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How to clean up and reset Microsoft Edge

Keeping your web browser clean and free of adware and junk can be a daunting process. With malicious extensions and corrupt website ads, maintaining the safety of your browser can be tough. So here is how to clean up and reset Microsoft Edge.

How to clean up and reset Microsoft Edge

Microsoft recently decided to revamp its Edge browser and start all over completely. Well, kind of. The original Edge browser was not well received and did not get very much support from third-party developers. It had problems all the way around.

Everyone has heard the phrase "If you can't beat them, join them," and Microsoft did just that with Edge. Since Google is using the open-source browser project Chromium as a base for Chrome, Microsoft decided to the same thing with Edge.

Cleaning up and resetting Edge

Some of the settings inside of Edge are the same as Chrome. You can even use extensions from the Chrome Web Store (more about this later in this article). But there are some differences between the two browsers.

All settings for cleaning up and resetting Edge are located in the Settings and more pull-down menu in the upper-right hand corner (three horizontal dots).
The Settings and more menu inside of Microsoft Edge
The first place we want to go to is Settings. You will find fifteen (15) categories; Profiles, Privacy and services, Appearance, On startup, New tab page, Site permissions, Default browser, Downloads, Family safety, Languages, Printers, System, Reset settings, Phone and other devices, and About Microsoft Edge.

The first category is Profiles and is where you set up synchronizing your data across devices. As with other browsers, you can sync your data like passwords, payment information, address, etc. You can also import data from another browser here.

The second category is Privacy and services and has several essential sections. These include Tracking prevention, Clear browsing data, Privacy, Help improve Microsoft Edge, Personalize your web experience, and Services. Let take a look a each separately.

Tracking prevention. This is how Edge handles cookies, and the default settings are recommended. You can turn off tracking prevention or completely block all cookies; it is your choice. You can also view the sites you block / allow tracking and enable or disable tracking prevention when using InPrivate mode.

Clear browsing data. As the name implies, this is where you clear the data from Edge. Like other browsers, you have a choice of what to delete immediately and when you close Edge.

On the right-hand side of Clear browsing data now is a button labeled Choose what to clear. When you click on it, a dialog box appears with several choices.
The Clear browsing data dialog box inside of Microsoft Edge
I go here when a customer calls and tells me that they are having issues with a website not displaying correctly.

On the top is the Time range, and below it are all of the different options. I usually set the time range to All time and leave the default selections checked. That often gets a website to working correctly again. Remember that if you clear any passwords or autofill data, it is gone for good, so be careful.

When you click on Clear browsing data on close, you bring up a page with several selections. These are personal preferences, but I like to clear out the cookies and cache when I close a browser. It is your choice.

Privacy. There are three (3) selections here; Send "Do Not Track" requests, Allow sites to check if you have payment methods saved and Manage certificates. Again, these are personal preferences, but I would enable the Do Not Track and disable the payment feature. The certificates are part of Windows, not Edge, so just leave that one alone.

Help improve Microsoft Edge / Personalize your web experience. The settings in these sections allow Microsoft to collect data from Edge. They are disabled by default, and I would keep it that way.

Services. The default settings for almost all of these sections should be perfectly fine. The only one I would look at is the Address bar. Malicious websites and extensions will try and change the default search engine used by a browser. If you do not recognize the search engine being used, or just want to change it, go into the Manage search engines section and make the changes.

The third category is Appearance and is mainly for personal preference. The only area I would look at is the URL under Show home button in the Customize toolbar section. If there is a web page you do not recognize there, Edge may have been hijacked. Go ahead and remove any unwanted URL's.

The next category is On startup. Here we have some more personal preferences. The one place I would look at for browser hijacking is the Open a specific page or pages section. Again, if you do not recognize or remember adding a page listed there, delete it.

The next category is New tab page. You can customize the new tab page here—another personal preference.

The next category is Site permission. This where you set the default actions for different media (Flash, JavaScript, etc.), hardware (camera, microphone, etc.), and other miscellaneous settings. The default settings are recommended.

