How Do I Change My Browser Home Page Back to What I Want?

//
I upgraded my browser, and I’ve always had MSN as my homepage. Now, suddenly, the MSN homepage is all changed and I hate it. Can I change it back, and if so, how do I do it?

When your browser’s home page changes, there are two possibilities at play: the home page setting in your browser has been changed, or the content at the home page you’ve selected has changed.

I’ll look at both, and what you can and can’t do about each.

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

What’s a home page?

First, a definition: a home page is the webpage your web browser opens up first, and the page it returns to when you click on the “Home” button in the browser’s toolbar.

Typically, that home page is a URL of a page on a website out on the internet somewhere. For example, many people have Internet Explorer set to display http://www.msn.com/1 as their home page. When they fire up Internet Explorer, the page at that URL is automatically displayed.

People choose different home pages. Some use a bookmarks service as their home page; others, a sports team or local news website. Using a search engine as a home page is also a common choice.

Another possibility is to use “about:blank” as a home page. This quickly displays a blank page on start up.

Setting the home page

You set the home page in your browser by telling it what URL — like http://www.msn.com or something else — you want it to use.

Naturally, each browser is different.

Internet Explorer

First, navigate to the page you want to use as your home page. For example, if you want to use Ask Leo! as your home page, navigate to https://askleo.com.

While on that page, click on the gear icon on the top right of the IE toobar, and then Internet Options in the resulting menu. That dialog should open to the General tab.

IE Homepage

Click the Use current button followed by the OK button, and your home page will be changed to the page you’re currently viewing — in this case, https://askleo.com.

Firefox

The procedure for Firefox is similar.

First, navigate to the page you want as your new home page. Then click on the hamburger menu on the far right of the Firefox toolbar, and click on the Options item in the resulting menu. The resulting page should include the home page setting.

Firefox Homepage Setting

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

Google Chrome

Google Chrome’s home page setting is somewhat more hidden.

As before, navigate to the page you want as your browser’s home page. Click on the vertical ellipsis () on the far right of the Chrome toolbar, and click on Settings. In the resulting page, scroll down until you find the “On startup” section near the bottom.

Chrome start page setting

Click on Use current pages to set the home page.

In Chrome, the Home button is separate from the page the browser opens on startup. If you want the Home button to be visible and take you to that same page, scroll back up until the “Show home button” option becomes visible.

Chrome Home Button

Make sure that “Show home button” is enabled, and then type or paste the URL that you want the home button to take you to.

Close the Settings tab, and you’re done.

One page or multiple?

Each of the browsers support having multiple home pages that all open on startup. For example, you could have Google.com and askleo.com and msn.com all open in separate tabs each time you open your browser or hit the Home button. Personally, I find this cumbersome, and  set a single home page only.

The “Use current” button in each browser typically saves all the tabs you have open as your homepage setting, so make sure you have only the single page open in a single tab if that’s all you want.

How home pages change

There are typically four scenarios in which your home page can appear to change.

You said yes

This is perhaps the most common scenario.

When installing software, never accept the default settings. Always choose the “custom” or “advanced” set of installation options. The reason is simple: sometimes, 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 you’re not interested in receiving.

You weren’t asked

Some installation programs don’t 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 to your preferred home page using the instructions above if it does.

Malware

Malware — specifically spyware — is 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.

The setting didn’t change, the content did

This is actually the scenario with which we started this discussion.

No settings in your browser were changed. The home page setting is unaffected; it’s still exactly as you set it or left it. However, the content of the page at that URL has changed. For example, you’re happy with the MSN.com home page, and one day Microsoft changes how it works and what’s displayed on that page.2

Unless an option is made available by the owner of that web page, there’s nothing you can do to get the previous page back. It’s their page, and they can change it at will.

You have two options: live with it, or find a new home page, and use the instructions above to set your browser to use it instead.

Podcast audio

Play

Footnotes & references

1: Actually, it may be slightly longer: http://www.msn.com/?ocid=iehp – the “?ocid=iehp” is additional information that tells msn.com that this page was arrived at by virtue of “iehp” – the Internet Explorer Home Page setting.

2: This is the single most common example I run into. Microsoft has made major revisions to the MSN.com home page at least twice in the last ten years. People get upset each time.

50 comments on “How Do I Change My Browser Home Page Back to What I Want?”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. You are amazing. I arrived at this page because I had “about blank” This is the first time I have ever been able to sort anything like this for myself…woo hoo!

  6. I required a tracking method from fed ex and received a toolbar powered by ASK, which I am unable to deleate. I want to go back to my homepage of Yahoo Please Help me with instructions. Thank you

    • I’m a virus? Sorry, this is just a web page. I don’t do anything to make it come up when you boot up. Read the article you just commented on to set your browser’s homepage back to what you want.

  7. I want my pc back like it was I don’t like this and I didn’t ask for you’ll to change anything.

  8. You change it and you change it back. Why should we go thru this whole thing and still not work.
    PUT IT BACK NOW!

    • I am not your browser, nor am I capable of doing anything to your machine. Please read the articles for instructions on setting your browser home page to what you would like it to be.

  9. I downloaded software to get rid of malware. they changed my browser to Internet explorer. I was using Mozilla Firefox. I don’t know how to turn it back.
    I loaded foxfire but the 2 don’t like each other. now it says I’m not protected . Could you please help me to continue to use firefox instead if Internet Explorer.

