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It's not unusual to find remnants of Internet Explorer in your system – even if you don't use it as a browser. I explain why.

Hello Ask Leo!, When I run CCleaner, why does it clean items in Internet Explorer when I have not used it? This happens all the time. What is going on? Thank you.

In this excerpt from Answercast #33, I look at the reason Internet Explorer files get left on a system that does not use IE as a browser.

IE is everywhere...

Guess what? You have used it.

I've actually covered this before in, probably, a couple of different articles. It's an easy thing to come at from several different angles.

Internet Explorer and Windows

The fact is that Internet Explorer (or rather the guts of Internet Explorer) is actually used by many other programs; particularly Windows programs.

  • Windows Help, for example, is one of the easy ones to think of.

In reality, the guts (the HTML display engine, those kinds of things) are used by many different programs; both part of Windows, and programs that may get added to Windows later on; that you may install separately.

So as a result:

  • Since the guts of Internet Explorer are being used all the time,

  • That means that all those places where Internet Explorer leaves things that CCleaner would clean up,

  • Well... it's leaving things there that CCleaner would clean up.

So the fact that you're not using it as your browser really doesn't mean that Internet Explorer isn't being used. It is.

And that means that CCleaner definitely has things to clean up when you run it.

Article C5563 - July 9, 2012 « »

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.

Not what you needed?

July 11, 2012 1:10 AM

I find links given in the help application does that leave anything even though I did not click any of the given links.

July 16, 2012 1:03 AM

Yeah but, no but, I have UNINSTALLED IE totally! So why is ccleaner showing files from ie constantly? Are you telling me that it is still used thougfh i have uninstalled it? Is there no end to microsofts invasive m.o. !?

IE cannot be completely uninstalled because - yes - pieces of IE continue to be used by the system. It's not invasive, unless you consider intelligent re-use of software invasive. Many programs need to be able to display HTML - IE displays HTML - so programs that display HTML are allowed to re-use the portions of IE that display HTML.

July 16, 2012 1:06 AM

I have uninstalled Ie completely (as far as I know) and I do not click any random windows buttons for web. Though, wait, could it be when downloading through ff when download happening, is it utilizing ie? are you joking?

July 16, 2012 10:17 AM

@texaretoosureofthemselves ,
You can't completely uninstall IE because much of the programing is shared by Windows itself; it's an integral part of the operating system. So if you want Windows to keep functioning on your machine you'll always have traces of IE. Here's an article from Leo with more info:

How do I delete and reinstall Microsoft Internet Explorer?

Terry Hollett
August 3, 2012 12:16 PM

I use a program called "Raedon Tv Movie Radio Player " that I discovered uses the IE cache folders so it's possible that some of this stuff comes from third party programs.

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