Can't Change Internet Explorer Settings (Proxy Server)?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Paul Y. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have Windows 8.1 and I can no longer use Internet Explorer or Chrome web browser -- only Firefox works! Every time I go to use Internet Explorer or Chrome, a blank page appears (as if it's trying to connect to something), and then eventually I get an error message stating that it can't connect to the Proxy Server. I have no idea why the Proxy Server setting was enabled, or how to disable it. I tried to disable it in Internet Explorer via Internet Options (LAN Settings), but the selections are pre-set / ghosted out, and I'm unable to change them. How can I fix this problem? "

My response:

The problem was unclear to me, so I asked to connect to Paul's system via our Remote Desktop Support portal so that I could see the issue he was having first hand. He agreed to let me connect to his computer in order to have a look.

Sure enough, I could easily replicate Paul's problem. I did the following:

1. I launched Internet Explorer, then clicked the white cogwheel at the top right ("Tools")

2. A menu appeared; I then clicked "Internet Options"; this opened a new Window

3. I clicked the Connections tab, then LAN Settings (button); a new window appeared

4. The option for "Proxy Server" was pre-selected and grayed out; I was unable to change it, just like Paul said

Interestingly, there was also a message at the bottom of the Window stating I needed administrator access to make changes. I thought perhaps Paul didn't have administrator access on his system (which is required to make web browser changes), so I went to the Control Panel and User Accounts, and saw that he in fact had administrator access. So why wasn't it working?

At this point I was stumped, and then I decided to try a trick:

Instead of launching Internet Explorer from the desktop with a left mouse click, I right-clicked the Internet Explorer icon, then selected "Run as Administrator." A window appeared asking me if I wanted to let Internet Explorer make changes to the system; I selected Yes.

I then repeated the same four steps I listed above, but this time, I was able to un-checkmark the Proxy Server settings. I then placed a checkmark beside "Automatically detect settings." I then applied the changes, and closed the browser. I then re-launched Internet Explorer as usual with a left mouse click.

Problem solved! The problem for Chrome was also resolved, as it appears to use the same connection settings for Internet Explorer.

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.

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BikeMobile's picture

This is the kind of article I need on a regular basis. Even similar problems seldom pop up in the same way each time, making the flexible outlook a valuable asset. Thanks for the contemporary demo. Just had a Fail-to-Snap-to-side-of-screen issue in a Win-8.1u that was simply waiting for a restart to finish an update cycle before going back to normal. If I hadn't been playing with Snap at the time, it would not have been a problem. Keep those tips coming.

don_4157's picture

Having the same problem with my Windows 7 Pro machine. I tried the steps as described but it did not work.

gb13114's picture

My husband spent 20 minutes wrestling with this problem for the xxxxth time on his Windows Vista box. You made the solution SOOOOOO easy!!!! Thank you!!!!

I am so pleased, I was eager to support your site, so I registered.

Dennis Faas's picture

You're welcome and I'm glad that I could help :)

pmurray_14276's picture

It took me almost two weeks to fix the "Can't save the changes made to Internet explorer-proxy settings" until I came across your trick (fix).

I signed up/joined.
Thank you so much!