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Check for Malware
The first thing to do when your Internet Explorer does not respond is to scan the computer for malware. Presence of malware prevents Internet Explorer from functioning properly. I would recommend you to use Malwarebytes or Microsoft Security Essentials for scanning the computer for malware. If the scan process gets interrupted frequently or hangs for long, you can also use the online scan from Microsoft.
If the scan detects and removes malware, you should be able to use Internet Explorer normally. If not, the problem may be with the Windows Registry or Explorer cache.
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Clean Registry and Internet Explorer Cache
Sometimes cleaning the Internet Explorer cache fixes the problem of IE not responding. You can use a good computer cleaner to clean the Internet Explorer cache and Windows registry cleaner simultaneously. Make sure the cleaner you are using cleans the IE cache also. Comodo System Cleaner has the facility to thoroughly clean both the Windows registry and IE cache.
I am asking you to use a third party program because the prebuilt cleaner in IE does not have the facility to clean the cache.
After the cleaning, open the Internet Explorer and browse normally to see if it is functioning. If not, check to see if any newly installed program or a related add-on is creating the problem.
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Did you Install Any New Program?
If the problem of IE not responding started appearing after you installed a new program, check to see if the program installed any add-on to IE. Open Add-ons Manager (Press ALT+T+A) and see if you notice any new toolbar or add-on related to the program you installed. If you find it, select it and click Disable/Remove. Close the Add-on Manager and see if the Internet Explorer is working.
You may also uninstall the program that you installed recently and see the effect. However, that is not often feasible. If you are not comfortable with removing the program, you may perform a reset. You can go for a reset even when you are not able to find an IE component (toolbar/add-on) in the Manage Add-ons window.
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Reset Internet Explorer
If you were not able to find the add-on creating the problem or if you did not install any program before the problem started, I would suggest a reset. This will change the Internet Explorer settings to default and remove/disable any additional add-ons you installed.
To reset the IE, open Internet Options from Control Panel. In the Internet Options window, select the Advanced tab. Click on the last button labeled Reset.
Open Internet Explorer and see if you can browse without Internet Explorer hanging. If this too does not work, you should reregister all the components of IE and see if it works.
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Reregister IE Components
Normally, a reset should fix the issue. However, if it does not work, reregistration of all the IE components should help fix the problem.
I created a batch file containing commands to reregister all Internet Explorer components. Just download the file and run it as an administrator. You may get the message - 'access denied' - while executing the program but after rebooting, the Internet Explorer should work. Please read the instructions given at the link carefully, before executing the batch file after downloading it.
The above should fix the problem where Internet Explorer does not respond. If you still face problems, please let us know using the comment boxes.
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Microsoft Online Safety Scanner, http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-gb/default.aspx
Microsoft Office Knowledgebase, Article: What to do if Internet Explorer stops responding
Screenshot by author, from Internet Explorer 9