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Internet Explorer 8 Troubleshooting

How to disable Internet Explorer 8 add-ons and toolbars in Windows XP, Vista and 7 for troubleshooting

By . Last modified: 2013-08-23.

You can add many add-ons to Internet Explorer 8 - 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.

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.

You can also use a well-known speedup trick that fixes DLL registration. This works for Internet Explorer 8 only and it repairs some problems that can appear while upgrading from an older version of IE.
Use keyboard shortcut Windows Key+R to open Run dialog (alternatively, open Start menu and click Run), type regsvr32 actxprxy.dll and click OK.
After a few seconds, a success dialog should appear. Click OK again. Internet Explorer 8 might be noticeably faster now.
Windows XP, Run dialog. To speed up Internet Explorer 8, type 'regsvr32 actproxy.dll' and click OK. Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 speedup, DllRegisterServer in actproxy.dll succeeded. Click OK.

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).
Windows XP users should click Start button or press Ctrl+Esc to open Start menu, click All Programs, Accessories, System Tools and then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).
Windows XP, to run Internet Explorer without add-ons, click Start button, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools and then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).

Windows Vista and 7 users can type "internet" into Start menu Search Box and click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).
Windows 7, to run Internet Explorer without add-ons, click Start button and type "internet" into Search Box. Then click Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).

Internet Explorer will open with Add-ons disabled Tab. Browse some pages that caused Internet Explorer to lock up or act weirdly. Nevermind (but do not close) the yellow Information Bar saying "Internet Explorer is currently running with add-ons disabled" for now.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8, Add-ons disabled Tab.

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

Note the yellow Information Bar under tabs. Click it once and select Manage Add-ons from the menu.
If you do not see Information Bar, click Tools menu and select Manage Add-ons.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8, add-ons disabled. Click the yellow Information Bar under tabs and select Manage Add-ons to disable or enable add-ons, browser helper objects (bho), toolbars and accelerators.

Typically Search Providers and Accelerators do not cause trouble, so try finding your newly added add-ons in the Toolbars and Extensions section (on the left, under Add-on Types).
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.
Click on the add-on you want to disable for troubleshooting purposes and then click Disable button.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8, Manage Add-ons. Click on the add-on you want to disable and then click Disable button.

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 button. 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.

Disabling Internet Explorer toolbars

If problems still exist, try disabling some other add-ons, one at a time. For toolbars, click the gray X mark in the left corner:
Internet Explorer 8 toolbars. To close or disable a toolbar, click the gray X mark in the left corner of the toolbar.

The toolbar provider might ask whether you want to disable the toolbar temporarily or permanently. Select the permanent option and click OK or Disable.
Internet Explorer 8 toolbars - Hide Add-on. After clicking the gray X mark in the left corner of the toolbar, click Disable to turn the toolbar off.

Internet Explorer opens Disable Add-on window and asks if you want to disable the add-on related to the toolbar you just disabled. If additional items are listed in the dialog, use check boxes to select all items related to the toolbar. Click Disable again (you can still re-enable it as described later).
Internet Explorer 8 toolbars - Disable Add-on. Select all items and click Disable again to turn the toolbar off permanently.

For other add-ons, you can now open Tools menu and click Manage Add-ons to open add-ons management.
If Internet Explorer stops responding after opening a menu or clicking a menu item, run it without add-ons again and disable additional add-ons there.
Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8. 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.

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 of any Internet Explorer toolbar. 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 8 troubleshooting. To re-enable a toolbar after troubleshooting, right-click an empty space of Internet Explorer toolbar 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 8 toolbars - Enable add-on. After re-enabling a toolbar, Internet Explorer offers to enable add-on(s) related to the toolbar. Select all items and click Enable.

Resetting Internet Explorer 8

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

Windows XP users should open Start menu (keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Esc) and click Control Panel.
In Windows Vista and 7, open Start menu and type a part of "internet options" into Search box. Click Internet Options in the results.
Windows XP, Start menu. To access Internet Options without launching Internet Explorer, click Control Panel. Windows 7, Start menu. To open Internet Options without launching Internet Explorer, type 'internet options' and click the result.

Windows XP users should double-click Internet Options next (if Control Panel is in Category View, click Switch to Classic View on the left first).
Windows XP, Control Panel, Classic view. Double-click Internet Options.

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 8, Internet Properties, Advanced tab. To reset advanced settings, 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 non-default toolbars, add-ons and settings.
Internet Explorer 8, 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 custom settings, such as home page, search providers, temporary files and history, enable the Delete personal settings option. This one makes sure nothing prevents Internet Explorer 8 from starting or running correctly.
Click Reset to start the cleanup process.
Internet Explorer 8, Reset Internet Explorer Settings. Click Reset.

Please wait until the Close button is enabled in another Reset Internet Explorer Settings window.
Internet Explorer 8, Reset Internet Explorer Settings. Reset complete, click Close.

Click OK to close Internet Properties window and then run Internet Explorer. Upon first launch, the Set Up Windows Internet Explorer 8 window appears. Click Next, disable Suggested Sites and make sure you select Use express settings before clicking Finish.
Internet Explorer 8, Set Up Windows Internet Explorer. Select the 'Use express settings' option and click Finish.

Now Internet Explorer 8 should run flawlessly.


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