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IE8 Crashing? Tips and Fixes

written by: Terry Caron•edited by: Brian Nelson•updated: 5/19/2011

Internet Explorer 8 is Microsoft’s default web browser installed on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Occasionally it may get hung up or crash leaving you browser-less. Here are a few steps to take to resolve most of the causes of IE8 crashing.

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    Internet Explorer 8 is a fully functional web browser capable of handling almost anything the internet wants to throw at it. Streaming media, pictures, extensions and most website design formats will work with IE8. Occasionally though, IE8 has a problem and a crash will occur. The following are some of the steps to take in order to troubleshoot and resolve the underlying problems causing IE8 to crash.

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    Reset IE8

    One of the most common methods of repairing IE8 errors is to reset the browsers settings back to default. To complete this follow the instructions below.

    1. Open Internet Explorer 8 and click on the "Tools" button in the main menu.
    2. Click on the "Internet Options" button and then click on the "Advanced" tab.
    3. Click on the "Reset" button and then click "Reset" again to verify that you want to repair IE8.

    If you are unable to launch Internet Explorer then you can do this from the control panel.

    1. Go to the Start menu than go to "Control Panel."
    2. In Windows XP, click "Internet Options." In Vista and Windows 7, click "Network and Sharing Center."
    3. Look in the left-hand pane, at the bottom, for a link that reads "Internet Options." Click it.
    4. Click on the “advanced” tab.
    5. Click on the “Reset” button and then click “reset” again.

    The browsers settings will all be reset to their default values and IE8 will restart.

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    Resetting IE8

    Internet Explorer Reset 1Internet Explorer Reset 2
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    Launching Internet Explorer 8 in “no Add-ons” mode.

    If you experience crashes after launching IE8 or when going to certain websites this may be an add-on to IE that is causing a problem. There is a way to launch IE8 in Vista and Windows 7 without any add-ons.

    1. Click on the start pearl > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools. Inside of system tools you will see and option for Internet Explorer (no add-ons).
    2. With IE running without any add-ons check to see if it crashes like before or has trouble with the same websites. If it does not have any problems then there is an add-on causing a conflict.

    Disabling suspicious add-ons.

    1. In Internet Explorer 8 click on Tools > internet options. Click on the “programs” tab and select “manage add-ons”.
    2. For any add-ons that appear suspicious or unused click on them and choose the “disable” option. This will disable the add-on and will even improve the performance of IE8.


    • If you are unable to run IE without add-ons from the system tools menu then you can open IE from the run dialog. Type in iexplore.exe –extoff at the run dialog and this should launch IE8 with no add-ons.
    • Make sure to disable any toolbar add-ons since they are known for causing problems with IE.
    • Look in the control panel, add remove programs for any other toolbars that may cause a problem.
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    IE8 with no add-ons

    IE8 no add-onsManage Add-ons
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    Removing and reinstalling IE8 on Windows 7 and Vista

    Prior to proceeding with the following steps, make sure you have an alternate browser such as “Google Chrome”, or “Firefox” so that you can complete the installation steps. Without an alternate browser you cannot continue.

    1. Close any open programs.
    2. Click “Start” > control panel > programs > uninstall a program.
    3. Click "Turn Windows Features on or off" if you are using Windows 7, and then uncheck the box next to Internet Explorer 8. Click "Yes" to complete the un-installation. (see pic below. )
    4. For Vista:
      1. Click "View installed updates" if you are using Windows Vista, and then double-click "Windows Internet Explorer 8." Click "Yes," and follow the onscreen instructions to complete the removal.
      2. Restart the computer.

    For Windows XP:

    1. Click start > control panel > Add or Remove Programs > Windows Internet Explorer 8.
    2. Click "Remove," and follow the instructions to complete removal of IE 8.
    3. Restart your computer.

    To install Internet Explorer 8 follow these steps.

    1. With your alternate browser go to the IE8 download page or click here.
    2. Select your country, language and OS if necessary.
    3. Click on the download button and choose “run” when prompted.
    4. Follow any instructions provided if prompted and this will install IE8.
    5. Restart the computer.
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    Remove and Re-install IE8

    IE8 Uninstall 1IE8 Uninstall 2IE8 Install
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    IE8 Compatibility View Option.

    IE8 compatibility view 

    Sometimes it may be necessary to revert IE8 back in time without running a system restore. IE7 and IE8 came with the compatibility view option for this. By clicking on this button your IE8 browser makes the browser emulate IE7 or IE6. Many sites will say they are compatible with modern browsers when what they mean to say is that they are compatible with modern browsers like IE7. If this happens click on the compatibility button and see if that works.

    Although this is not an exhaustive list of troubleshooting steps for IE8 it’s about as thorough as a reader would want to get. More in-depth troubleshooting is definitely available but it may not be for the technically weak at hear. One way or another these steps will fix almost 90% of IE8 issues with the exception of complete non-compliance issues.