How to Force Internet Explorer 11 as Default in Windows 10

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Sam P. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I just upgraded to Windows 10 and I can't stand using the Edge browser. Before I upgraded to Windows 10, I was using Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). I had Internet Explorer 11 set up with a few of my favorite add-ons, which are not compatible with Edge. Do you know if there is any way for me to use Internet Explorer 11 as my default browser in Windows 10? I've tried using the Settings App to make IE 11 as default, but it doesn't seem to work. "

My response:

When you upgraded to Windows 10, and if you agreed to use the "recommended defaults" setting during the installation, Windows 10 will automatically change many of the default programs associated with certain file types. In this case, Microsoft Edge became your default web browser by using the recommended defaults.

The good news is that you can easily change the default browser in Windows 10 with a few mouse clicks, though the way this is done is a little different than how it was managed in Windows 7. If you are having troubles setting IE11 as the default, I have a potential fix for that mentioned further down.

Option #1: Change your Default Web Browser using the Settings App

This is the most common method used for changing your default browser and should work in most cases. If it does not, try Option #2 or #3 below.

  1. Click Start and type in "default browser" (no quotes).
  2. Click the link that says "Choose a default web browser" when it appears in the list of your Start menu.
  3. The Settings window will appear; click the "Default apps" heading on the left (it should already be highlighted).
  4. On the right of the screen, look for the heading "Web browser" and click the icon.
  5. A new window will appear with the title "Choose an app". Select Internet Explorer 11 or whichever browser you wish to use as your default.

That should do it.

Option #2: Reset Browser Registry Entries by Reinstalling Your Browser

If your web browser won't set as default using Option #1, you can try reinstalling the browser to reset and fix some Windows registry entries that may have been corrupted. Use this method if Option #1 doesn't work for you, but skip this section if you are trying to reinstall Internet Explorer 11 (use Option #3 instead).

  1. Download the browser you want to use from the Internet. For example, if you want to use Firefox, go to and download the Firefox installer.
  2. Run the browser setup / install program once the download completes.
  3. As the browser reinstalls, it should reset browser settings in the Windows Registry and allow you to set the browser as default properly.
  4. After the browser is reinstalled, follow the steps outlined in Option #1 again.

Option #3: How to Reinstall (Fix) Internet Explorer 11 Registry Settings

You cannot re-download and reinstall Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10 using an executable file because Microsoft won't allow it - I've tried and am met with a message that says "Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 is not compatible with your system." Instead, you can attempt to reinitialize Internet Explorer 11 registry entries if Internet Explorer 11 refuses to set as your default browser in Windows 10.

To do so:

  1. Click Start and type in "cmd" (no quotes) and do NOT press Enter. Instead, wait for Command Prompt or "CMD.EXE" to appear in the list, right click it, and select "Run as Administrator".
  2. A black Administrative Command Prompt prompt window should appear. If you don't see the word "Administrator" in the command prompt title, then press CTRL + ALT + DEL on the keyboard and run Task Manager. Once Task Manager appears, go to File -> "Run new task", then type in "cmd" (no quotes) in the field and tick the box that says "Create this task with administrative privileges".
  3. Next, highlight the text below using your mouse:

    "%windir%\system32\ie4uinit.exe" -reinstall
  4. Right click the highlighted text above and select Copy from the dialogue menu.
  5. Go to the administrative command prompt window, right click in the middle of the window, and select Paste.
  6. Press Enter on the keyboard. This should execute the command; most likely your tray bar will flash briefly as the registry is updated.
  7. Try setting Internet Explorer 11 as the default browser using the steps outlined in Option #1 again. Hopefully that should fix it.

How to Run Internet Explorer 11 from the Start Menu

By default Internet Explorer 11 is hidden from the Start menu. You can access is by clicking on Start, then type in "Internet Explorer" (no quotes); once it appears in the list, you can right click it and select "Pin to Start" or "Pin to Taskbar".

Hope that helps.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

Rate this article: 
Average: 4.4 (7 votes)


jrr147_5324's picture

Hi Dennis,

I managed to muddle my way through to finding out how to activate IE 11 in Win 10, but, quickly found that IE 11 and Win 10 did not play well IE 11 was real doggy, so just went back to the Edge Browser. :-(

On a different topic. How do I get to my "clipboard Viewer" so I can change it from showing the past dozen, or so, things I have put on there?

Thanks in advance for your help, and keep up the great work you are doing keeping all of us with varying degrees of computer abilities in the running. :-)

Jim ~ :-D