I recently updated to Internet Explorer 8. I would like to change it
back to Internet Explorer 7. Can this be done? If so, how?
I’m hearing this question a lot. Over and over. From many people.
All the time.
Apparently that latest IE update isn’t working for
some many people.
Including my own test machine.
And uninstalling it can also be a bit of a problem.
First, Microsoft has a knowledgebase article: How do I uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 8? That article references a “Fix this problem” utility that supposedly does everything necessary. If you can, I actually recommend trying that utility first.
If that doesn’t work, then the recommended approach is to look for Internet Explorer 8 in the Add/Remove programs section (or the Programs and Features section) of Control Panel.
Clicking Remove should start the “Windows Internet Explorer 8 Removal Wizard”:
And then things get sticky.
As you can see, I’ve been warned that several pieces of software were installed after I upgraded to IE8. It’s possible that removing IE8 will break one or more of them:
Hopefully, immediately after an upgrade this should be a short list, but as you can see in this example all I’ve taken is updates, and installed one application and the list is already quite long. Sadly, if IE8 isn’t working for you, you may simply need to take the risk, and be ready to re-install any affected applications after you’re done.
Eventually, you’ll need to reboot (of course):
After rebooting and firing up Internet Explorer:
Now, I’m hearing of many reports of folks who cannot follow the instructions above. The most notable complaint: “Internet Explorer 8 doesn’t appear in the Add/Remove list”.
The most common reason is simply this, quoting from the knowledgebase article:
Important You cannot uninstall Internet Explorer 8 if it is set as not removable. This occurs if you install Internet Explorer 8 before you install Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP.
If this happens to you, things get complicated. The procedure, as outlined in the knowledgebase article You cannot uninstall Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8 after you install Windows XP Service Pack 3 is simply this:
Uninstall Windows XP SP3
Uninstall Internet Explorer 8
Reinstall Windows XP SP3
Those three little bullets encompass a lot of work, and a lot of potential for things to not work, depending on how much activity has occurred on your system after SP3 was installed.
Finally, the original knowledgebase article I referenced above, How do I uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 8? includes “Alternative steps” to uninstalling IE8 as well. These involve running the uninstaller manually via commands entered or pasted into a Windows Command Prompt.