How do I fix the Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working error?

I generally feel nothing but antipathy toward Internet Explorer so when it freezes and displays that stupid little “Internet Explorer has stopped working” error it vexes me like nothing else.  I find the “Windows is checking for a solution to the problem…” sub-message obnoxious and sardonic.

Why?

Because we all know Windows isn’t checking for anything; that’s just a message Microsoft’s coders threw in to make you think Windows is actually doing something for you.  In most cases, it’s just a waste of time.  I usually impetuously click Cancel before Microsoft devises it’s false plan of redemption.

Windows 7 Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working

If your browser is feeling indolent but doesn’t completely freeze up, you might want to see the article I wrote about speeding up Internet Explorer; however, if IE keeps crashing on you with these silly stopped working messages then read on for the fix.

Breathe

The number one thing to do is stay cool, stay composed, maintain equanimity.  Don’t throw a temper tantrum or brandish your laptop like a weapon or threaten to chuck it out the window instead… relax, take a breath and tell yourself: I can fix this, I’ve got this.  Let’s go. 

After you’ve done that, you’re heart rate should return to it’s resting state.  Now you’re ready to tackle this problem.

Help! I broke Internet Explorer!

1. If Internet Explorer is still holding on for dear life, completely kill the process so you can ensure it’s totally closed.  You can press Shift + Control + Esc to launch the task manager then find, iexplore.exe and click the End Task button.

2. Now that you’ve kicked the Internet Explorer process into oblivion, click Start and type:

internet options

Depending on your geek factor the Internet Properties window is somewhere between obscure and familiar.

Windows 7 Internet Explorer Internet Options

3. Click the last tab along the top row called Advanced and click the Reset… button near the bottom of the window.

fixedbyvonnie-windows-7-internet-explorer-internet-options-advanced-reset

A dialog box zips on the screen with a bold font warning that’s scary enough to send most computer neophytes running for the nearest Geek Squad

But let’s think about this: what are we really about to do?

Internet Explorer are you sure you want to reset all Internet Explorer settings?

Yes, resetting Internet Explorer will revert IE to its embryonic state.  IE will become an amnesiac and will basically function the way it did the first time you used it.

But this is good because the reset will expunge all your privacy and browser settings. Your browser will feel lighter, happier and won’t moan about shutting down anymore.

4. Trust, me you want to click Reset.  If it blows up your computer, leave me a note in the comments and I might buy you a new one (using your money of-course).

But alas, I digress.

That’s all there is to it.  This should obviate those inane stopped working messages.  The above solution will fix 99.99% of the problems; however, if your computer is royally flubbed (that’s my technical term for goobered) then you’ll have to bring out the big guns: msconfig

MSCONFIG to the rescue

Click Start and enter this:

msconfig

Under Selective Startup Uncheck Load Startup Items

MSCONFIG.exe load startup items

Next, click the Services tab and put a check mark in the Hide all Microsoft Services box.

MSCONFIG.exe hide all Microsoft services

Finally, choose Disable all, click OK and restart the computer.

Windows 7 MSCONFIG.exe disable all services

We just turned off all non-essential services; only the core Microsoft services will remain after we restart the computer.  Our goal is to give Internet Explorer a trial run without any superfluous programs so we can zero in on the service that’s debilitating your browser.

If you don’t get the error after rebooting and opening IE then we know the culprit is hiding in that list of msconfig services we just disabled.

Divide and Conquer

Now it’s just a game of divide and conquer.

Go back to the msconfig Services tab, make sure Hide all Microsoft services is still checked and then check only the top half of the services boxes.  Click OK, reboot and launch Internet Explorer again.

Is it still working normally? No crashes?  Then we know our sinister service is furtively staying out of the spotlight somewhere in that list of unchecked (disabled) Services.

Leave the top half of the service boxes enabled but this time enable the bottom half too. Click OK and reboot.

Keep playing this enable-half-click-OK-reboot-dance until you can hone in on the faulty service.  Once you find it you can leave it unchecked or uninstall it by noting the Manufacturer column in the Services tab and removing it by clicking Start and typing:

programs and features

The Bottom Line

Internet Explorer isn’t the best browser in the world; okay fine I’m being too sanguine.  Let me rephrase: Internet Explorer isn’t the worst browser in the world but when it crashes you can sometimes feel like your world came crashing down too.

Let’s face it: no one wants to stare at an annoying error box.  It sucks.  But by resetting your browser or fiddling with msconfig you can win the day.

