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Internet Explorer comes preconfigured with Bing as its search provider. Occasionally, IE ends up displaying Bing "accidentally". We'll change it.

In a previous article, How do I get rid of Bing??, I covered getting rid of the most annoying and most frequently complained about problem: the Bing toolbar. It's often installed by other applications without warning and it may even come pre-installed.

Aside from that, Bing is a website. If you don't like Bing, don't use Bing.

But it turns out there's one other little corner where Bing likes to hide out. I'll show you how to change search providers.

Bing as Your Search Provider in IE

In internet Explorer, there's a search box in the upper right corner:

Bing as the search provider in the search bar...

It's a convenient place to type in a search term and have a search engine look it up for you without actually having to go to that search engine's home page.

The problem is that, in many cases, this search engine tool will automatically be set to Bing. Maybe you just installed Internet Explorer and the Bing logo appears in the search box. Or possibly, you just installed unrelated software and discovered that it switched to Bing from your selected search provider. You might have even uninstalled the Bing toolbar and found that Bing is still your default search provider. Fortunately, changing the search provider is fairly easy.

Changing Search Providers in IE

If you don't see a Tools menu, right click in some empty area around the toolbars you have:

Toolbar selection menu

Make sure that the Command Bar toolbar is enabled.

Click on the Tools menu, then the Internet Options sub-menu, and finally make sure that the General tab is displayed:

Internet Explorer Search Options Button

Click on the Settings button for Search.

IE search providers dialog

Here, you can select the search provider you would like to use. Right-click on the one you want to be your default search provider, and click Set as Default.

If Bing is your only option as in the example above, click the Find more search providers... link near the bottom of the dialog. That'll open a new instance of IE on a web page of available search providers:

IE search providers web page

Click on the Add to Internet Explorer link next to the search provider you prefer. For this example, I'll click on Google Search Suggestions, which selects the Google search engine.

Add Google as the Search Provider confirmation dialog

Make sure to check Make this my default search provider, and then click on Add.

You may now need to exit and restart Internet Explorer to have the change take effect everywhere.

Google as the search provider

You can return to the search provider selection dialog in Internet Explorer and you'll see both Google and Bing listed:

Both Bing and Google as Available search providers

If you really want to remove Bing so that it's not even available as an option when searching, right-click on its entry in the list and click on Remove.

One Other Approach to Getting Rid of Bing

There is another approach you can take to stop using Bing: Use a different browser. Avoid Internet Explorer.

Other browsers seem to do a better job of exposing alternate available search providers when they have search functionality.

Let's face it: Microsoft has a vested interest in promoting Bing, and part of that promotion includes using Internet Explorer. Perhaps they're just making it easy to "accidentally" end up with Bing as your search provider, perhaps it's something more underhanded, but clearly, there's at least plausible motivation.

And a relationship you won't experience simply by using another browser.

Article C4730 - February 1, 2011 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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27 Comments
Greg Bulmash
February 1, 2011 8:33 PM

"And a relationship you won't experience simply by using another browser."

The tens of millions Google has paid the Mozilla Foundation in AdSense revenues for all the searches from the default Firefox/Google homepage would put their relationship sort of close.

And then there's Chrome, which is made by Google.

The water's sort of muddy.

Bob
February 2, 2011 2:39 AM

I agree with Greg.
Often, your preferred search engine will go a long way to deciding who's Browser you use.
That said, at least the non-IE browsers offer you a choice - I use Firefox, and though Google is on the top of the list, there are another 9 listed by default (with Bing at the bottom).

Jack G. G.
February 3, 2011 8:46 AM

Leo, Great site. I just used it for the first time.
Well organized. Proper technical depth. Well written. Clear, complete and concise.
Jack
PS: Response unnecessary. JGG

Rob
February 8, 2011 11:45 AM

Doesn't work for our desktops at the center. Cannot remove live search, also when clicking on add search provider nothing happens. Probably a GPO or security template in effect?

Barry
February 8, 2011 11:48 AM

Thanks for the articles, Leo. Nicely written, easy to follow - even my sister (who is SO not computer literate) would be able to follow it. For me it's a non-issue as the only reason I've used IE in a decade is either to download an alternative, or to access specific features of Microsoft's site that insist on me using ActiveX.
As to alternative search engines, I've defaulted to Google for years - but that doesn't mean I have to use their browser too. I have tried it but generally went back to Firefox, although I'm currently checking out the latest Opera; their Search facility lets you choose engines, change a hotkey for each, delete any of them, and add others if you wish.

Microsoft does seem to have an AoL-like attitude of trying to force (well, 'persuade' for us in the EU) every user to rely on a Microsoft application, system or partner for everything - to become a one-stop shop if you like - and so many people are willing to let themselves be led by the nose that I've no doubt they'll succeed - especially as IT policy in many companies is to allow NO non-Windows application to be installed on their machinery.

Rob
February 8, 2011 2:01 PM

I did some research and found that this link from MS works when the above didn't work for me (don't ask me why, it should have but this works)

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/en-en/default.mspx#

Bill
February 8, 2011 4:03 PM

I have run into another annoyance after uninstallaing the Bing bar using W7 uninstall periodically when the IE is started it reports an error has occurred in the Bing Bar and has to be restarted.

I'd see if Revo Uninstaller would clean it up further: http://ask-leo.com/revo_uninstaller_uninstall_things_that_wont.html
Leo
09-Feb-2011

Rand
February 9, 2011 5:51 PM

I found this site after firebox on windows xp reset to Bing as the search twice this week. I removed it from available search engines but today it popped up as a banner just under the tabs. I've looked everywhere and still have no idea how it got there. i clicked the "remove" button on the far left and it said something about tabs but I clicked it so quickly I didn't read it.
just an fyi

Gary Adsitt
February 17, 2011 10:48 AM

When I want to get rid of a toolbar I right click on a bare spot near the top of my browser and it lists all available toolbars and has check marks in front of the ones in use I just uncheck the ones I want to get rid of and it goes away. I went over to IE and unchecked the microsoft toolbar and a box came on asking me if I really wanted to do this which I really did. Like maybe I wasn't thinking clearly for wanting to uncheck microsoft. anyway bing went away.

Binky
March 26, 2011 10:44 AM

I just want to say thank you for having this up on the net. I was literally fuming because stupid bing took over my browser and i couldnt get rid of it. I was fixing to remove firefox totally, and I HATE HATE HATE IE, so i never use it. All other sites had said that it was piggy backing on IE. Since i dont use/have IE i couldnt figure it out. Again my eternal thanks for helping me to get rid of that god awful Bing. I hated it, nor did i want it.

Timbo
June 4, 2011 4:48 AM

Interesting, in Australia, when you click on Choose Provider you are offered a list of choices...

1. Bing


Really short list.

Rachel
June 11, 2011 4:30 PM

This didn't help at all - IE doesn't even offer Google as a search choice and disabling the Bing add-on has absolutely no effect. Since I can't kill it I'm switching to Mozilla but it's really infuriating! I liked the way I had customized Google and I HATE that some creep at Microsoft is dictating how I set up my computer.

Colleen
September 14, 2011 5:48 PM

I use firefox and was able to change the search option back to google, but every time I open a new tab, instead of typing in a URL it switches to a bing search box in the middle of the page. How do I get rid of that. It is driving me crazy and that isn't a long drive lately.

Lorie
September 17, 2011 7:11 PM

I did exactly as you suggested. Changed my search option to Google, removed bing, restarted my computer and guess what......It's still there

Ed H.
October 2, 2011 11:52 PM

I like Google Chrome as a browser, but Bing shows up as the search engine. I would like to use Google as a search engine. I have used Tools/Options and selected Google as the default search engine, but still have Bing as the search engine. I deleted the Bing toolbar from the computer but still have the problem.

S J
October 20, 2011 9:29 AM

WOW.... this is really a mess. I have removed it, changed it, undefaulted it, scrubbed it...YOU NAME IT, I DID IT. Start Now is absolutely determine to be the default page and there is NOTHING that a person can do apparently.

Sorry Leo, but your suggestions have flopped. Please keep digging for us because I have never seen anything like this. Its like a virus...but straight from Microsoft? That's a bit strange......

SJ
October 20, 2011 9:43 AM

For Firefox users the key is that its own options control center overrides the Explorer control center from Windows.

For Firefox:

First do everything Leo says. Make sure all Bing, Start Now, and Silverlight programs are removed.

Open Firefox.
Go to your add ons tab (some versions require reaching this through "Tools".

Click on options. Then actually click on options fly out.

The Start now home page long long long string will be in the home page box. DELETE ALL OF THE STRING.

Where it says "When Firefox Starts:" click on "Show my homepage" in the drop down box.

Then type in the url for your desired home page.

Hit OKAY. VOILA!

I need this kind of information for Firefox - Bing has taken over when I type anything in the addres
November 5, 2011 11:52 PM

Anytime I type anything into the address bar that it can't parse/doesn't understand, it defaults to a BING result.
I HATE Bing and want to NEVER see it again. Any suggestions on how to make it result in Google (or anything NOT bing?)

Thanks!

Wool Khan
November 16, 2011 1:23 PM

16 november 2011 @ 21:20 UK time
Hi
thank you thank you thank you this worked for me, i have tried everything you said and used the browser just to double-check whether it works or not and have restarted the computer, all works fine, thank you very much for your detailed help.

Michelle
November 28, 2011 10:30 AM

Chrome:
Click the wrench in the upper right corner (Customize and control Google Chrome).
Click "options."
scroll down to "search" to the right click "manage search engines..."
click on x near Bing.

Dan
December 13, 2011 10:07 AM

Thank you! That had been driving me nuts for days!

lynn
January 18, 2012 5:16 AM

I hate Bing, but I love Leo!
Bye-bye Bing! Thank you, Leo!!

Bob
February 8, 2012 5:34 AM

I have tried many online suggestions and none work. I have Firefox 9.0.1, Google set as search default, Bing removed from search list, Windows search disabled, and Bing does not appear anywhere except as bing.xml under Firefox search plugins. Nevertheless the first tab is OK but the second and others show the bing toolbar. Under XP I overrode it by defaulting new tabs to Google but couldn't find a final fix. Thanks!

Frank
January 2, 2013 7:08 AM

How can I uninstall Bing from I.E. 10/windows 8?

Kay Reeves
March 1, 2013 11:25 AM

Thank you. This is the only solution that actually worked for getting rid of all traces of Bing. From Bing to Windows 8--sick of MS shoving programs down my throat.

stephen harris
March 16, 2013 11:55 PM


1. Click on Google Customize Bar on top right represented by 3 horizontal lines and select "Settings."

2. Click on blue highlighted 'Set Pages' in "On Start Up."

3. Move cursor so that it highlights 'Conduit." Delete 'Conduit' and enter Google, or web page of choice.

4. Go down to 4th option in Settings, which is "Search." Select Google or browser of choice. Lastly, click the "Manage search engines" box to the right. Delete 'Conduit' from the list.

dean
April 14, 2013 11:32 PM

Can you map local DNS so every call to bing points to google's search site?

You could, but it's unlikely to work. The protocols (how the information is passed to the site) is likely to be different between the two.
Leo
16-Apr-2013

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