    • To change your default browser back to Firefox, run Firefox and click on where it says make Firefox my default browser. If that option doesn’t come up, in Firefox click on the hamburger (3 horizontal lines) at the top right of the browser. Click Options. At the top of that screen, it should give you the option to make Firefox your default browser.In the future, when you install a program, choose the advanced or custom install, or something similar and be very careful not to accept their defaults which are not in your interest. Unfortunately some of these offers are very tricky and make it look like that offer is essential to the program working, so it pays to study each screen closely before accepting.

    • Google Chrome is a browser Yahoo is a web portal, and email service provider and a search engine. The two are completely unrelated. What exactly do you want?

  10. Hi Leo, I just want to say thank you, I have been up since 9pm it is now 12 midnight trying to change AOL back to Google. I got highjacked. And I clicked on every linked that claims to know how to help me do it, but it did not work. I’m tired and sleepy and pissed. They had me going to add ons and wrenches that I could not find by the way. They had me in control panel and remove programs, none of that mess worked. You were going to be my last one to try. And omg you nailed it and it took all of one minute. I love you.

  11. The browser that I have used to promote my business has been changed so that I am no longer able to promote or correspond with customers . Your changes have ruined me. I am 90 years old and you have stolen the last few years of my life in business “wogrinart.com I have also, lost my ability to correspond with family and friends.

    • First of all, Askleo.com didn’t do anything to you. Second, your browser is simply a program used to access the internet. My suggestion is that you find someone, locally, who can come over and help you sort out what is happening with your computer. It is probably very simple.

  12. I installed Firefox and now my tools cog which i had with IE as disappeared can anybody please help cheers

    you can reply to this email

    regards

    • With Firefox, you need to look for the hamburger icon at the top right, just under the close button. (unless you moved it elsewhere) It’s the 3 stacked thick black lines.
      The look is different, but the function is the same.
      You now have two browsers. You can launch one or the other, or even both at the same time.
      When you installed Firefox, it asked if you want to make it your default browser, and, apparently, you answered yes. If you want to make IE your default browser again, you need to do it from the Internet options.
      If you want to use IE, just use it’s icon, it did not change and still work as before.

  13. Hi Leo, first, I really appreciate your efforts on our behalf, helping those of us that may be a ‘little’ technically challenged when it comes to this computer stuff, and second, is there anyway to change the news feeds on MSN to other than the feeds that come up when you start the browser… mostly I like Edge, and its content, but sometimes their take on some subjects are a little more ‘liberal’ than I like…

    Again thanks for the service you provide…

    • I know of no way to change the content of the MSN.com home page (other than, perhaps, making news 🙂 ). All I can suggest is selecting a different home page that’s more to your tastes.

  14. I am somewhat forced to used to use Chrome because my browser of choice won’t open the compose window on webmail. I chose my home page on Chrome, but Chrome always opens on a search page. I don’t get to my homepage unless I click on the icon. What is wrong?

  15. Thank you Leo. I am very new to all of this but I’m intent upon mastering this medium and learning from the best and brightest. I believe i have found that in you LEO! I AM HOPING I CAN SAVE ALL THE ABOVE IN THIS ARTICLE. I AM SURE I NEED TO WORK WITH THE VARIOUS WAYS TO CONTROL MY HOME PAGE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS BEST FOR ME. ANY SUGGESTIONS ON THE BEST WAY TO PROCEEED TO REALLY UNDERSTAND IT WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED.
    THANK YOU AGAIN

  16. Golly Leo, you have the power to chose life or death for someone! I have a question for you but first, on behalf of mankind, I am sorry for that eldest gent who accused you of changing his browser & “ending his life”! Angry elders!
    I am just sick of CORTANA BEING NASTY TO ME! I TOTALLY GET UPSET & ARGUE BACK! IT’S NOT WORTH THE UPSET; THEN WHEN I ASK FOR BING.COM WELL YOU CAN’T JUST IMAGINE WHAT I GET!! I HAVE A WINDOWS 8.1 PHONE THAT HAS HAD TONS OF PROBLEMS BUT RIGHT NOW ALL I WOULD LIKE IS THE BING Dashboard & I was going to have Bing as my home page but guess I don’t need to if I could find a Windows 8.1 link with Bing dashboard. Have tried a few already but now, my phone only offers google(Android) or iPhone. I also feel I’m being “pushed out the Windows” & I don’t know how to fight it any longer, I don’t have an actual computer. Sorry msg is long, but that elder ruffled feathers!!

  17. sir,my operating system is ubuntu.I went to google in fire fox and searched for how to install play store app in pc.And after returnig to the home page of my fire fox it has changed.Now what can i do sir

    • I don’t see how it affects your privacy. It’s only an email which you requested at one time. You can unsubscribe from the Newsletter by clicking on the unsubscribe button at the bottom of any newsletter.

  18. Win 10:
    What you say is correct Leo, however, when I click on links in emails that I know are good, many open to about:blank BUT then when I click on that in the nav bar it changes to the correct but will not load…it just spins.
    I was advised that it was a virus and i think it was called eicare? I was told to find it in c:/test/eicar.com but it was not there even though I have hidden files and folder checked? I also have read that malware bites will remove it?

  19. Last night I was searching and found something but before that link would open for me it asked the ‘allow or don’t allow’ questions. Not sure what I was allowing, like a dummy, I allowed. Now my search page is all different. How do I get it back???

    • Not knowing what you allowed, it’s not easy to say. If you include which browser you used and what was originally on the page and what it was changed to, it might be possible to help.

Leave a reply: