Reset Internet Explorer settings

Published 12/05/2004 16:44   |    Updated 15/04/2008 16:48
How do I reset Internet Explorer settings?

By resetting Internet Explorer settings, you return it to the state it was in when it was first installed on your computer. This is useful for troubleshooting problems that might be caused by settings that were changed after installation. When you restore Internet Explorer's default settings, some webpages that rely on previously stored cookies, form data, passwords, or previously installed browser add-ons might not work correctly.


Resetting Internet Explorer to its default settings does not delete your favorites, feeds, and a few other personalized settings. See the table below for a complete list of all settings and information about whether they are reset or maintained.


Resetting Internet Explorer's settings is not reversible. After a reset, all previous settings are lost and cannot be recovered. Rather than resetting everything, you might want to reset specific settings or delete your webpage history. For more information, see the links at the bottom of this topic.


If you purchased your computer with Windows already installed, any settings the manufacturer specified will be reapplied. These settings might include a specific home page or search provider.


Internet Explorer settings that are affected by a reset

The following table describes what will happen to various settings when you reset Internet Explorer.

Settings categories

Items affected


Settings that are deleted

Browser history, temporary Internet files, cookies, form data, and stored passwords

Typed URL information, offline webpages, menu extensions

Websites added to intranet, trusted, or restricted zones

Websites added for special cookie handling under the Privacy tab

Websites allowed to use pop-ups under Pop-up Blocker settings

Explorer most recently used list



Settings that are reset to Windows or manufacturer defaults

Home page (for information about backing up your home page tabs, see Back up your home page or home page tabs)

Search providers, tabbed browsing settings

Colors, languages, fonts and accessibility settings (General tab)

Security settings for all zones (Security tab)

Advanced tab settings

Privacy tab settings

Pop-up blocker, AutoComplete, Phishing Filter, and Zoom settings

Page setup, toolbar, and text size settings

Feeds settings (sync and notification, not feeds themselves)

ActiveX controls that are not on the pre-approved list (reset to opt-in state)

Toolbars, browser helper objects, and browser extensions are disabled



Settings and items that are maintained



Content Advisor settings

Pre-approved ActiveX controls

Temporary Internet file (cache) path settings

Certificate information

Internet Programs (e‑mail, instant messenger, and other programs associated with Internet use)

Internet connection, proxy, and VPN settings

Default web browser setting

Toolbars are not restored


To reset Internet Explorer settings

Close any Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer windows that are currently open.

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
  3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Reset.
  4. In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, click Reset.
  5. When Internet Explorer finishes restoring the settings, click Close, and then click OK.
  6. Close Internet Explorer.

Your changes will take effect the next time you open Internet Explorer.


  • If you close all visible windows, but still get an error message when trying to reset, you might have programs running that are not visible. Restart Windows, open Internet Explorer, and try resetting again.
  • If any of the categories fail to reset, it is because Internet Explorer could not access a file or registry setting. This can be caused by insufficient security privileges, files or settings being used by another program, or low memory or high CPU usage. You can either continue to use Internet Explorer without restoring these settings, or restart your computer and try to reset again.
  • If you are using Internet Explorer on a server and have turned off hardening (stronger security settings for use on servers), reset will go to client level security. You must reinstall hardening if you want the increased security level.



See also: How do I delete my webpage history?


and How do browser add-ons affect my computer?


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