Ask Leo: How do I disable Internet Explorer add-ons?


By Leo Notenboom

I had asked you about a problem that I was having with Internet Explorer. Your response was to “disable add-ons.”

Huh? I have no idea what that means. Please explain.

Fair enough. It’s another one of those things that I take somewhat for granted.

Ultimately, many problems with Internet Explorer aren’t caused by IE at all. They’re caused by software that’s added to IE to extend its functionality.

Not surprisingly, those are called add-ons.

They sometimes show up without warning, but they’re easily dealt with in later versions of IE.

Add-ons, add-ins, plug-ins … and toolbars

Regardless of what you call them – add-ons, add-ins, plug-ins, or something else – software can be added to IE by third parties. Sometimes they’re obvious, as in add-ons that add toolbars to your browser, but sometimes, they’re more stealthy.

IE add-ons can come from many places. They could be:

Add-ons that you specifically request and install.

Add-ons that are installed as part of some other software that you install.

Add-ins that are installed by malicious software.

While you might think that the latter is the scariest – and it probably is – add-ons from any source can potentially cause problems due to simple bugs, lack of thorough testing, or even unexpected incompatibility with other add-ons.

Regardless of the reason, disabling add-ons is the first place to start when diagnosing behavior and crashing problems with Internet Explorer.

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This post is excerpted with Leo’s permission from his blog.

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