The next time your friend, co-worker or creepy uncle’s Internet Rxplorer dies you can triumphantly stand over his computer with his laptop over your head and shout!:  I can fix this, I’ve got this.  Let’s go

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Posted in How To, Internet Explorer 9, Web Browsers, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP
  • Sean Hudson

    This got to the point of clicking disable all but still the same issue :/

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      Hmm…

      • Richard Page

        Ha ha haa! Back to square zero.

    • RayJay

      I just solved this problem for Vista SP2, IE9, on a Dell Inspiron 531 by deleting large files from my desktop! I had tried all the other stuff first. Why didn’t Microsoft suggest this? What morons!!!

  • Sean Hudson

    My fix took a long time but was simple in the end. I opened up internet
    options via control panel (view by small icons). On the advanced tab I
    checked “use software mode”. It worked straight away without a reboot.

    • ganesh

      superb it worked for me.. thanks you soo much

    • Piwan Ranjha

      great ……worked for me…

    • daveinnh

      On my system I unchecked “Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering” and then rebooted. Now IE works without the error.

  • Mudassir Habib

    what if msconfig procedure soesn’t works???

  • Graham

    There are three way to fix a PC problem 1. The right way. 2. The wrong way. 3 The Microsoft way.
    After trying the Microsoft way of Resetting I.E. and using MSConfig, Surprise the problem still persists.
    I.E. is running out of memory “Temporary Internet space” and that is causing the crash. Clearing Temporary Internet files is only a Temporary fix.
    What is the Correct Fix eg. the “right way” to sort this out?

  • Dsve

    Here’s an interesting twist on internet explorer freezes. After restoring my computer from Carbonite backup I was having a difficult time putting my favorites back in place. While going through them one at a time and adding manually one came up as malformpneumax. The name should have just been pneumax. I deleted it and freezing problem seems to be no longer a problem.

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      That is interesting. Perhaps your antivirus software detected a URL and prepended the “malform” keyword to the bookmark. I’m guessing it had an invalid character or something in the URL.

  • concisecactus

    We have tons of computers with this issue at our office. The crash happens on sites that have flash (ads/videos/menus). I figured this out by trial and error, but proved it by removing flash and seeing no crashes. Unfortunately, that isn’t viable and crashing continued even with the newest version of flash nstalled. The ultimate fix for ALL of our laptops so far has been updating the drivers using the manufacturers update utility. I generally update video, chipset, bios, and a few others. Sometimes the video driver is enough, but sometimes the others are required. What is most perplexing is: The same websites that crash in IE because of flash, render just fine in Chrome and Firefox before we update the drivers. You’d think that would rule out drivers, but I guess not.

  • Clive Skelhorn

    This is really serious as all my friends are having the same problem with windows crashing especially when opening sites using flash. The simple answer is to load chrome or firefox but that is still not curing the problem. I will try this solution but do not hold a lot of hope I must admit.
    I will keep you posted

  • Jim Killion

    THIS IS MY FIX.. Somehow I installed AVG Antivirus Toolbar Free Edition when I was downloading another program. I did not see the box to uncheck “do I want to install AVG” so I installed it also. I use Kaspersky for everything. After hours of trying to figure out what is making IE 11 stop responding using Windows 8.1. I’m looking at my add-remove programs and it made sense to remove AVG. Of course AVG would not remove until I used AVG’s removal utility At

    http://www.avg.com/us-en/utilities

    After using their utility, rebooting the computer and answering no when safe window appeared. NO PROBLEMS OF IE 11 stops responding anymore. IE 11 runs like a champ..May this bit of info help someone else.

  • Sandyshoes

    Thank you so much, Vonnie! It worked, and such a simple fix! My temper has abated and can now enjoy facebook.

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  • stevejbailey

    My IE on Windows 7 would not even load. I followed all the instructions given here, to the letter, but still the darn thing would not load. By chance I noticed a blue shield icon in the hidden icons part of the task bar; I had not seen it before and it read Search Protect by Conduit. I removed it via the uninstall in the control panel, rebooted, and IE worked fine. How the blue shield of death got on my computer is a mystery?

  • BasusJernet

    YESSS!!! It really worked! Thank you so much, you are my friend.

    • http://www.fixedbyvonnie.com/ Vonnie Hudson

      This is a really frustrating problem but I’m happy I could help you Basus!

@markfoxisadj @jaredamay intriguing article, do you see this becoming a reality within say, the next 5 years?

About 7 hours ago from Vonnie Hudson's Twitter via web

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