The next category is Default browser. As the name implies, you can set Edge as your default browser here. Two settings might be of interest if you still use Internet Explorer (IE); Let Internet Explorer open sites in Microsoft Edge and Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode. A lot of people still use IE because a website they go to requires ActiveX and since Edge has an IE mode built-in, you just have to enable it.

The next category is Family safety. This is part of the Microsoft Family Safety program. You can find out more about it in the blog I wrote; How to setup Family Safety for Windows 10 using Microsoft accounts.

The next two categories are Languages and Printers. Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff here. Personal preferences again.

The next category is System, and there is one significant setting here. As with Google Chrome, Edge can continue to run in the background even after you close it. It can also run background apps when Windows starts up. I have seen adware/malware use this setting to run the browser when Windows starts up.
Enable or disable Edge from running after being closed
I recommend you turn off the Continue running background apps when Microsoft Edge is closed feature until you get prompted by an app to enable it.

The next category is Reset settings. With a couple of clicks, you can reset Edge back its original default settings. Everything but your favorites, history, and saved passwords will be deleted. Remember, if you reset the settings, you will have to go back and do all of the customizing all over again.

The second to the last category is Phone and other devices. This just elaborates on the synchronizing feature discussed in the Profiles category.

The last category is About Microsoft Edge. When you open this category, Edge will check for updates. Other than what version Edge you are running, that is all in this category.

The last place we want to check for browser corruption is the Extensions. Go back to the Settings and more pull-down menu and select Extensions. This will open a new tab. Extensions extend the functionality of Edge and usually are perfectly safe. You can install extensions from either the Microsoft Store or the Chrome Web Store (you have to enable Allow extensions from other stores).

But there are malicious extensions that want to use your browser for other things, like crypto-mining, for example, behind your back. If there are any extensions listed the Installed extensions that you do not recognize or do not remember installing, go ahead and disable them. If you find you do not need or want them, you can click on the Remove link under the extension name.

The last option to get Edge back to default and work correctly is to uninstall and reinstall it. I only use this option when all else fails to get it back to full functionality. It can take a little time to do, but if you need to get Edge fully reset, this may be the only option. There are two (2) ways to uninstall programs in Windows 10; the Settings app or the Control Panel.

Uninstall a program using the Settings app

  1. Click on the Start Windows logo menu, then Settings (the gear icon), then Apps, then Apps & Features.
  2. Scroll down the list of apps in the right-hand column until you find Microsoft Edge.
  3. Highlight Microsoft Edge and click on the Uninstall button.

Uninstall a program using the Control Panel

  1. In the search box next to the Start Windows logo button, type Control Panel, and click on it from the results.
  2. Select Uninstall a program (if viewing by category) or Programs and Features (if viewing by icons).
  3. Highlight Microsoft Edge and click on the Uninstall button.

Once Microsoft Edge is uninstalled, restart your computer. When your computer has rebooted and you are logged back in, you will need to remove any traces of Edge before reinstalling it. There are two (2) places where you will need to look for any leftover files; inside your user profile and inside the program files directory. The files inside your user profile are hidden by default, but you can get there quickly by bringing up a Run dialog box (Windows Logo key Windows logo key + R) and typing or copy / paste the following code:

%userprofile%/AppData/Local/Microsoft

This will open the File Explorer to the location of your Microsoft user settings. If there is a folder named Edge, go ahead and delete it. Next, you will have to navigate to the location of the Program Files directory and check under the folder named Microsoft. Its location is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft, but it may be different if you installed Edge on a different drive. Once you get there, if you find a folder named Edge, go ahead and delete it. Now you can download and reinstall Microsoft Edge.

How to clean up and reset Mozilla Firefox

Updated July 29, 2020

When it comes to computer repair, the most common problem I find is browser corruption. Malicious browser extensions are the most common way a browser can get corrupted. So here's how to clean up and reset Mozilla Firefox.

How to clean up and reset Mozilla Firefox

I've shown how to clean up and reset Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, so this article shouldn't be any surprise. What might surprise you is that I have all three browsers installed on my personal computer, and Firefox is my default browser. Each has its pros and cons, but since Firefox is a product of the Mozilla Foundation (a non-profit organization), I prefer to support them.

