How to Reset Microsoft Internet Explorer

Senior editor, security and privacy
Updated

If your Internet Explorer Web browser suddenly has an unwanted toolbar, its home page has changed without your permission or your search results appear in a search engine you never chose, it may be time to reach for the browser reset button. Many legitimate pieces of software, especially freeware, slap on third-party, browser-hijacking extensions when you install them. The easiest fix is a full browser reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer will not delete your bookmarks, but it will disable add-ons and restore security, privacy and other settings to their defaults. The process will clear all your saved passwords. 

MORE: 7 Scariest Security Threats Headed Your Way

If the adware you inadvertently installed is a stand-alone program rather than part of the browser, resetting won't help you — you'll have to manually uninstall the software.

Here's how to reset Internet Explorer.

1. Click the gear icon at the top right of the browser window.



2. Select Internet Options
from the settings menu.

3. Select the 'Advanced' tab at the top right.

4. Click 'Reset.'

5. Check 'Delete personal settings' and click 'Reset' in the confirmation pop-up window.

5. Click 'Close' in the notification window that appears.

6. Restart your computer.

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