How To

How to remove Internet Explorer from your PC

Jeremy Milliner


Internet Explorer has long been the butt of jokes and the wearer of the dunce cap in browser class. It’s no news that IE’s best days are long behind it, but now it’s not only terrible – it’s dangerous. Internet Explorer currently sports an unpatched exploit in the way it processes MHT files, the web archive format that the browser uses. Consequently, any hacker with malicious intent can easily spy on a Windows user and break into their local data. The flaw puts you at risk for doing something as harmless as opening an attachment. With so many better browsers out there, Internet Explorer is doing you more harm than good. Time to get rid of it:

But first…

Is removing IE dangerous?

Windows Features turn off Internet Explorer 11

When you try to turn off IE, you’ll get a scary message from your PC, saying that removing IE might mess with your default programs or settings. Surely this means the process is dangerous, right? Is this meddling in affairs that we do not comprehend?? Honestly … it’s not that big of a deal. Removing IE will change a couple of small things:

1. Links leading to IE are removed

If you remove IE, you’ll no longer have a shortcut for it (boo hoo), and until you elect to restore it, you’ll have no conventional way to run the browser. Obviously, you should have another browser in place before you remove IE (even if it’s just Windows Edge, the other default), otherwise, when you try to open a URL web address, nothing will happen.

2. IE is no longer the default for opening HTML

You won’t be given the option to use IE as a default program for opening HTML or FTP. It won’t even be listed in your Control Panel’s Default Programs anymore. Again, we’re not going to shed a tear.

Removing IE from your device in the following manner will shuffle how certain programs get opened, but it won’t actually delete any of your files that rely on the browser. As long as you have some other browser installed, you’ll be totally fine. All of your universal Windows apps will continue to function as normal, too. You’ll even gain hundreds of MB of free space!

Local disk space Windows 10 Internet Explorer 11

Install an alternative browser first!

Browse better for free

As we mentioned above, turning off Internet Explorer is perfectly safe, but we strongly encourage you to install some other browser first. Our recommendation is Brave, a browser that prioritizes speed, safety, and privacy. Brave was created by Brian Bondy and Brendan Eich a few years back. Like Eich’s previous baby, Firefox, Brave boasts great speed, safer connections, and more private browsing, even integrating other big names in anonymity like DuckDuckGo and Tor. In a lot of ways, Brave feels like an upgrade to Firefox, it’s default being to block any and all trackers, cookies, ads, pop-ups, and banners right out of the gate. It even automatically boosts your connections to HTTPS for the highest protection.

On top of that, the browser also introduces Basic Attention Tokens, a form of e-currency that safely allows users to distribute “attention” to their favorite publishers. The token encourages a more direct relationship between user and content publisher, and is working to usher in a “web 3.0” atmosphere where users are only given ads that are relevant, and only when they elect to see them. The Brave browser is free, and can be installed in three easy steps, so our recommendation is to install Brave before you rid yourself of Internet Explorer, which we’ll walk you through right now:

How to remove Internet Explorer

1. Open Settings

The easiest way to get to your Settings screen is to simply hit the ‘Win’ key and start typing “settings.” Once the option pops up, click on it.

Windows 10 open settings

2. Go to Apps

On the right of your Settings page you’ll see ‘Apps.’ Click here.

Windows 10 Settings Apps

3. Open Apps and Features

On the left of the Apps page you’ll see a list of subcategories. The first one on the list is ‘Apps and Features.’ Click this and it’ll take you to them.

Windows 10 Apps and Features

4. Open Programs and Features

The only tricky part of this whole process is finding where your Programs and Features link is located. Luckily, there are two easy ways to do this. The first is to maximize the window and you should see ‘Programs and Features’ on the right. Alternatively, you can also just scroll past all your apps and you’ll find it under the list. Typing in the search portal will not help here, so don’t let that discourage you. Eventually, you should see ‘Programs and Features’ right under ‘related settings.’

Windows 10 Related Settings Programs and Features

5. Toggle Windows features

On the left of this new window, you’ll see an admin option to toggle Windows features. Clicking this will bring you to a list of Windows features, one of them being the elusive IE 11.

Windows 10 Settings Programs and Features Admin features on or off

6. Uncheck Internet Explorer

Now that you’ve found it, disabling IE is as simple as unchecking the box next to it. Do so and banish it from your realm.

Windows Features Internet Explorer 11

Once the box is unchecked, click OK, then ‘yes’ to confirm that you want this dastardly piece of software removed from your OS. When prompted, click ‘restart now’ and enjoy your newly protected computer that’s at last free of its IE shackles. It’s also worth noting that if you want to bring the browser back (though we can’t see any reason why you would), you can just repeat the process above and when you get to step 6, re-check the Internet Explorer 11 box.

And there you have it! Your computer is safer, more efficient, and now has a bunch more space to boot. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions with the process, and stay tuned with us for more tech tips and tricks.

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