I've always thought of Mozilla Firefox as a cross between Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, having the best elements. Case in point is the way you can access the options in Firefox. You can either use the Menu button in the upper right-hand corner (the button with three (3) horizontal bars, similar to the three dots in Chrome) or enable the Menu Bar on top of the browser window (similar to Internet Explorer).
The Firefox Menu Bar and Menu Button locations
To get the Menu Bar, just right-click the blank area above the Address Bar and select Menu Bar. And some options can only be accessed by using the Menu Bar, but I'll talk about that later in this article.

Let's start with the necessary options. If you're using the Menu Button, select Options; if you're using the Menu Bar, select the Tools pull-down menu and then Options. This will bring up the Firefox preferences. On the left-hand side is a list with several selections; General, Home, Search, Privacy & Security, Sync, Extensions & Themes, and Firefox Support.

The first panel on the left-side menu is General and is where you will find the most basic settings. These settings are mainly personal preferences that configure how Firefox looks and works. One of the default settings on this page that I always change is in the Downloads section. I prefer to be prompted as to where I want to save a download, as I don't always want them just saved into my default downloads folder.

The next section is Applications. Here you can choose what happens when you select different actions, like when you click on a mailto: link. Nothing really out of the ordinary here. I would just review them to make sure everything looked good. If you think something is questionable, just change the action. You can always change it back if it doesn't work the way you want it to. Also in this category is the Firefox Updates section, make sure that Automatically install updates is selected.

The second panel is Home and is anything to do with your homepage, new windows, new tabs, and the Firefox Home screen itself. If Firefox has been modified by a malicious piece of malware/adware, you'll want to check the New Windows and Tabs settings to make sure that it's not opening up malicious web pages when it starts up. If any of the settings have been changed, you can reset Firefox back to the default settings by clicking on the Restore Defaults button in the Home section's upper-right corner.

The next panel on the left-side menu is Search. This is where you configured how Search works in Firefox.
The Search options inside of Firefox
You can select what search engine Firefox uses from a preset collection of the most popular search engines. You also can have a separate search bar or use the address bar for navigation and search. If you decide to use the separate search bar, you can change the search engine it uses on the fly by clicking on the magnifying glass on the Search box's left side.

The next panel is Privacy and Security. In this section, you have to go through each subcategory and make sure the settings will work for you. Right out-of-the-box, these settings are pretty perfect, although there are a couple I prefer to configure for my taste.

Under Browser Privacy, you can select how Firefox handles website tracking. The default setting (Standard) works fine, but you can restrict what a website can do if you want to. But remember that with stricter security policies, you may break or disable functionally of some sites.

In the Cookies and Site Data section, you can manage the website data that Firefox stores. It is here that you can clean out the cookies and cached data from websites. You can automatically have Firefox clean out this data when you close it, but that setting is in the History section (see below).

The Login and Passwords section is, as the name implies, is where you configure Firefox to save usernames and passwords or not. If you plan on using the Sync feature, you will want to have Firefox save this data.

The next section is the Forms and Autofill area. If you want Firefox to automatically fill out website forms with your data (name, phone, email address, etc.), make sure the Autofill addresses checkbox is selected. You can edit any saved data here too.

In the History section is where you can have Firefox clear data when you close it. If you pull down the selections under Firefox will: and select Use custom settings for history, you get a few more options. I recommend that you check Clear history when Firefox closes box and then click on the Settings button.
Settings for clearing the history inside of Firefox
You can choose what items you want Firefox to delete when it is closed in the window that appears. I deselect everything but Cache. But this is strictly a personal preference.

The next section is Address Bar and is pretty straight forward. Next is Permissions, and there are two (2) items you want to make sure are selected: Block pop-up windows and Warn you when websites try to install add-ons. Firefox Data Collection and Use comes next. It is your preference if you want to enable any of these options.

Under the Security section, make sure that Block dangerous and deceptive content, Block dangerous downloads, and Warn you about unwanted and uncommon software is selected. The Certificates section is, again, personal preference, but the default settings are just right.

