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The latest IE update - Internet Explorer 8 - causes problems for some people. It might be easy to remove the IE update, or it might be a lot of work.

I recently updated to Internet Explorer 8. I would like to change it back to Internet Explorer 7. Can this be done? If so, how?

I'm hearing this question a lot. Over and over. From many people. All the time.

Apparently that latest IE update isn't working for some many people.

Including my own test machine.

And uninstalling it can also be a bit of a problem.

Internet Explorer 8

First, Microsoft has a knowledgebase article: How do I uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 8? That article references a "Fix this problem" utility that supposedly does everything necessary. If you can, I actually recommend trying that utility first.

If that doesn't work, then the recommended approach is to look for Internet Explorer 8 in the Add/Remove programs section (or the Programs and Features section) of Control Panel.

IE8 in the Add/Remove list

Clicking Remove should start the "Windows Internet Explorer 8 Removal Wizard":

Windows Internet Explorer 8 Removal Wizard

And then things get sticky.

As you can see, I've been warned that several pieces of software were installed after I upgraded to IE8. It's possible that removing IE8 will break one or more of them:

Internet Explorer 8 Dependencies

Hopefully, immediately after an upgrade this should be a short list, but as you can see in this example all I've taken is updates, and installed one application and the list is already quite long. Sadly, if IE8 isn't working for you, you may simply need to take the risk, and be ready to re-install any affected applications after you're done.

Eventually, you'll need to reboot (of course):

Windows Internet Explorer 8 Removal Wizard - Complete

After rebooting and firing up Internet Explorer:

Internet Explorer 7

Now, I'm hearing of many reports of folks who cannot follow the instructions above. The most notable complaint: "Internet Explorer 8 doesn't appear in the Add/Remove list".

The most common reason is simply this, quoting from the knowledgebase article:

Important You cannot uninstall Internet Explorer 8 if it is set as not removable. This occurs if you install Internet Explorer 8 before you install Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP.

If this happens to you, things get complicated. The procedure, as outlined in the knowledgebase article You cannot uninstall Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8 after you install Windows XP Service Pack 3 is simply this:

  • Uninstall Windows XP SP3

  • Uninstall Internet Explorer 8

  • Reinstall Windows XP SP3

Those three little bullets encompass a lot of work, and a lot of potential for things to not work, depending on how much activity has occurred on your system after SP3 was installed.

Finally, the original knowledgebase article I referenced above, How do I uninstall or remove Internet Explorer 8? includes "Alternative steps" to uninstalling IE8 as well. These involve running the uninstaller manually via commands entered or pasted into a Windows Command Prompt.

Article C3723 - May 6, 2009 « »

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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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45 Comments
Marty
May 6, 2009 8:45 AM

Leo,

I definitely agree the Microsoft utility should be tried, probably first. However, the link you provide at the beginning of the article appears to be broken. I've provided the actual URL below.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957700

The "Fix it" tool is small (less than 1 MB) and automatically rolls back IE 8 to IE 7. It worked like a charm for me, and hopefully it might help others.

Thanks. One little typo on my part. The article link should be working now.
- Leo
07-May-2009
Ziggie
May 6, 2009 10:18 AM

I think I'm the only one who hasn't had any trouble with IE8. Thanks for the instructions though, in case I ever need them.

thanks!

umair
May 6, 2009 10:37 AM

I'm another one who hasn't encountered any trouble yet with IE8 on Vista SP1. I mostly use FF3 but still.

Just J
May 6, 2009 2:17 PM

I really *want* to like IE8.

I have it installed on my XP machine (1GB RAM, SP3) at work and it runs like a charm (almost). OK, it's slower to initially load the application than IE7, but performance is generally good.

However, on my Vista (Home premium, SP1, 2GB RAM) machine at home, it runs like a sack of spuds!! 15+ seconds to load the program, plus another 15-20+ to load additional tabs *each tab*. It is unusable.

Incidentally, I have followed all sorts of advice ranging from disabling add-on's, re-registering dll's and uninstalling security applications - to no avail.

So, c'mon Microsoft, this is the sort of thing I'd expect from a Beta!

My 2 pennies worth.

Hope they fix it soon!

