Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, "Confident Computing", for more solutions you can use to make your life easier. Click here.

How do I fix Internet Explorer if it won’t open?

//
I’m running Windows 7; I thought I had IE9. When I tried to use Internet Explorer, it won’t open. A little pop-up just says that “IE has a problem and is closing.” Then it’s difficult to close and keeps popping up. It might be connected to an add-on called Conduit.com as I see it in the search window behind the pop-up. I had to clean that off of Chrome and Firefox rejected it (thankfully). I went to Windows/IE site to install IE10 over what I have and it refused, saying I already had a more current version. How can I already have something more current than what the site has?

Based on what you’re seeing, I suspect that you’re already running Internet Explorer 10. Now, it’s going to be hard to say exactly what’s going to work to solve this problem, but I’ve got a couple of ideas.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

IE versions

I honestly believe that the “more current” message that you’re seeing is a misnomer. It’s not quite accurate.

That message appears when the download site has nothing newer than what you have to offer. The wording implies that you have something newer than what they have, but I believe what they really mean is that they don’t have anything newer than what you have – which would be the case if you have the most current version.

So I think you’re running IE 10.

Malware?

So, let’s start with malware. Run malwarebytes.org’s free tool. That may clear it up.

This feels like malware that was incompletely removed, has bugs, or is just causing this problem. Malwarebytes can sometimes clean up these kinds of issues that other anti-malware tools might not necessarily catch.

Internet ExplorerReinstalling IE

Now, if that doesn’t solve the problem, go to the Programs in Control Panel and find the Turn Windows features on or off section. And in there, uncheck Internet Explorer 10. Let it uninstall. That should remove most of1 Internet Explorer and its components.

There may be some warnings along the way and that’s okay, because we’re going to turn right around and then reinstall it. This time, when you go to the download site, it should allow you to download that most current version of Internet Explorer and install it from scratch.

If that doesn’t resolve the problem, then aside from just using a different browser, like Chrome or Firefox, the only thing that I can suggest is that you go down the path of just removing malware in general. I have an article on that, “How do I remove malware?” There are some things that you can try there including a repair reinstall of Windows. Theoretically,  that would also clean up Internet Explorer.

But that’s the path I think we’re heading down. That’s what I think has to happen here if the previous ideas don’t work.

Footnotes & references

1: I say most, because what some people consider some components of Internet Explorer are actually components of Windows itself.

27 comments on “How do I fix Internet Explorer if it won’t open?”

  1. There is no IE download for Windows 8. If your IE installation is broken you have to reinstall Windows, you can’t even revert to an earlier version of IE. Unless you know different.

    • That’s not just Windows 8. Every version of Windows has a base version of IE and you can’t downgrade lower than whatever that base version is.

  2. I NEVER run IE. I let it update to whatever the most current version is, but I run Mozilla as an everyday practice. Why? Faster, better and more stable, plus it natively runs the plugins and add-on that I have come to rely on. I also have Chrome installed, but I rarely run that, either. Why? Chrome has no way to retain stored passwords in an encrypted format, but Firefox does so. That’s very important to me.

    • I use Lastpass to store my encrypted passwords – it works cross-browser, and cross machine – including my mobile devices. I explicitly turn OFF password-remembering in my browsers.

  3. I came across a similar problem on a very old XP machine a couple of weeks ago that was still running IE7 but was otherwised fully patched. When trying to Download IE8 it kept telling me that it had the latest version already. In this case using an alternative browser allowed me to download and install IE8. That pc also had various browser toobars associated with the company mentioned in the original query. I often find that removal of those particular addons will cure browser and web connectivity problems.

  4. Just yesterday I had to reinstall Win7 because Internet Explorer 9 or 10 would not open after trying just about every known fix on the internet .
    Chrome & Firefox continued to work normally.
    The Windows reinstall was painless, although it took several hours.
    The reinstall was accessed from the hidden partition on my Asus laptop. All data was automatically retained{optional} & only the Windows operating system was reinstalled which included Internet Explorer.

  5. I had problems with Windows 7 using both IE 10 & 11.I could not download certain programs and when I
    would try to open pages in my emai I would get a blank page.When browsing I would also get a blank
    page and each time I would retry I would receive a different color IE search box with a blank page.
    When I opened Windows updates I uninstalled IE 11 and my system was returned to IE 9 which solved all
    issues .with browsing and downloading.
    Thanks Leo for your info supplied in your letters.
    Gordon Rodway

    • I use Firefox and Chrome for most of my browsing. I have the latest IE but I use it very rarely. You might want to try one of those and see if it gives you a better browsing experience.

  6. Internet explorer 11 behaves poorly and I’d like to uninstall it but I can’t. When I followed instructions that led me to download ie 11 I got that familiar message that the program i have is more recent than the one I’m trying to install. So, what am I supposed to do? I cannot remove this program. I cannot fix it. Every time I turn off the computer and turn it back on I get the same defaults that I removed time after time. I don’t want MSN. I don’t want BING. I remove them and reset my default search to google; reset my home page and continue until I turn off my computer and turn it on again. There’s the miraculous return of BING as the default search; MSN as the default home page, etc. I already tried to tolerate the continual need to remove the SUGGESTED SITES although it is unchecked in the advanced settings. etc. There are so many of these frustrations that after one week of this I will never again make internet explorer my default browser AND I will happily use CHROME, a browser I preferred to avoid since it came out.

