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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: 2013-11-11.

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.

Disabling Internet Explorer add-ons and Toolbars

Second step is to disable latest Internet Explorer add-ons to see if Internet Explorer itself works correctly. Please remember to close all open Internet Explorer windows before!

For some reason, Microsoft has decided to dump the Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) command since version 10, but you can still use Internet Properties window for something similar.
Open Settings search using keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W, type "browser" into Search box and click Manage browser add-ons.
 Windows 8.1, Start screen, Setting Search. To disable Internet Explorer 11 add-ons, type 'browser' into Search box and click 'Manage browser add-ons'.

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

Now click the Manage add-ons button.
Internet Explorer 11 Properties, Programs tab. To enable or disable Add-ons, 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).
Also, make sure you select All add-ons from the Show combo box on the left!

By default, all add-ons are grouped by Publisher's name, so Not available does not mean that some file does not exist. It just means that there is no digital signature in the file.
Note that Internet Explorer 11 shows both Load time and Navigation time for all add-ons. If one or both of these values are high for some add-on, disable it first.
Click on the extension you want to turn off for troubleshooting purposes and then click Disable button.
Internet Explorer 11, Manage Add-ons. Click on the add-on you want to turn off and then click 'Disable'.

There might be several add-ons/helpers 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 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.
If problems still exist, try disabling some other add-ons, one at a time.

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).
Note that Internet Explorer 11 also displays load time for the add-on. If the time exceeds 5 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.

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 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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