Reset Internet Explorer settings

By resetting Internet Explorer settings, you return Internet Explorer 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 delete personal 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, Web Slices, 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.

Watch this video to learn how to reset Internet Explorer settings (2:07)

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

  • Disabled toolbars and add-ons

  • 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

Settings that are reset to Windows, manufacturer, Internet provider, or corporate 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, SmartScreen 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 that are deleted (Delete personal settings is selected)

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

  • Typed URL information, menu extensions

  • InPrivate Filtering data

  • Explorer most recently used list

Settings and items that are maintained

  • Favorites

  • Feeds and Web Slices

  • 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

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

  2. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type Internet Explorer, and then, in the list of results, click Internet Explorer.

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

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

  5. Select the Delete personal settings check box if you would like to remove browsing history, search providers, Accelerators, home pages, and InPrivate Filtering data.

  6. In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, click Reset.

  7. When Internet Explorer finishes restoring the settings, click Close, and then click OK.

  8. 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.

  • To back up your home page or home page set before resetting Internet Explorer defaults, see Back up your home page or home page tabs.

  • 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 Enhanced Security Configuration or 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. For more information on Enhanced Security Configuration, see Enhanced Security Configuration for Internet Explorer online.

  • To re-enable add-ons, see Internet Explorer add-ons: frequently asked questions.