The next panel on the left side menu is Sync. This a pretty cool feature if you have Firefox installed on multiple devices. I use this feature with a couple of computers and a smartphone. I love the way it will sync saved passwords across all of my devices. Enough said.

Now that we've checked/reset and changed the preferences let's take a look at the add-ons section. There are three (3) ways to get to it:

  • On the Options page, click on the Extensions & Themes link in the bottom of the left-hand column.
  • Click on the Menu Button (3 horizontal bars) in the upper-righthand corner and select Add-ons.
  • On the Menu Bar, left-click on Tools and select Add-ons from the drop-down menu.

Once you have the Add-ons page up, you will find four (4) selections on the left side menu; Recommendations, Extensions, Themes, and Plugins.

The first selection is Recommendations and, as the name implies, are extensions and themes that Firefox recommends. Pretty simple.

The second selection on the left side is Extensions. This is where you look for malicious apps that like to run inside of Firefox. Go through the list here, and if you find one that you don't remember installing, just click the Enable / Disable slider on the right-hand side.
The Extensions options inside of Firefox
You will be prompted to restart Firefox to disable it altogether. Remember that even if you disable an extension, you can always enable it at a later date. Or if you find you don't need it at all, you can always delete it. But remember that if you delete an extension and then realize you did want it, you will have to reinstall it.

The next selection on the left side menu is Themes, and this is where you change the look of Firefox. If you don't like the default theme, you can always download a new tone using the Find more add-ons button at the bottom of the right-hand column.

The fourth selection down the left side menu is Plugins. Plugins add support for different types of Internet content, like PDF files and Flash content.
The Plugins options inside of Firefox
One thing you can do here for security is to make sure Shockwave Flash is set to Ask to Activate. You can do that with any plugin that you're not sure you want to run automatically.

Now, if after going through the previous steps and Firefox is still not working the way it did when you installed it, there are two (2) things you can do. You can either do a reset or uninstall/reinstall. Usually, a reset will fix about 90% of Firefox problems, but there are times when only an uninstall/reinstall will work. I always try a reset first.

To reset Firefox, you will need to have access to the Menu Bar. To get the Menu Bar to appear, just right-click the blank area above the Address bar and select Menu Bar from the context menu. Once you have the Menu Bar, left-click on Help and then Troubleshooting Information.
Accessing the Troubleshooting Information inside of Firefox
When the Troubleshooting Information page appears, click on the Refresh Firefox button on the page's right side. You will be prompted on how you're about to reset Firefox back to its default settings. Click on Refresh Firefox, and Firefox will be reset back to its original default settings. It also creates a folder on your desktop called Old Firefox Data, just in case you need to restore anything, like your bookmarks.

Now, if that doesn't get Firefox back to normal, then the last resort is to do an uninstall/reinstall. This may take a little time to perform, but if you really want Firefox back to pristine condition, this is what it might take. There are two (2) ways to uninstall programs in Windows 10; the Settings app or the Control Panel.

Uninstall a program using the Settings app

  1. Click on the Start Windows logo menu, then Settings (the gear icon), then Apps. then Apps & Features.
  2. Scroll down the list of apps in the right-hand column until you find Google Chrome.
  3. Highlight Mozilla Firefox and click on the Uninstall button.

Uninstall a program using the Control Panel

  1. In the search box next to the Start Windows logo button type Control Panel and click on it from the results.
  2. Select Uninstall a program (if viewing by category) or Programs and Features (if viewing by icons).
  3. Highlight Mozilla Firefox and click on the Uninstall button.

Once Mozilla Firefox is uninstalled, restart your computer. When your computer is rebooted, and you are logged back in, you will need to remove any traces of Firefox before reinstalling it. There are three (3) places that you will need to look for any leftover files, two (2) inside your user profile and one (1) inside of the Program Files directory. The files inside your user profile are hidden by default, but you can get there quickly by bringing up a Run dialog box (Windows Logo key Windows logo key + R) and typing or copy / paste the following lines:

%userprofile%/AppData/Local/Mozilla %userprofile%/AppData/Roaming/Mozilla

This will open the File Explorer to the locations of your Firefox user profile settings. If there is a folder named Firefox, go ahead and delete it. Next, you will have to navigate to the location of the Program Files directory and check under the folder named Mozilla Firefox. Its location is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox, but it may be different if your Windows version is 32-bit (C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox) or if you installed Firefox on a different drive. Once you get there, if you find a folder named Mozilla Firefox, go ahead and delete it. Now you can download and reinstall Mozilla Firefox.

