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Internet Explorer 11 Troubleshooting

How to disable Internet Explorer 11 add-ons and toolbars in Windows 7 and 8.1 for troubleshooting

By . Last modified: 2014-07-29.

You can add many add-ons to Internet Explorer - video and graphics plug-ins such as Adobe Flash Player or Microsoft Silverlight; security add-ons such as Trusteer Rapport or WOT Safe Surfing Tool; custom toolbars, accelerators, etc.

While Microsoft's own add-ons work flawlessly most of the time, third-party add-ons can spell trouble more frequently. It might mean that Internet Explorer does not start, works slowly, stops responding, or some content is not displayed correctly on web pages.

Do not overload Internet Explorer with toolbars, you do not need all of them. Many programs offer to install additional toolbars, such as AVG toolbar, Google toolbar, Ask toolbar, BSPlayer toolbar, etc. If you do not use them, disable them - they chunk up memory and waste screen space.

If Internet Explorer window opens and then closes immediately, you might need to disable GPU support (Accelerated graphics): open Control Panel and launch Internet Options. Open Advanced tab, tick the Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering check box and click OK. Now try launching IE again.

First step in troubleshooting Internet Explorer add-ons is to remember whether you installed or updated some program lately. Or did you add some toolbar or plug-in/add-on to Internet Explorer? If you did, try disabling add-ons related to that software first - it might save lots of time.

You can also use CCleaner for quickly disabling and enabling any Internet Explorer add-ons in case the browser refuses to start.

Running Internet Explorer without add-ons

Second step is to load Internet Explorer without any add-ons to see if Internet Explorer itself works correctly. Please remember to close all open Internet Explorer windows before! Do not expect to see videos or other multimedia on web sites in this mode, other content might also be crippled due to disabled add-ons and browser helper objects (BHOs).

In Windows 7, open Start menu by pressing Ctrl+Esc and type "internet explorer" into Search box. Then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).
For some reason, Microsoft has dumped the command in Windows 8.1, but you can still open Run dialog, type (please include the double quotes!) "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" -extoff and click OK.
Windows 7, to run Internet Explorer without add-ons, open Start menu, type 'internet explorer' into Search box and then click 'Internet Explorer (No Add-ons)'. Windows 8.1, to run Internet Explorer without add-ons, open Run dialog (Windows Key+R), type "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" -extoff and click OK.

Internet Explorer will open with Add-ons disabled Tab. Browse some pages that caused Internet Explorer to lock up, crash, slow down or act weirdly. Nevermind (but do not close) the yellow notification saying "Add-ons are currently disabled" for now.
Internet Explorer 11, Add-ons disabled Tab.

If web pages open without causing Internet Explorer to hang, then IE11 itself is working fine. The next step is to try disabling recently added add-ons.

Now click the Manage add-ons button on the notification displayed on the bottom of Internet Explorer 11 window (displayed on the picture above).
If you do not see Notification, open Tools menu using keyboard shortcut Alt+X and select Manage add-ons.
Internet Explorer 11 troubleshooting. To enable or disable Add-ons, open Tools menu and click Manage add-ons.

Typically Search Providers and Accelerators do not cause trouble, so try finding your newly added add-ons in Toolbars and Extensions tab (on the left, under Add-on Types).
Right-click (or tap and hold on touch-screen devices) the add-on you want to disable for troubleshooting purposes and then click Disable. Alternatively, click or tap the add-on once and then use the Disable button on the bottom right.
Please note that Internet Explorer 11 displays Load times and Navigation times for add-ons. If either of the time exceeds several seconds, it would be wise to disable the slow add-on or look for an update to it.
Internet Explorer 11, Manage add-ons. Right-click the add-on you want to turn off for troubleshooting and then click Disable.

There might be several add-ons for one program, disable them all at once. But do not disable all add-ons from all publishers in the list - this means exactly the same as running Internet Explorer without add-ons and it does not provide any useful troubleshooting information.

When you're done, click Close. Close Internet Explorer and start it as usual. See if problems still exist. If not, you've located the bad add-on and almost solved your problem! Cool You can now try finding an update to that add-on via Internet or you can leave the add-on disabled.

Disabling and enabling Internet Explorer toolbars

To disable a toolbar, click the X mark in its left corner, or right-click an empty space near Tabs and click the toolbar's name. If a toolbar has check-mark in the menu, it is enabled.
Internet Explorer 11 toolbars. To close or disable a toolbar, click the X mark in the left corner of the toolbar. Internet Explorer 11 toolbars. To disable a toolbar, right-click in an empty space near Tabs and then click the toolbar name.

