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How to Repair, Reset, or Restore Internet Explorer 8

written by: Matthew Becker•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/9/2009

If your web browser isn’t functioning the way it should be, then the likelihood of having to repair the program is an option. But how do you repair it? Read on for more information.

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    Standard Repairing Methods

    Usually, the best way to see if you can repair a program without performing a clean reinstallation is to check in your Control Panel, for the option to Uninstall a Program (in Vista) or Add or Remove Programs (in XP). From there, by choosing to uninstall the program, it would sometimes give you the option to repair it instead. Unfortunately, since Internet Explorer is pretty much glued to Windows, you can’t really uninstall it. As a result, the option isn’t there, so we'll just have to find another way.

    Of course, for XP users, you can remove your upgraded version of Internet Explorer, but that would just revert to version 6, which doesn’t really help.

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    Reset Settings

    Windows recommends one method of repairing damaged files. Here is what they recommend with Internet Explorer open:

    1. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
    2. In the Advanced tab, click Reset.
    3. In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, click Reset to confirm.

    By restoring Internet Explorer to its default settings, that should solve any problems. But if it doesn't, read on for another method to try.

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    System Restore

    If restoring the settings didn't seem to work, you can try using System Restore, which you can use to return Windows to a point before Internet Explorer became corrupted.

    Here's how to run System Restore:

    In Vista:

    1. Go to Control Panel and select System and Maintenance.
    2. Select Backup and Restore Center.
    3. On the sidebar to the left in the next window, you should see the option Repair Windows using System Restore.
    4. In the new window that appears, look at the following options. The top option is the recommended restoration point. If you believe your corruption of Internet Explorer happened before that, click on the other option: Choose a Different Restore Point.
    5. Choose the date that you want to restore your computer to. To see previous restoration points, tick the "Show restore points older than 5 days" option. Click Next.
    6. Confirm that you want to continue with the operation, then click Finish. Your computer will restart.

    In XP:

    1. From Start, in All Programs, go to Accessories, then System Tools, and choose System Restore.
    2. When the new window appears, choose Restore my computer to an earlier time, then click Next.
    3. On the Select a Restore Point page, select a date you'd like to restore your computer to on the calendar provided, and then choose Next.
    4. Next you'll see the Confirm Restore Point Selection page. Clicking Next will proceed with the restoration, and your computer will reboot.

    Note that if this causes stability issues for Windows, you can always go back to the System Restore utility and undo the restoration process. In addition, if after performing the restoration, Internet Explorer is still corrupted, go on to the next method.

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    If Internet Explorer won’t open at all to attempt this, or if the above method doesn’t work at all, then the other alternative is to perform a clean installation of the program. Of course, this would require downloading the program again. This can be obtained by clicking here.

    As you may have previously experienced, installing Internet Explorer does take quite a bit of time, and perhaps will have to ultimately restart your computer to complete it.

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    Try Another Browser

    If Internet Explorer continues to give you headaches, then perhaps it’s time to choose a different web browser. There are other alternatives made readily available to users. Keep in mind that any bookmarks that you’ve stored with Internet Explorer can easily be transferred to another browser. These are no second-rate browsers, either. They are fully functional.

    Here are some alternatives:

    • Firefox (developed by Mozilla)
    • Safari (developed by Apple)
    • Opera (developed by Opera Software)
    • Chrome (developed by Google with Apple WebKit components, as well as Mozilla Firefox elements)