Mark Jacobs
May 7, 2009 2:36 AM

Another reason for Linux

Minot Isok
May 7, 2009 10:49 AM

All the problems I have seen with IE 8 have concerns about its speed or incompatibility. My problems have been that it has slowed the opening of programs. If I doubleclick something it normally opens immediately, with IE 8 I'm waiting for a couple of seconds - not really knowing if the program is opening or what.

I'm glad I have daily backups to fall back on.

David Aharon Lindsay
May 12, 2009 8:22 AM

I would recommend they download IE 7 in setup after you remove noxious IE 8

Before upgrading in General I keep a copy of the setup files in a special folder ... called setup files

Bonnie Templeton
May 12, 2009 8:54 AM

I have a user who could not access Outlook Web Access after installing IE8. It would not accept his password. So I had him download and install Firefox and use OWA through Firefox. Problem solved. I think it is ironic that he can no longer use a Microsoft browser to connect to a Microsoft program.

GuitarRebel
May 12, 2009 9:22 AM

After installing IE 8 via Automatic Updates, I began to get "Internet Explorer has stopped working" when exiting AOL mail. IE would then close down, automatically reopen and recover the page, only to have the same thing happen again. After the second loop, IE would open a page that informed me "Internet Explorer has stopped trying to restore this website. It appears that the website continues to have a problem."
I started using Firefox and visited the same webpage without any issues.
Problem solved.

Tony McGuire
May 12, 2009 9:43 AM

I had the same problem. I installed IE to over-ride IE7. I later wished that I hadn't so I tried to remove it. I looked up remove a programme but it wasn,t there. I was frustrated but,not for long as I later read that IE8 was not installed as a programme but as an UPDATE, and that all I had to do was to go into my 'updates' and remove the entry/line(s) were I installed IE8.I did this without any problem and reinstalled IE7. IE8 is NOT a programme but an update. By the way I am running Windows Vist Basic version.
Tony (Denmark)

Glenn P.
May 12, 2009 10:10 AM

Sorry to sound smug, guys -- but by far and away the easiest way to "remove" MSIE8 is simply to make a full, complete backup of your system just before you install it. THEN if things go south, you can simply restore from your backup -- hey, presto! You're back to your old version of Internet Explorer again, and no fancy "uninstall" procedure required!

For that matter, this same technique will work with ANY new software installation, not just MSIE!

I don't see it as being smug at all, I see it as being appropriately cautious. And if people are performing regular backups anyway, as they should, then it's also very little additional work.
- Leo
13-May-2009
John Ellis
May 12, 2009 11:04 AM

It seems to me, that most of the folks who are having problems with IE8 are running Vista! WHY would you even WANT to run Vista??? I myself am using XP Pro SP3 with 3GB RAM (my machine is also overclocked). I tried IE8, but I really didn't like it, and removed it, no problem. I'm now back with IE7, also no problem. AND, it's like Glenn P. stated, before doing ANYTHING, make a system backup. Sound advice and logic there!

Stuart
May 12, 2009 11:33 AM

Another timely article, Leo. But after having all kinds of problems with IE8 on my XP Pro SP3 laptop, I searched for help on how to uninstall it. I decided to try Microsoft's "Fix It" button, which appeared at the top of the search list. It took me through all the necessary steps, including the reinstallation of IE7 to my settings. In this case, Microsoft's help was actually very good.

By the way, IE8 has worked perfectly on my Vista machines. So generalizations based on OS are useless.

ryan
May 12, 2009 12:35 PM

JUST GET FIREFOX!!! my windows xp sp2 is running internet explorer 6...and i dont use it. i have it disabled in the windows components thingy. it is more convenient for me to use firefox...its fast...it has cool ad ons...and no hassle upgrading. and no, not another reason for linux...i wouldnt change my os for a stupid browser problem

Russ
May 12, 2009 1:05 PM

I have been using firefox for a while (year or more) and love it. It occasionally has a hiccup, but for the most part is trouble free, fast and reliable. I use IE as a last resort only if a site specifies to use it or else... I use FF on lap tops that have XP sp2 or sp3. Thanks for the tips to NOT update!

Mark
May 12, 2009 7:57 PM

I have IE7 installed just so I'm familiar with it to help other people, and to troubleshoot some web pages. But I've used Firefox since about 2003 and never looked back.

