Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working!

Category: Browsers

If Internet Explorer suddenly stops responding; disappears from your screen, leaving a popup error message; or if it closes immediately after you launch it, then you have a problem. Here's how to solve it...

What To Do When Internet Explorer Won't Work

There are a variety of things that can trip up your Internet Explorer (IE) web browser, causing it to freeze up, disappear, or refuse to start. Sometimes, the message "Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working" pops up, but Internet Explorer actually seems to work fine after cancelling the annoying popup.

(In rare cases, Internet Explorer vanishes in a cloud of greasy black smoke. But that only happens when you're in the Hall of the Mountain King, and threatening little dwarves are nearby. Oh, never mind…) In most cases, these problems with IE are easily fixed. Preventing it from recurring is also pretty easy.

Sometimes your Internet Explorer settings can get fouled up by malware, rogue toolbars or other ill-behaved software, causing the browser to malfunction. Resetting IE to its default settings may fix the problem. Here's how to do that:
Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working

  • On the IE window, click the gear icon (use the Tools button in IE8 or older versions) If IE won't start at all, go to the Windows Control Panel.

  • Select Internet Options, then click the Advanced tab

  • Click the Reset... button. (Note the warning to avoid this unless your browser is in an unusable state)

  • On the next dialog, click the Reset button

  • Click Close, then OK.

    Close and then restart Internet Explorer. In addition to resetting Internet Explorer to "factory defaults", this will disable all toolbars and browser add-ons that were installed. It will also set your browser's privacy and security settings to the default values.

    On the "Reset Internet Explorer Settings" dialog (where the second Reset button appears) there is a box you can check to "Delete personal settings". I recommend that you leave this box UNchecked. If problems persist, run through the instructions above, and check the box. This will do a more thorough reset, including the the browser home page, search providers, web history, cookies, stored passwords, and temporary internet files.

    Other Things You Can Try

    Add-ons, extensions, plug-ins or toolbars can misbehave to crash a browser. Turn off or uninstall any of these optional components you don’t use often. If you note that crashes are associated with use of one add-on, remove it and do without or go find another that does its work.

    Browsers may also crash because they have run out of memory space, or because system files they need have become corrupted. Reboot your computer to clear memory and then launch the browser again. If the crashes continue, try checking for corrupted files and repair any that you find.

    One file check function is “disk error checking,” which checks for and optionally repairs or quarantines corrupted files and bad physical sectors on your hard drive. If a file is written to a bad sector it may be difficult or impossible to read when it is needed; that can cause browsers and other programs to crash.

    To run a disk check, right-click on your hard drive’s icon in My Computer. (In Windows 8, use File Explorer.) Select Properties and then the Tools tab. “Error-checking” is the first option. When you click “Check Now” a new window will ask whether you want to repair any errors found; check that box. Scanning for and attempting to fix bad sectors can take a long time, so check that box only if you won’t need the computer for an hour or so.

    If the disk you want to check is your Windows startup disk, you will have to schedule the check to done the next time you restart Windows. You may be able to run a check on a secondary drive while computing in Windows.

    If your PC has a minimal amount of RAM, or if you leave lots of programs open at once, then your browser may run short of memory and crash. Add RAM or close some programs until the problem goes away. Another way to reduce RAM use is to open new Web pages in tabs instead of new windows. Each new window launches a whole new copy of the browser, eating up RAM unnecessarily. (See my related article Upgrade Your Memory for Better Performance)

    If none of these things help, switching to another browser may be the easiest thing to get you back to good. The Google Chrome and Firefox browsers look and feel very much the same as Internet Explorer. Personally, I use Chrome for everyday browsing, and recommend it for those who want an alternative to IE. There's no harm in having more than one web browser installed, and you might like the change.

    Your thought are welcome on this topic! Post your comment or question below...

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    Most recent comments on "Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working!"

    Posted by:

    Joseph
    16 Sep 2013

    All that is assuming internet options actually works. And where I work you simply CAN'T use any other browser for most of the time so I have the choice of running two computers or a Vbox which I think is worse. So my 2012 w7 computer is set to Firefox (forget about Chrome over here) and I have a remote desktop to an old faithful XP machine running IE8. Ugh. And when XP dies, aaaarrrrgggghhhh...


    Posted by:

    Barb Bee
    16 Sep 2013

    I have the perfect solutions to I.E. has stopped working. They are Firefox, Opera and/or Chrome browsers. Try them, you'll like them.


    Posted by:

    Marcy
    16 Sep 2013

    Sometimes it's not IE at all. It could be your Internet connection that has halted everything on your system. Or it could be something on your machine that has decided to run and is using all your resources. I have one site that I go to that this happens every single time and it doesn't matter if I'm using IE, Firefox or Chrome. Never loads without freezing my whole system.


    Posted by:

    Mark
    16 Sep 2013

    You may want to check this out: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923737
    I just had a similar problem with a customer's PC and NOTHING was working in IE. I used this, it "unlocked" it and now it works again. MS also posts all the IE programs in full for download if you want to reinstall the program.
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/ie.aspx?q=internet+explorer


    Posted by:

    Bob
    16 Sep 2013

    Any thoughts on the infamous "(Not Responding)" message at the top of the screen, usually in Outlook, but often in other MS Office programs? I have Malwarebytes & Norton 360


    Posted by:

