sites. Now, regardless of how I choose to structure my home page, I get celebrity news constantly streaming across the head of my page. I don’t want to know what Elvis ate for his last breakfast, nor do I want to know about the latest celebrity hairstyle! The new page appears to have been written by 15 year olds! I’ve been a MSN subscriber for nearly 15 years now and this may be what causes me to cancel. Talk about the dumbing down of America!

  22. Fotios Reply

    Living in Greece I am having a worse experience. I had msn.usa until a couple of days ago something caused it to be redirected to msn./el-gr, which is the Greek version coming with all sorts of ads and animated ads of the most nauseating type that Adblocker does not stop. If I manage to make msn.usa stick to my pc, then IE does not find the page. Worse, microsoftsupport.com keeps going around in circles, so no contact possible with the masters of change. I just use aol, so I get away from all the garbage, no difference from the old msn indeed. By the way, the wheel in the upper right corner that you mention does not appear, so I can’t even try your advice. Youtube keeps reverting to the Greek version in the last few days, but that gets fixed in two steps, a pain in the neck for sure, but I get away from it with two clicks. I can’t wait for congress to pass a law preventing certain e-companies from imposing their way of seeing things to billions of people.

    • Mark Jacobs Reply

      One thing that causes web page settings to revert like that is if you clean up cookies. One use of cookies is to remember things like language and other settings when you return to a site.

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