    Do I have to reinstall Windows 7 to fix this? At this point I’d like to rip out and discard every bit of internet explorer 11, and possibly windows 7 too! Is there any less destructive fix?

    PS … THIS IS NOT A DUPLICATE COMMENT AND I DID READ YOUR ARTICLE. THERE IS A SIMILAR COMMENT BUT YOUR REPLY MISSED THE POINT AND DID NOT OFFER A SOLUTION. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD GET YOUR COMPUTER TO READ THESE COMMENTS MORE CAREFULLY BEFORE IT ERRONEOUSLY CLAIMS THAT ONE IS A DUPLICATE!

    • In Windows (File) Explorer, go to C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer and double click on iexplore.exe. This should run Internet Explorer. You can create a new IE shortcut by clicking on iexplore.exe and dragging it to your desktop. If no part of your desktop is visible, minimize your other windows and make sure your Windows Explorer is not taking up the entire screen. You can remove the erroneous shortcut.

  7. Inet Exp is part of windows system providing inet capability. It cannot be removed. It is active x, whatever that means. Other browsers are Netscape based, and are plugins to Inet Exp.
    Win7 upto date browser is Inet Exp 9 pre SP1, and maybe 10 or 11 post SP1. Up to date is relative to SYS updates. To downgrade sys progs often need special tools from website, or use SYS restore + check programs affected. To check browser vn see options – about.
    Fix browser – clear sys local + main temp folders, prefetch, Inet Exp temp files and last resort, index.dat files. Use C cleaner only on these items.
    Conduit makes a program called SpyBot. SpyBot conflicts with most anti-virus programs and gets everywhere.

  8. Forgot to say there are three programs to influence Internet functionality with a browser. They are Java Adobe FlashPlayer and Microsoft Silverlight. They must be right for the browser and up-to-date.

  9. Also make sure TLS protocol is enabled in Internet options. It is the new SSL protocol and effects communications programs using the Internet. Settings are in Internet Explorer.

  10. 4-16-2016 I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM. BOTH IE 10 ON WIN7, AND SKYPE. BOTH KEPT CLOSING. I THEN REMEMBERED THAT I HAD LOOKED AT A SPAM EMAIL A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE. I USUALLY ONLY USE FIREFOX FOR BROWSING. WHEN I FOUND OUT ABOUT THE PROBLEM, I TRIED ALL POSTED SOLUTIONS. NOTHING WORKED, BUT I KEEP MONTHLY BACKUPS ON AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE.
    I USE “ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE” , TO SAVE MY BACKUPS. SO I INSTALLED MY LAST BACKUP, AND ALL IS FINE AGAIN. SO I ASSUME THAT IT WAS SOME KIND OF WORM OR VIRUS THAT WAS IN THE SPAM EMAIL. ????

  11. what is the problem when i open the laptop ASUS Windows 8 and also the page internet explorer open at once , and i want not to open it , please explain for me the problem

  12. i am just a regular person who has had computers since the nineties. i am NO EXPERT, still i have never had as many problems with an upgrade as now since i downloaded windows ten. I’m spending valuable hours learning all the complicated ways to realize a simple task. I’m still stuck when it comes to copy/paste an article on facebook or just forward it?? i have come to keep a notebook and pencil beside my laptop, so i can copy ,by hand, a document of interest ! then, i type it in word and send it by Hotmail.?????? i can’t see all of humanity doing the same, which is why i ask you to PLEASE let me know what to do. I’m saving up for a mac next time.
    thank you,
    kerstin

    • If you are working on Facebook then the problem might be the browser you are using. Perhaps you are now defaulted to the Edge browser, which seems to have some issues. Try switching to Chrome. You might like that better and find it more intuitive.

    • I’m confused … copy and paste have not changed. In what way are they not working?

      Sending an article (web page) by email has always been fragile – since the day the feature was introduced. It relies on having your default email program properly configured, which – with the move to web-based email instead of email programs – many people do not.

    • Copying it by hand and retyping it is an incredible amount of work. Is it not possible to copy and paste it into Word if all else fails?

  13. Hey Buddy, last year IE went off, that computer data page came up accidentally when I was in IE and I closed it and IE dissapeared and I have NEVER been able to get it back. I just followed your tip for downloading IE 11 and after the 30 meg download was completed it said that it was not compatible with my 32/64 bit system. What the Frick? I don’t know what else it can be compatible with then.

    I need to run IE for some Google Earth imagery and also am getting a message saying that my system in incompatible and I need to download the plugin to view 3D but my Windows 8.1 is not compatible and I CANNOT find a download to Internet Explorer apparently I need, 7-9 and 10-11 with Compatibility View (32-bit), bugger me, they are alright when they are working, a SHIT when they are Not!, Can you sort this for me Please. Dean.

  14. My computer can’t open the internet. I press fix connection and they told me to unplug the modern brandboard for ten seconds or whatever. what do I do?

    • I’d phone my internet service provider and see if the problem is on their end. If they provided the modem/router, I’d have them look at that. If you bought the router, you could borrow another one ans see if that fixes it.

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Typically that's off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.