Sandy Smith
May 12, 2009 10:21 PM

I hate FireFox. I have been struggling with all 4 computers running IE8 for about a month until I threw in the towel a few days ago and downgraded back to IE7 (I hate to downgrade.) I was so thrilled to see my Vista Sidebar load correctly and my "larger" font displayed I wanted to get on my knees and cry from joy. What a disaster... And I paid Microsoft $69 to work with me via email to fix it. They refunded me the money. Obviously they weren't ready to release this yet. I hope they get it together because FireFox didn't work for me at all (I downloaded it to see if I would like it better... I didn't. At all.) I also had some trouble uninstalling IE8 (didn't go like directions said it would) but I got it done.

Glad Leo chose this topic - clearly it is needed! Rock on Leo!

Carolyn
May 12, 2009 10:55 PM

I also had alot of problems with IE8 just hated it, didn't know what to do, I called my cable provider and they gave me a toll free number to Microsoft customer support I called them and they walked me through it step by step on how to uninstall IE8 and reinstall IE7, I would highly recommend that route before pulling my hair out and trying to fix it myself.

Alan
May 13, 2009 6:04 AM

MS Updates put IE8 automatically on my machine and IE was really slow. I first tried System Restore in Safe Mode a day later to put the system back before Update installed it. IE7 was back but non functional. Used System Restore again to put IE8 back. Removed IE8 with the MS Fix This Problem utility. (MicrosoftFixit50238.msi) The utility works great. It kept all my toolbars and IE7 appears to work better than before.

Bill
May 13, 2009 11:11 AM

I updated to IE8, and after seeing how slow my XP machine became, removed it using Revo Uninstaller. I reinstalled IE7, and noticed that when I run sfc /scannow, it no longer works, and I only get a brief flash of a slightly larger black screen than with scannow, and no scan. What does this mean, and how do I get back the scan process?.This all took place prior to your article......Thanks

Try running SFC in a Windows Command Shell, and you'll be able to see the error message it flashing. More here.
- Leo
14-May-2009

Douglas Helm
May 13, 2009 12:37 PM

Here is a sure fire way. I got this from Microsoft after a lot of complaining. [broken link removed] Download this file (IE8 Beta 2 Removal Tool V1.1) and run it. Works great.

Donna Clayson
May 13, 2009 4:49 PM

I must be the only one that actually likes Explorer 8. I'm running Windows XP on my computer. No problems so far. I'd like to know what kind of problems users are encountering?

Leon Soles
May 13, 2009 8:08 PM

I downloaded and installed IE8 about a month ago. Haven't had any problems with it. Mostly I've used Firefox for the past couple of years, and still do. Occasionally, I'll check out IE8 to see how it's doing and it's always doing fine. Still, I prefer Firefox.
I'm no computer expert, so as far as I know there is nothing special that I did when installing IE8 to make it work alright.

Sandy Smith
May 14, 2009 8:09 PM

I loved IE8... it wasn't a matter of like or dislike - there were problems with it, or in tech terms, "bugs."

I downgraded back to IE7 and now my browswer is crashing - I'll have to call Microsoft again. I am so bummed.

The only thing worse than an upgrade from Microsof failing - is the downgrade to get you out of the mess (which was running FINE before the upgrade) failing.

Cindy Kiessling
May 15, 2009 6:39 AM

Boy, does this sound familiar! I too installed IE8, and I didn't even have a chance to try it as it wouldn't open my browser. I kept getting the "internet explorer had encountered a problem, blah blah blah". I thankfully have a laptop also, and after troubleshooting with Microsoft, HP and my cable company, I downloaded Firefox onto a CD on the laptop and installed that onto my desktop.
I have never looked back. Couldn't if I wanted to. I did try burning IE7 to a cd and installing that again, but it won't work. So I've given-up on IE.
Thankfully, I actually like Firefox a lot more than Internet Explorer. So perhaps the whole experience was worth it.

Sandy Smith
May 15, 2009 6:49 PM

All my IE8 problems (which were the same) were on My 3 Vista computers. My XP is running IE8 with no trouble. I don't run the XP computer much anymore so I wasn't aware of it until today when I went to uninstall IE8 and saw I didn't have to. I can't believe they gave Vista such a bad deal here... is Vista just going to be this red headed step child to all software including Microsofts own software??? It just shows they don't care about Vista...

Duane
May 16, 2009 1:32 PM

I guess I got lucky. I installed IE8 and within a few minutes uninstalled it - all without any negatives.

I installed IE8 on my XP Pro system and spent perhaps 30 minutes checking websites. I noticed I *did* like several of the new features but perhaps 30% of the websites I went to would not open.

So I immediately uninstalled it (using Add/Remove). Reverted back to IE7 with no problems. After reading Leo's article I feel lucky I didn't do more than just check a few websites before I uninstalled 8.

I don't know how much beta testing IE8 underwent but from what little I know methinks MS should NOT have put it on Windows Updates.

Bill
May 19, 2009 9:45 AM

Hi Leo, on the 14 May 2009, you answered my email of 13 May, regarding not being able to run sfc /scannow. I ran cmd per your suggestions, and got the window, ran scannow, and I got this: The specific error code is 0x000006ba [ the RPC server is unavailable] I've researched this on the web, and all the ideas suggested have not helped. Is there something else I can do to remedy this problem? I really appreciate your help on this, thank you. Bill

Joe G
May 19, 2009 4:10 PM

Hello Leo,
Newbie here, but quickly appreciating the value of your site.
IE 8 nightmares,,,did all you suggest (MS 'help' was a waste), SP3 blocks, and can't seem to 'lose' it. I also tried a few reg clean free scans (no$/no fix) they off course find 100+ issues,,,,90% file assoc 'errors'. I use daily all the best anti/fix/clean freeware. XP home, no games added; prosexp seems small/clean. Since adding IE 8 though, my sys loads way slow and crashes when going to sites IE7 (and beta 8 also)opened fast. At wits end after 50+ hrs trying to fix,,,,any ideas ??
Thanks Leo,,,great site :)

Joe

Steve
May 25, 2009 5:52 AM

I uninstalled IE8 and now when I open the IE7 browser it crashes to the desk top. I tryed starting it without add ons but as soon as I try going to a site it crashes back to desktop. Help.

MmeMoxie
May 26, 2009 10:11 AM

I tried IE8 & didn't like it. Luckily, I installed IE8 after I upgraded to SP3. So, it was a simple process of uninstalling and going back to IE7. I have just become a fan of Firefox. Occasionally, I can't access a website, but, over all Firefox is one of the best browsers that I have ever used!

I think IE8 is trying to 'duplicate' Firefox and simply 'misses the mark' all over. I have also, found Firefox to be much faster opening websites.

I agree with others, that Microsoft really shouldn't release an upgrade/update until it really is ready.

Peter
May 26, 2009 5:15 PM

Hi Leo,

I found this page of yours really amazing and I donít know how to tell ya how much it is appreciated.
As per removal of IE8, which after an impulse installation made my life miserable for several days and made me to scream at ISP support guys, Iíve, finally, got rid of that crap. Iíve followed the link you have provided atop of the page and it just worked fine...since I hadnít had IE8 in add remove programs. But itís all OK now and Iím calm again... ;-)) Thanks again.

Dennis Anthony
May 29, 2009 6:38 AM

I have just received the info about -'cross-site scripting exploits, called JSRedir-R' which infects perfectly innocent websites which infect your computer without having to click on anything. The advice given to deal with this is to upgrade one's browser to IE8! If IE8 is such a problem what to do? I have no knowledge of other browser vulnerablilites to this threat - do others?

One solution is to use FireFox and the NoScript plugin which also looks for cross-site-scripting.
- Leo
30-May-2009

sirpaul1
June 2, 2009 9:46 AM

If anyone is running IE8 and Spybot S&D, turn off "immunization" in Spybot. They just won't play well with each other. Both want to be first in resource hogging!

Bernard Winchester
June 4, 2009 1:55 AM

Well, in fairness, a friend with XPsp3 was having severe problems with IE7, so I tried upgrading to IE8 after which all was fine, so you never know.

With regard to reversing system changes, I have to plug the Horizon Rollback program, which I have found invaluable. One of its features is a window which appears briefly during the boot process before Windows starts, making it possible to recover easily from crashes and installations which have damaged the operating system. I have found this program to be much more useful than System Restore (especially on pre-XP machines which don't have it anyway!) and it has got me out of dire trouble many times.

Lynn
June 9, 2009 12:15 PM

I uninstalled ie8 prior to seeing I was supposed to uninstall sp3. Now my ie won't work at all...can I uninstall sp3 now (after the fact)?

Bdubslawman
June 17, 2009 6:50 AM

No matter what OS (Vista, XP, or Windows 7) IE 7 and IE 8 crash or go into a not responding mode.

Once in a while it will say "Stop running script? A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly. If it continues to run, your computer might become unresponsive." IF I'm lucky enough to get that warning clicking YES to stop the script usually gets me back going. But too often something un-reported causes Vista for example in IE7 or IE 8 to just "Not Responding". I have windows check for a solution but ALWAYS none is found. I need a stable environment ... i often have 40 + windows going (yes plenty of headroom with 4GB of Ram installed) I know I should be using firefox because at least when the rare crash happens there I can simply restore the previous session and be off.

P.S. when I "down/upgraded" Vista IE7 to IE8 it deleted 95% of my 6 months of history. It kept a few random odds and ends around like salt in the wound ... I pray for the mainstreaming of a new Operating system. I've lost so much time/work productivity b/c of M$ I would have been better off conducting work via SNAIL MAIL!

Bdubslawman
June 17, 2009 6:53 AM

Oops i almost forgot. So i went into tools and shut off all active x & script controls (figuring if it's scripts that's causing the issues i'll shut them down. DIDN'T stop the problem. I run the script debugger and for-crying-out-loud even M$'s web pages are full of script errors and bugs. I HATE THIS WORLD...

Ange
June 23, 2009 4:39 AM

My problem is IE7 worked perfectly (well for a windows product lol), i installed SP3 then IE8, 8 was [edited], so i uninstalled now i get nothing but constant script errors in IE7!

Carol
July 3, 2009 7:15 AM

OS: WinXP w/SP3
I just installed IE8 and now, I cannot get the computer past the Login page.

I have rebooted numerous times and it's still the same: Login/insert password; see the DELL logo; see WinXP page attempt to start-up; then it goes back to the Login/insert password page.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Short of reformatting the hard drive and starting over - is there anything I can do to get into the Operating System and get the computer to actually run applications again?

Thanks for your help!
Carol
7/3/09 1013

anthony
July 11, 2009 6:12 AM

I stupidly set my computer to auto update and MS downloaded their malfunctioning junk. After reading the above article, I decided to delete IE8 and I am now running IE7 which has solved all problems. Vista? Office 2007? IE8? Only Bill Gates and crew could get away with doing their jobs so badly.

Ken Crook
July 19, 2009 3:39 AM

Running Windows XP/SP3
I had been using IE6 but I saw a lot of stories about needing to upgrade from IE6 because it was not secure enough for modern security problems.
I downloaded and installed IE8 without a problem (after doing a full Acronis Image backup).
I needed to turn off some of the assist features so typing went faster, but other than that IE8 works great. And is a lot faster than IE6.
I don't understand all the bad hype I read about IE8?
Maybe since my HP Pavilion notebook is just a vanilla system without any super geek add-ons, IE8 works for me.

Charles Tilley
November 19, 2009 7:52 PM

Why worry about removing IE8? If you're that low on disc space, you need to reinstall & start over with a fresh drive. If you simply don't want to use IE8, then choose another browser. Firefox 3.5.5 is an excellent choice (it's my default one). There are others, Opera, Chrome, Safari, Seamonkey (for low spec systems, Seamonkey is great). My point is you don't have to use IE at all, except your system uses it to deliver updates to your system. When I reinstalled XP Pro on my laptops, I unchecked IE8 & IE7 and checked "Don't show this update again". But last week I bought a new PC with Windows 7 Home Premium installed, so I'm stuck with it on here. I installed Firefox 3.5.5 on here too, without even giving IE8 a chance on Win 7.

Steve Miller
November 22, 2009 3:18 PM

I am glad I read these articles, I am not really savvy with all the tech stuff and I think with all thats said above I might stay with IE6 or go to Firefox and leave IE8 to every one else. Thanks for saving me a whole lot of head ache's.

Derek Lawler
November 28, 2010 6:17 AM

IE 8 regularly freezes up under Windows 7. This is extremely annoying as it can happen at any time.
I have to close it down and restart it, thus losing everything I'd been working on.
IE8, as with most Microsoft products does not as it should.

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