How To Fix Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working Error

How to fix the error message “Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working” when Internet Explorer (IE) becomes unstable. IE may stop working properly, producing this (not very helpful) error message – as if we didn’t know that it had stopped working…

Of course you could switch to an alternative (and possibly more secure and faster) browser like Firefox or Chrome but, if you want to keep Internet Explorer, we explain below how to fix it:

1.  Reset IE Security Settings – IE security settings may have been incorrectly changed by antivirus software or other programs – changing them back to their defaults may cure IE errors.

Open IE and click on ‘Tools’ then click on ‘Internet Options’ (if you cannot open IE you can access Internet Options directly from the Control Panel). In the Internet Options window:

  • click the Security tab and then click ‘Reset All Zones to Default Level’ (if it is greyed out then skip to the next step) and click Apply.
  • click the Privacy tab and then click ‘Default’ (if it is greyed out then skip to the next step) and click Apply.
  • click the Advanced tab and scroll down the list of Settings to the Browsing section.

Tick ‘Disable Script Debugging (Internet Explorer)’ and tick ‘Disable Script Debugging (Other)’ if they are not already ticked.
Untick ‘Display a notification about every script error’ and untick ‘Enable automatic crash recovery’ if they are not already unticked and click Apply. Click ‘OK’ to close the Internet Options window and then close IE.

IE Options \ Advanced tab

2.  Remove Unnecessary Toolbars – Badly programmed add-ons and toolbars are the most common causes of IE slowdown and “Internet Explorer has stopped working” errors – often they are installed without your knowledge by games or utility programs. Be ruthless and get rid of any you don’t use!

  • Click Start, Control Panel and then Programs, Programs and Features (Vista and 7) or Add/Remove Programs (XP) to view a list of all programs you have installed. Look for any programs with the word toolbar e.g. games toolbar, conduit toolbar, seekmo toolbar, smiley toolbar, Ask or Skype toolbar etc.
  • Uninstall all the ones you do not use – you can always download and reinstall one later (knowing that it is a new version, not an old one that may be incompatible with the latest versions of IE).
  • After removing them, restart your computer and open IE. With fewer toolbars on display you may also notice that you have a lot more room at the top of IE to view webpages – a bonus if you are using a small laptop or netbook screen.

3.  Disable Unnecessary Add-ons – Some add-ons (like the safe browsing software WOT) can be essential but many are not required and can slow down IE or cause “Internet Explorer has stopped working” errors.

Open IE and and click on ‘Tools’ then click on ‘Manage Add-ons’ (if you cannot open IE you can access ‘Manage Add-ons’ by opening Internet Options from Control Panel, clicking on the Programs tab and clicking the Manage Add-ons button). In the Manage Add-ons window:

Review the list of add-ons that are currently Enabled. Leave Enabled all those that come under the company headings of Microsoft (and your antivirus software or safe search software like WOT) but Disable all the others – to disable an add-on just click on it to select/highlight it then click the Disable button (you will notice the Status of that add-on changes to Disabled).

After disabling the add-ons, close the Manage Add-ons window and close IE. Restart IE and see if it now works ok without crashing. If it does then follow this step again but this time re-enable one add-on then test again to see if IE crashes. Repeat the process of re-enabling one add-on at a time (and testing) until IE does crash – the last add-on that you enabled will be the one that is causing the errors. Leave it disabled or update it to a new version if there is one available.

Tip: add-ons by major companies like Adobe, Oracle/Sun and Google are unlikely to cause a problem unless they are years out of date. It is usually badly written add-ons by smaller companies producing game/coupon/printer/social media add-ons that are to blame.

4.  Update Add-ons – It is important to update the add-ons most commonly used in IE – for better security and also to keep them compatible with the latest version of IE. In particular, if you have the following add-ons installed (most people have), see our articles on why/how to update Adobe Reader, Flash Player and Java.

5.  Update To The Latest Version Of IE – Updating to the latest version of IE will often cure the “Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working” error message as it is a new program with updated settings – and it is highly recommended anyway for better security and performance.

To check which version you are using: Open IE and click on ‘Help’ and then click on ‘About Internet Explorer’ to display the version number. For XP the latest version is IE8 but for Vista and Windows 7 the latest version is IE9.

If you are not using the latest version for your version of Windows then download and install it now – your computer will need to restart after the installation. IE8 for XP can be downloaded from Microsoft here and IE9 for Vista here and IE11 for W7 here.

