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Troubleshooting Lost Internet Explorer

My normal Internet Explorer has abandoned me. How do I get it back?Celeste Stewart

Internet Explorer Icon is Missing

First, let's determine if the program itself is missing or its icon. Normally, your desktop will have an icon for Internet Explorer as well as your Start menu. Let's test both to see if either works. Click the desktop icon for Internet Explorer, if present. Does it work? If not, delete it. We'll replace it later.

Now, click the Start button and test the Internet Explorer icon there. Any luck? Not there?

Finding the iexplore.exe File

Now, let's go into Windows Explorer and see if we can launch Internet Explorer directly from its iexplore.exe file. This file is located in: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe

Double click the file and see if Internet Explorer launches. If so, we simply need to create new shortcuts. If not, you may need to reinstall Internet Explorer.

Recreating IE Shortcuts      

To create new shortcuts, simply right-click the iexplore.exe file and choose Send To > Desktop. This will place a new shortcut on your Desktop, replacing the icon that you earlier deleted. You may need to "refresh" the Desktop by right-clicking a blank area and choosing Refresh. If you want to place a shortcut in your Start menu, right-click iexplore.exe and choose Pin to Start Menu.

Internet Explorer and Windows 7

If you've recently upgraded to Windows 7, you may notice that the Desktop doesn't have an Internet Explorer icon. This is due to compliance issues. No worries, you can manually add an icon as discussed above.

Other Possibilities

Another thing to try is to make sure that Show Desktop Icons is turned on. Right-click a blank area and choose View (Vista) or Arrange Icons by (XP) and make sure that Show Desktop Icons is enabled.

You can also check to make sure that Internet Explorer is enabled. Go to Start > Default Programs (Vista) or Set Program Access and Defaults (XP). Look for Choose a Configuration and then click Custom. Look for Internet Explorer and place a check mark in the "Enable access to this program" box.

Reinstall Internet Explorer

Finally, you may need to download and reinstall Internet Explorer. The latest version is IE8, however, if you want an earlier version, you can also download IE6 or IE7 on the same download page.

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2 Responses to “Troubleshooting Lost Internet Explorer”

  1. 001   jake_ie8team

    Here's another thorough guide to solving this problem from the Microsoft Internet Explorer support website -

    - Jake

    MSFT Internet Explorer Outreach Team

  2. 002   Celeste Stewart

    Thank you for the link, Jake.

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