The toolbar provider might ask whether you want to disable the toolbar temporarily or permanently. Select the permanent option and click OK or Disable. This does not mean that the add-on will be deleted, it will just be disabled.
Internet Explorer 11, Disabling toolbar. Select 'Disable toolbar permanently' and click OK.

Internet Explorer's own Disable add-on window pops up next, select all items and click Disable to also turn off the add-on(s) related to the toolbar you just disabled (you can still re-enable it as described later).
Remember that Internet Explorer 11 also displays Load time for the add-on. If the time exceeds 3 seconds, it would be wise to leave the toolbar disabled and seek for an update to it.
Internet Explorer 11, Disable add-on. After disabling a toolbar, Internet Explorer offers to disable other add-on(s) related to the toolbar. Click Disable.

For other add-ons, you can click Tools button (or use keyboard shortcut Alt+X) and click Manage add-ons to open add-ons management.
Internet Explorer 11, Troubleshooting. To enable or disable Add-ons, open Tools menu and click 'Manage add-ons'.

Repeat the steps until your problems are solved and web pages display correctly without Internet Explorer stopping responding. Remember to close and restart Internet Explorer after disabling an add-on.
After you've located the problematic add-on, try enabling other add-ons you disabled before and see if web pages still work fine. You can then search for an updated version of the tenacious add-on via Internet or you can just leave it disabled forever.

There are certain toolbars and add-ons out there that refuse to be disabled and just keep coming back. Use free avast! Browser Cleanup Tool for removing such nuisances completely. It is also a part of avast! Free Antivirus program, and instructions for using it are available in this article.

Re-enabling a toolbar after troubleshooting

After you've located and repaired the source of Internet Explorer problems, you can re-enable any toolbar quickly by right-clicking on an empty space near Tabs. Then click the toolbar name you need to enable.
As usual, a check mark to the left of an item means that the item is enabled.
Internet Explorer 11, Troubleshooting. To re-enable a toolbar after troubleshooting, right-click an empty space near Tabs and then click the toolbar name you want to enable.

Internet Explorer opens Enable add-on window and offers to re-enable all add-ons related to the toolbar. Select all items and click Enable.
Internet Explorer 11, Enable add-on. After re-enabling a toolbar, Internet Explorer offers to enable other add-on(s) related to the toolbar. Click Enable.

Resetting Internet Explorer 11

In case Internet Explorer does not start even with all add-ons disabled, you can reset its advanced settings or restore all settings and add-ons to default.

In Windows 7, open Start menu, type a part of "internet options" and click the result.
In Windows 8.1, open Settings search using keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W, type a part of "internet options" into Search box and click Internet Options in the results.
Windows 7, Start menu. To open Internet Options without launching Internet Explorer, type 'internet options' and click the result. Windows 8.1, Settings search. To open Internet Options without launching Internet Explorer, type 'internet options' and click the result.

Open Advanced tab (the rightmost one) of the Internet Properties window.
First thing to try is to reset advanced settings. Click the Restore advanced settings button and then click OK. After the Internet Properties window closes, try re-launching Internet Explorer.
Internet Explorer 11, Internet Properties, Advanced tab. To reset advanced configuration options, click 'Restore advanced settings'. Then click OK and try launching Internet Explorer.

If this does not help, you need to click the Reset... button on the Advanced tab of Internet Properties window. Remember, this is the last resort and it disables all toolbars, add-ons and reverts most settings to their defaults.
Internet Explorer 11, Internet Properties, Advanced tab. To restore Internet Explorer to its defaults, click Reset.

Reset Internet Explorer Settings window opens with a reminder that you are about to lose all customizations. If you want to (or need to) completely remove all personalizations, such as home page, search providers, temporary files and history, enable the Delete personal settings option. This one makes sure nothing prevents Internet Explorer 11 from starting or running correctly.
Click Reset to start the cleanup process.
Internet Explorer 11, Reset Internet Explorer Settings. Click Reset.

Please wait until the Close button is enabled in another Reset Internet Explorer Settings window.
Internet Explorer 11, Reset Internet Explorer Settings. Reset complete, click Close.

Internet Properties window closes automatically. Restart your computer for all changes to take effect.

Now Internet Explorer 11 should run flawlessly.

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