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What to do when Internet Explorer is Running without Add-Ons

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 3/11/2011

If you are getting an error message that Internet Explorer is running without add-ons or if your add-ons are not working, you may have add-ons disabled. Follow these tips and you will have your Internet Explorer add-ons enabled in no time.

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    What are Add-Ons?

    Add-ons are programs that add extra features to Internet Explorer such as toolbars, pop-up blockers, PDF and video viewers to your web browser. Sometimes referred to as extensions, these programs are often installed when you install other software, such as Microsoft Office, Java, Adobe Reader and Shockwave, and typically require your permission to run. If Internet Explorer is running without add-ons, several things could be causing the problem. You may have all add-ons disabled, or you may have certain add-ons disabled while others are running. You can easily manage your add-ons in Internet Options, which can be accessed through Internet Explorer.

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    Enable Add-Ons in Internet Explorer 7

    Start Internet Explorer. Click Tools, Manage Add-ons and Enable or Disable Add-Ons. Beside Show, select Add-ons that have been used by Internet Explorer to see a list of all the web browser add-ons that are installed on in Internet Explorer. Look in the Status column within the window to see if the add-on is enabled or disabled. If an add-on that you would like to run in Internet Explorer is disabled, click Enable. Click Add-ons currently loaded in Internet Explorer to see which add-ons are currently running in your browser. Select Add-ons that run without requiring permission to see add-ons that have been pre-approved by Microsoft or by your computer's manufacturer.

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    Enable Add-Ons in Internet Explorer 8

    If you have upgraded your web browser to Internet Explorer 8, you must use a slightly different method to view and change the settings for your web browser add-ons. Start Internet Explorer 8, and then click Tools and Manage Add-ons. Under Add-on types, select Toolbars and Extensions. Under Show, select All add-ons to view a complete list of all add-ons that are currently installed in Internet Explorer. Click Enable for each add-on that you would like to run in Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer 8 may suggest that you enable related add-ons. If so, click Enable again and click Close. Select Currently loaded add-ons to view the add-ons that are now running in Internet Explorer. To see add-ons that have been pre-approved, select Run without permission.

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    Alternate Methods to Manage Internet Explorer Add-Ons

    If you can't start Internet Explorer, you can access the add-on menu by going to Internet Explorer and clicking Tools and Internet Options. Click the Programs tab, and then click Manage add-ons. Enable or disable the add-ons in Internet Explorer using the steps mentioned above, depending on which version of Internet Explorer you are using. Since you are accessing Internet Options from Internet Explorer rather than through Windows, the steps are the same no matter what version of Windows you are running. However, you can also access Internet Options through Control Panel. In Windows XP, click Start, Control Panel, Network and Internet Connections and Internet Options. In Windows Vista, click the Start button, select Control Panel, Network and Internet and Internet Options. If add-ons are causing trouble, you can load Internet Explorer without add-ons. In both XP and Vista, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Internet Explorer (no add-ons.)

    Use these tips whenever you have problems running Internet Explorer add-ons. For additional Internet Explorer tips, read How to Enable Javascript in Internet Explorer and Free Internet Explorer File Erasers.