    RandiO
    16 Sep 2013

    "If Internet Explorer suddenly stops responding; disappears from your screen, leaving a popup error message; or if it closes immediately after you launch it, then you have a problem."
    Your suggested bullet points may not be available for the recommendations you suggest.
    -------------------------------------
    Microsoft/Windows sites provide few other alternative means to reset/repair IE problems, if the user cannot get to the "Tools/Settings" within IE browser.
    #1 >> You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your PC. This can be useful for troubleshooting problems that might be caused by settings changed after installation. Resetting Internet Explorer isn't reversible, and all previous settings are lost after the reset.
    To have us reset Internet Explorer settings for you, go to the "Reset Internet Explorer for me" ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923737#fixit4me ) section. If you would rather reset Internet Explorer settings yourself, see how to do it in the "Let me reset Internet Explorer myself" ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923737#showme ) section.
    This Fix it solution [above] applies to Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. If you are running Windows 8, go to the "Let me reset Internet Explorer myself" ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923737#showme ) section.
    Pasted from

    #2 >> Because Internet Explorer is a Windows feature, you can't uninstall it, but you can turn it off. Here's how (in Windows8):
    Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap or click Search (if you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and move the mouse pointer down , and then click Search).
    Enter Windows features in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Turn Windows features on or off. In the Windows Features dialog box, clear the Internet Explorer 10 check box


    Posted by:

    Lowell Smith
    16 Sep 2013

    The best thing I found to fix IE10 crashes was to uninstall it and return to IE9 (which is there underneath IE10 and doesn't need re-installation). After looking for solutions for IE10 problems online and finding nothing that worked, this was the answer for me on my Win 7 x64 computer!


    Posted by:

    Kirill
    16 Sep 2013

    Everybody knows that MS Internet Explorer is a flexible installer-downloader of other internet browsers. It performs this function marvelously perfect. Never had a chance to see what happens to it after.


    Posted by:

    top squirrel
    16 Sep 2013

    1. If my IE crashed I don't care and wouldn't notice. I never use it, and if it were possible I would delete it from my hard drive entirely. There are so many good browsers out there, IE has no features that justify its being treated specially.
    2. Bob says he likes Chrome. I downloaded Chrome soon after it became available. (I can always use multiple browsers that work.) But I ran into a problem, one that no other browser had, and that no canned "help" link helped me solve. I looked in vain for a "contact us" link, so I could get help from a real human being. One who was familiar with Chrome could have answered my question in a second (I have long since forgotten what the problem was). So after many fruitless attempts to find the answer via their help links, I uninstalled Chrome. Hooboy! Then the pop ups began, asking me what was wrong, what have we done for you to throw us out like this, and please please tell us (in a provided text space) so we can fix the problem, welcome you back to the fold and we can all be happy again. Fat pitch! I told them why I'm kicking them out, that I no longer remember the problem, and even if it were solved the inability to get human help meant I wouldn't go back. I refer to it as Chrime in my more ironic moments.
    3) Don't be afraid to try new browsers. There is a world outside of IE, Firefox and Chrome. Download.com has a ton, all free. (Also check out MajorGeeks and Tucows.) Ever heard of Opera, Avant, Maxthon, Lunascape, Safari, Slimbrowser and Netscape? Some of these are related to the "big three" but have some worthwhile features. Lots more to play with.


    Posted by:

    DIVER0247
    16 Sep 2013

    IE wont go to my bank page, and nobody knows why. so now use GOOGLE and everything is fine


    Posted by:

    KatieA
    16 Sep 2013

    Thanks for another great article, Bob. :)

    I have reset IE back to factory settings when necessary, and found that that is a good way to get it to stop "getting stuck" when it gets into the "IE has stopped working" mode.

    I don't use it much anymore, either. I mainly use Chrome, and sometimes Firefox.


    Posted by:

    Bob Krampetz
    17 Sep 2013

    After installing Acrobat Pro, I.E. would hang trying to download a PDF file. Don't know if the two are related, but the error began soon after.
    The solution was to uncheck the Internet Options Security box marked "Enable Protected mode (requires restart)" .. it does NOT require a restart, and I.E. warns it's unprotected - But I now can get the PDF.


    Posted by:

    Art Frailey
    17 Sep 2013

    Come on, Kirill! Performs this function perfectly?
    And you have never seen what happens after?
    Must be some information here that you haven't related to us.
    I know of no one who has not had a problem with IE


    Posted by:

    SamG
    17 Sep 2013

    Turned off IE 10 after it refused to import favorites/bookmarks from other browsers. And plugins were few to my liking. Only update it for security as it's reported to be the most secure browser last month. But I don't use it. Whatever happened to the ruling that MS was forced to make IE removable from Windows operating systems?


    Posted by:

    Craig D.
    17 Sep 2013

    I had similar problems as Lowell Smith, when I attempted (several times) to upgrade from IE9 to 10. Despite following all the help prompts and MS suggestions, I still got the same response where it kept telling me to update ceratin files. In the end I left it at IE9, but mostly I use FireFox - much faster. I only use IE when certain URL scripts are purposely written for IE and won't display correctly in FF. Thankfully that doesn't happen often!!


    Posted by:

    joseph
    17 Sep 2013

    I disabled IE 10 under windows features. I use Comodo Dragon(Chrome) and Comodo Ice(Firefox).


    Posted by:

    Robert Gerade
    18 Sep 2013

    My IE 10 runs faster than Chrome or Firefox. I have one toolbar (RoboForm), other addons or accelerators are ALL disabled. I only have problems when I'm visiting "Twisty Little Passages All Alike" :]


    Posted by:

    Kirill
    25 Sep 2013

    To: Art Frailey I mean I've never had a chance to see what happen with IE after I downloaded by it other browser since after that I use other browser only. First clean installation always works fine. This is why I've never had any problem with IE. It's like any other disposable tool - it always works fine the only time. Maybe this is the wisdom you asked me about.


    Posted by:

    Lee H
    30 Oct 2014

    I know nothing about computers but after following your instructions on how to correct the Internet explorer not responding message its up and running again. Many many thanks you've made an old lady very happy


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