How to clean up and reset Google Chrome

Updated August 7, 2020

Internet browsers are prone to getting compromised. It can happen by opening an infected e-mail or viewing a malicious ad on a web page. But knowing how to get your browser back to normal is the key. Here's how to clean up and reset Google Chrome.

How to clean up and reset Google Chrome

Of the top three (3) browsers out there, Google Chrome is the most popular. One of the main reasons is that to use Google's products, like Google Earth, you have to have Chrome installed. And since it is the most popular, it is also the biggest target for adware and malware. In fact, in the past, the Chrome web store has gotten compromised with infected apps. Google is now scrutinizing the Chrome extensions harder than ever because of it. So knowing how to clean up and reset Chrome comes in handy.

Cleaning up and resetting Chrome

Google has made resetting the Chrome browser reasonably simple. Just open Chrome and click on the Customize button in the upper right-hand corner (it looks like three (3) horizontal dots).
The Customize button inside of Google Chrome
Go down and click on Settings, which will open a page with all user-configurable settings. On the left-hand column, you will find eleven (11) links: You and Google, Autofill, Safety check, Privacy and security,
Appearance, Search engine, Default browser, On startup, Advanced, Extensions, and About Chrome.

The Advanced link is a sub-menu that includes Languages, Downloads, Printing, Accessibility, System and Reset and cleanup. All of the links take you those sections on the Settings page except for Extensions and About Chrome. Those links go to separate pages.

The first section is You and Google. This is where you can synchronize Chrome (bookmarks, history, passwords, etc.) across multiple devices. If you are using Chrome on your computer and smartphone, this is a feature you may want to look into.

In this section, you can set up syncing all of the different Google services, adding a name and picture to your profile, and importing bookmarks and settings from other browsers.

The second section is Autofill. As the name suggests, you can choose if Chrome can store your data for online forms and what information it is allowed to save. Chrome can save and fill in passwords, payment methods, names, addresses, and e-mail addresses.

The next section is Safety check. When you click on the Check now button, Chrome checks for updates, insecure passwords, browsing protection, and harmful extensions.

Privacy and security is the next section. There are four categories: Clear browsing data, Cookies and other site data, Security, and Site settings. Let's look at each one separately.

The first category is Clear browsing data and is the first place I go when a customer complains about a website not functioning correctly. There are two categories here: Basic and Advanced.
The clear browsing data windows inside of Google Chrome
Quite often, just selecting the Basic settings with the Time range of All time will do the trick. If that does not fix things, try some of the Advanced options. I recommend doing one at a time until Chrome works the way you want.

The second category is Cookies and other site data. This where you define how Chrome handles cookies. The default setting is to block third-party cookies only when you use incognito mode and be perfectly safe.

You can completely block third-party or all cookies if you want, but I recommend turning on the Do Not Track option. Chrome does allow you to define what websites can and cannot use cookies. You can also specify what website cookies are cleared out when you close Chrome.

The third category is Security, and this is where you define how Chrome displays websites. The default setting for Safe Browsing is Standard protection and is recommended. You can use the Enhanced protection, but it does send browsing data back to Google. The rest of the default settings are recommended.

The fourth and last category is Site Settings. The default settings are recommended, but you can always modify them to your personal preferences. Some of these settings are actually in other sections, so don't be surprised if you see a setting you have already configured.

The next section is Appearance and is more for personalizing Chrome the way you want it to look. Just personal preferences here.

The Search engine section just defines what search engine Chrome will use in the address bar.
The default search engine setting inside of Google Chrome
This is one place to check and see if your default search engine in Chrome has been hijacked. If you're not getting the search results you are expecting from the address bar,
The Google Chrome address bar
more than likely, your default search engine has been changed without your knowledge. You can add or remove any of the search engines on this list.

