Removing IE9 from Windows 7 (and keeping it off)

Update: This article covers removal, see the IE9 Blocker Toolkit from Microsoft to keep it from installing. If you’re looking for registry options, the important values are DoNotAllowIE90 and DoNotOfferIE90 in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Setup\9.0.

I’ve had to remove Internet Explorer 9 from a variety of new PCs lately because they’re connecting to online services (hospitals, medical labs, radiology services, etc.) that are not yet compatible with the new version, including issues in Compatibility mode. I’ve also needed to provide instructions (now reproduced here) for some physicians to do the same on home PCs so they can connect into those same systems.

Removing IE9 is a fairly simple operation, but there’s a potential hitch – if you don’t take a couple extra steps, Windows will happily reinstall it for you. We can block the automatic reinstall, but if you’re doing this on a PC used by multiple people with admin access (such as many home PCs) you’ll need to make sure the other people using the machine don’t upgrade the browser when some of Microsoft’s sites offer IE9 to them. This is also a good time to discuss with them that it’s almost never a good idea to accept software offers from any website that you didn’t go to specifically for those packages.

How to remove IE9 and switch back to IE8 permanently

  1. Verify that you’re not already using IE8 or earlier by checking the Help or “?” menu within Internet Explorer. If menus aren’t visible, you can generally see them by pressing and releasing the “Alt” key near the spacebar.
  2. Open the “Start” or “Windows” menu (bottom left corner of the screen, now with a round Windows logo)
  3. Open the list of Installed Updates using one of these methods:
    1. Control Panel / Programs method:
      1. Select Control Panel, generally in the middle of the second column
      2. Find “Programs & Features”
      3. Select “Uninstall a Program”
      4. At the top of the left panel, select “View Installed Updates”
    2. Windows Update method:
      1. Open the list of All Programs
      2. Select Windows Update (at the end of the list of programs, before the list of folders)
      3. Near the bottom of the left panel, select “View Installed Updates”
  4. Wait up to a minute for Windows to fully load the list of updates (it’s divided into sections and can take a short time to load all of them)
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the list and look for “Internet Explorer 9” – it may be at the bottom of the list or near the top of the last section.
  6. Select Internet Explorer 9 and either click the Uninstall at the top of the list or right-click on the item and select Uninstall.
  7. Restart your computer when prompted (or even if you’re not prompted)

Keep IE9 from reinstalling

  1. After restarting your computer and logging back in,
  2. Open Windows Update either from the Start menu or by finding it in the System Tray (bottom right, by the clock but it’s not always there).
  3. Near the top of the list on the left side, click “Check for Updates”
  4. After it checks, click where it says there are “X updates” (the phrasing varies depending on what’s available)
  5. Find Internet Explorer 9 in the list of updates. Uncheck it if it’s checked.
  6. Right-click on the Internet Explorer 9 entry
  7. Select “Hide this Update”
  8. Install other updates as needed