6.  Disable protected mode – This is for Vista and W7 only, it is NOT available for XP.

Open IE and click on ‘Tools’ then click on ‘Internet Options’ (if you cannot open IE you can access Internet Options directly from the Control Panel). In the Internet Options window: click the Security tab and untick ‘Enable Protected Mode’ and click Apply then OK – now close and restart IE.

7. Reset IE – If all else fails and you still can’t open IE or it keeps giving “Internet Explorer has stopped working” errors, you can reset IE back to it’s default (standard) settings.

Open the Internet Options window, click the Advanced tab and then click the ‘Reset’ button – read the warning and click ‘Reset’ to proceed.

If you had already tried all the previous steps without success, this should reset IE and get it working properly again – use it as a last resort because you will need to reconfigure IE again and either reinstall or re-enable any add-ons.

8. Use Microsoft Fix Its – If you still get the Internet Explorer has stopped working error, Microsoft also offer automated ‘fix its’ which may help.

I have reviewed how to use MS Fix It Center – a program that can troubleshoot problems for you.

If you prefer not to install the whole of Fix It Center, here are the links to two specific Microsoft fixes for IE to fix freezes and to make IE stable. These fixes are automated – just click the ‘Run now’ button then follow the onscreen prompts to launch the fix it.

31 thoughts on “How To Fix Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working Error”

    • If you tried every fix including the Microsoft fixits then your options are limited – repair install (or full reinstall) of windows or else use a different browser like chrome/firefox

  1. i have a problem with my internet explorer,when i try to open my email from facebook someting white not recommended internet explorer bloked thi website from displaying content with security certificate errors please help me with this problem

  2. Cannot uninstall or disable tool are because explorer is looping and won’t allow it. Can only work in command prompt but do not know command to disable. Tried iexplore.exe-extort but not recognized. Any suggestions? Thanks

    • I assume you mean IE is looping? To run IE without any addons run the command iexplore.exe -extoff

      You can also access Internet Options via Control Panel if you need to reset IE. If Explorer is looping, IE must be the least of your problems – Safe mode and/or system restore perhaps?

  3. I have fixed my explorer problem this way.
    Click Start

    Click Control Panel
    Open Internet Options
    Click the Advanced tab
    UNTICK “Enable third-party browser extentions*”

    Apply the changes and press OK

    Use the browser
    Problem is fixed

    • That disables ALL add-ons though – including ‘useful’ ones e.g. Flash Player, Silverlight, Adobe Reader

      Some webpages will not work without 3rd party add-ons e.g. you won’t be able to play Flash videos/games

      Step 3 shows how to find out which add-on is causing the problem and disable/update just that one…

  4. #3 worked for me I disabled all the add ons, and enabled them a couple at a time till I found the culprit. It ended up being Shockwave Flash Object by Adobe. I uninstalled Abobe Flash player and reinstalled it thinking maybe something was corrupted. It still wont work. I just disabled Shockwave Flash Object 11.4.402.278 and all is fine.
    BTW some sites would work fine while others world bring on the Internet Explorer has stopped working message.
    There all OK now!!

  5. Thank you so much! I had an adobe add-on causing the crash! After trying many other solutions by different blog, your #3 worked and was by far the fastest!

  6. Thanks for the write up. i have found out that when I disable the JAVA adaon for IE9 then i can work without much hassle. If you try all else and fail, disable java to troubleshoot the problem.

  7. when i open my document then there written windows ekplore has been stooped working ,how i will repair the computer

  8. No.3 addons solved the problem. I went back in my error history to see when I started getting my stoped working errors to see what addons I had downloaded at that time and the first one that I tried solved the problem. It turned out to be a game bar. Now even the games are running better.

  9. I am facing the above mentioned problem in my windows-7 system. I have tried in all the above mentioned ways. Still I am getting the same error message “internet explorer has stopped working”. Can anybody help me with any further suggestion.
    Thank you

    • Run IE without ANY addons by running the command iexplore.exe -extoff

      If it stops crashing then one of your addons is causing the problem, enable one by one until you find the culprit and remove it. Also, in IE9, go to Internet Options / Advanced and untick ‘Enable automatic crash recovery’ then OK and restart.

      If all else fails, uninstall and reinstall IE9 – use the 32bit version for more stability – 64bit IE is prone to crashing

  10. nuimber 3, addons, worked for me. I had an old epson addon which must have been from my old printer. got rid of it and its not crashed since yippee!

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