The Default browser section has a link to the Default apps so you can make Chrome your default browser.

The On startup section defines what pages are displayed when Chrome starts up and is one of the first places I look for evidence of browser hijacking. Allot of malicious apps will try and get your browser to automatically open up their website(s) when you start up Chrome. They will also try and take advantage of another setting under System that allows apps to be run even without Chrome being open (more on this one later in this article).

If Open a specific page or set of pages is selected, review the pages listed. If there are any page(s) you didn't add yourself, click on the three horizontal dots that appear on each page's right-hand side and select Remove. You can also add any page you would like to open when you start up Chrome here too automatically.

When you click on Advanced, there is a list of categories that, in my opinion, are just personal preferences. Categories like Languages, Downloads, Printing, and Accessibility are for customizing how Chrome works. Now when it comes to downloads, I prefer having Chrome ask where I want each file to go before downloading them. Again, personal preference.

Second to the last section under Advanced is System. Remember how I told you Chrome could be run without it having to be started? This is where you'll find the setting to disable this feature. If you are using any Google apps that require Chrome, like Google Docs Offline, you will need to leave the Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed selected.
Enable or disable Chrome from running after being closed
If not, I recommend that you turn this feature off. I've seen adware/malware use this setting to start Chrome when the computer starts up and then controls it remotely. If in doubt, disable it until you are prompted by a Google app to enable it.

The last section under Advanced is Reset and clean up. The link labeled Restore settings to their original defaults will do just that, reset Chrome back to its default, 'out-of-the-box' setup. I'll be just like when you first installed it. The Clean up computer link will scan your computer for unwanted ads, pop-ups, and malware that directly affects Chrome.

The second to the last section is Extensions. This where you will find all of the installed apps that run inside of Chrome. These extend the functionality and usefulness of Chrome. You'll typically find malicious apps that have installed themselves without your knowledge (usually in kiosk mode). It's here that you can either enable, disable, or remove them from Chrome. If you're not sure about an extension, you can always disable it to find out what it did or didn't do inside Chrome. And when you're sure you don't need it or don't remember installing it, just click on the Remove button. If you accidentally remove an extension and want it back, you will have to go through the process of reinstalling it, so be careful.

When you click the Details button for an extension, you will get an option screen. One of the extension options is Allow in incognito for private browsing. Chrome can run in what is called Incognito mode, where it does not save any record of where you have been or what you may have downloaded. If an extension has the option to select Allow in incognito mode, it can be enabled for it. If you use incognito mode, I would defiantly recommend enabling any type of anti-virus, anti-adware, or anti-malware application extension.

The last option to get Chrome back to default and work correctly is to uninstall and reinstall it. I only use this option when all else fails to get it back to full functionality. It can take a little time to do, but if you need to get Chrome fully reset, this may be the only option. There are two (2) ways to uninstall programs in Windows 10; the Settings app or the Control Panel.

Uninstall a program using the Settings app

  1. Click on the Start Windows logo menu, then Settings (the gear icon), then Apps, then Apps & Features.
  2. Scroll down the list of apps in the right-hand column until you find Google Chrome.
  3. Highlight Google Chrome and click on the Uninstall button.

Uninstall a program using the Control Panel

  1. In the search box next to the Start Windows logo button, type Control Panel, and click on it from the results.
  2. Select Uninstall a program (if viewing by category) or Programs and Features (if viewing by icons).
  3. Highlight Google Chrome and click on the Uninstall button.

Once Google Chrome is uninstalled, restart your computer. When your computer has rebooted and you are logged back in, you will need to remove any traces of Google Chrome before reinstalling it. There are two (2) places where you will need to look for any leftover files; inside your user profile and inside the program files directory. The files inside your user profile are hidden by default, but you can get there quickly by bringing up a Run dialog box (Windows Logo key Windows logo key + R) and typing or copy / paste the following code:

%userprofile%/AppData/Local/Google

This will open the File Explorer to the location of your Google user settings. If there is a folder named Chrome, go ahead and delete it. Next, you will have to navigate to the location of the Program Files directory and check under the folder named Google. Its location is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Google, but it may be different if you installed Google Chrome on a different drive. Once you get there, if you find a folder named Chrome, go ahead and delete it. Now you can download and reinstall Google Chrome.

