Tips for solving problems when Internet Explorer crashes or stops working

This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Internet Explorer 8.

If Internet Explorer crashes, stops working, or closes immediately after being opened, you might get an error message about Internet Explorer not working or that it encountered a problem and needs to close. First make sure that you have a good connection to the Internet. If you can't open Internet Explorer or if it opens briefly and then closes, the problem might be caused by low memory, or corrupted or missing system files. Restart your computer to clear the memory and then open Internet Explorer by itself.

If your Internet connection is good and you've restarted your computer but Internet Explorer is still having problems, try the following:

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Disable all add-ons

While browser add-ons can enhance your online experience, they can occasionally interfere or conflict with other software on your computer. Try starting Internet Explorer without add-ons to see if the problem goes away. Here's how:

  • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).

If disabling all add-ons solves the problem, you might want to disable all add-ons and then turn on add-ons only as you need them. This will allow you to figure out which add-on is causing the problem. For more information about add-ons, see Internet Explorer add-ons: frequently asked questions or How do browser add-ons affect my computer?

To automatically disable add-ons, run the Internet Explorer Add-on Fix It.

To run the Internet Explorer Add-on Fix It

  1. Click this button:

    Picture of a Fix it button
    Fix this problem

  2. When asked whether you want to run or save the file, click Run, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

To manually disable add-ons

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Manage Add-ons.

Reset Internet Explorer settings

If disabling add-ons doesn't solve the problem, try resetting Internet Explorer back to its default settings. This removes all changes that have been made to Internet Explorer since it was installed, but it does not delete your favorites or feeds. For more information, see Reset Internet Explorer 8 settings or Reset Internet Explorer 7 settings.

To automatically reset Internet Explorer settings, run the Reset Internet Explorer Settings Fix It.

To run the Reset Internet Explorer Settings Fix It

  1. Click this button:

    Picture of a Fix it button
    Fix this problem

  2. When asked whether you want to run or save the file, click Run, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

To manually reset Internet Explorer settings

  1. Close all Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer windows.

  2. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  3. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  4. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Reset.

  5. Click Reset.

  6. When you are done, click Close, and then click OK.

  7. Close Internet Explorer and reopen it for the changes to take effect.

Scan for malware

Malicious software (malware) and viruses can often cause Internet Explorer to slow down or stop working.

If you are able to access the Internet, go to the Microsoft website to download the Microsoft Safety Scanner, which you can use to check your computer for viruses and malicious software.

Install the latest updates

Running Windows Update can often correct problems by replacing out-of-date files, updating drivers, and fixing vulnerabilities.

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In Internet Explorer 8, click the Safety button, and then click Windows Update.

    • In Internet Explorer 7, click the Tools button, and then click Windows Update.

  3. Follow the instructions on the Windows Update page.

If you still can't get Internet Explorer working

Sometimes the problem can't be solved without a little additional help. Here are some online resources you can check out if you've tried everything else without success.