How to Reset Microsoft Internet Explorer to its Original State?

Internet explorer has evolved since its first versions, and has become pretty complicated web browser with lots of features, plugin support, and support for newest HTML standards. But that has come at a prize, such complication level leads to dependencies on lots of different sub-packages, C++ run-time libraries, and to gradual reduction of performance overtime, while registry keys become cluttered with garbage, and temporary folders fill with trash. One of the solutions is not to use IE at all, as there are lots of good browsers for Microsoft® Windows platform. But this solution is not always possible – if you have used IE versions for long years, chances are you will not want such drastic change as totally new browser. Then your choice is to use IE and do some maintenance from time to time to keep it in good shape.

Actions needed to reset settings

First, you should be sure problems are in the IE core files or settings itself. Lots of times some third party plug-in causes problems, and uninstalling it can lead to full cure for your Internet Explorer.

If you are using version after IE 7.0, you can reset browser to the state it was when you installed your operation system following this simple procedure:

  • first exit all instances of IE that may be open
  • then open start menu and using “Run” command start “inetcpl.cpl” if you are using Windows XP, or “Search” and open “inetcpl.cpl” if you are using Windows Vista
  • find “Advanced” tab and click it
  • under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click “Reset
  • click “Reset” again
  • IE will now reset to its original state, wait operation to finish, and click “Close” button in Reset Internet Explorer settings dialog box
  • you are ready to restart your brand new Internet Explorer

Please, remember that this procedure works for versions after IE 7.0 and does not remove installed plug-ins, it just disables them all. If you want you can then remove plug-ins using “Manage plugins” after you have done the reset.

Also have in mind that this feature will reset all of the following:

  • Home pages
  • Search scopes
  • Browsing history
  • Form data
  • Passwords
  • Appearance settings
  • Toolbars
  • ActiveX controls

So take care to backup important passwords and bookmarks you may need in future, because they will all be deleted.

This feature is extremely useful in case of IE 7.0 not starting at all because of faulty plug-ins or incompatibilities of any kind, but will help I lots o other cases, including but not limited to errors in “iexplore.exe” and any of the linked DLL files it may be using, as it will also reset most of the registry keys used by IE. But in some cases it will not be enough, and in extremely rare cases, because of the tight integration of IE with the OS core, the only way of restoring working Internet Explorer will be to reinstall your whole operation system.

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