How to clean up and reset the Internet Explorer

In repairing computers for a living, the one thing I find myself doing continually is cleaning up and resetting web browsers. Removing adware, malware and viruses can screw up the Internet Explorer. So here is how to clean up and reset the Internet Explorer.

How to clean up and reset the Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer (IE) has been included in every version of Windows since Windows 98. Microsoft has made cleaning IE reasonably straightforward, but there can be some tricky items. All of IE's settings are accessible from either inside of IE or the Control Panel. The best way is to go through the Control Panel because that is when IE is not technically running. If you use Outlook or Windows Mail, you will need to close these programs too before attempting to clean up IE, as they use IE to rendered HTML formatted e-mails.

When it comes to resetting the IE, you have to first get into the Control Panel. The easiest way to do it with Windows Vista and Windows 7 is to type Control Panel into the search box above the Start button and select Control Panel from the search results. The easiest and fastest way in Windows 8 is to use the Power Users menu (Windows logo key Windows logo key + X) and then select Control Panel. In Windows 10, use the search box next to the Start Windows logo button, type Control Panel, and click on it from the results. Once you have the Control Panel up, select Network and Internet then Internet Options (if viewing by category) or just Internet Options (if viewing by icons).

The Internet Properties General tab inside of Windows 10
The Internet Properties General tab inside of Windows 10

The Internet Options haven't changed much over the years, so the tabs on the Internet Properties will look similar in Windows Vista as they do in Windows 10. When you first open Internet Properties, the General tab appears by default. You can go down to Browsing history and delete everything from temporary Internet files and cookies to form data and passwords. Remember that you cannot get it back once you delete something like passwords, so choose carefully.

The Internet Properties Programs tab inside of Windows 10
The Internet Properties Programs tab inside of Windows 10

Once you're done with the General tab, go over to the Programs tab and select Manage add-ons. Here is where you enable, disable and sometimes delete add-ons that have been installed into the IE. There are times when all you can do is disable an add-on, so that is when you'll need a third-party program like CCleaner from Piriform. CCleaner can clean up all of the major browsers, but the only one I've had issues with getting rid of third-party applications is IE.

The Internet Properties Advanced tab inside of Windows 10
The Internet Properties Advanced tab inside of Windows 10

The last tab in Internet Properties is Advanced, and it is the most powerful. It has only two buttons, Restore advanced settings and Reset. The first one you click is Restore advanced settings, then click on Apply in the lower right-hand corner. Then to completely reset IE click on Reset. You will get a screen warning you that you are about to reset IE back to its original default settings. Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 users will also have the option of deleting personal settings. Remember that these cannot be undone, so choose carefully. If in doubt, leave the personal files checkbox empty. You can always come back and remove them if need be.

Now, if after you have reset IE, you find you cannot get into some secure sites, like bank websites, go back into Internet Properties and select the Security tab, and deselect Enable Protected Mode. When you click Apply, you will get a prompt telling you that your current security setting might put you at risk. Then try the website you were having problems with. If you can now get into it, you are all set.

The Windows features menu inside of Windows 10
The Windows features menu inside of Windows 10

There is one option that is not available to IE, and that is to uninstall and reinstall. As I stated earlier in this article, IE is integrated into the operating system as a feature and is used by other programs like Outlook and Windows Mail. The only thing you can do is turn off the IE feature in the Control panel, restart your computer and turn it back on. To do this, go to the Control Panel and select Programs and Features, then Uninstall or change a program. In the left-hand column, left-click on Turn Windows features on or off.

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Professional service at an affordable price!
4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company that specializes in servicing all brands of desktop and laptop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

At Geeks in Phoenix, we have the most outstanding computer consultants that provide the highest exceptional service in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. We offer in-shop, on-site, and remote (with stable Internet connection) computer support and services.

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