How to uninstall IE8

A reader sends in this question:

Hi Ed, no one at MS seems to want to address this issue. How do I remove the IE 8 beta so that I can install the final version? There is no instance of it in Add Remove Programs and the final version will not install over the beta.

Good eye. Microsoft has made a confusing and inconsistent decision in the way it handles IE8 under XP/Server 2003 and Vista/Server 2008.

  • In XP, open Add or Remove Programs from Control Panel, where you will find Windows Internet Explorer under the Currently Installed Programs list. Select its entry in the list and click Remove.
  • In Vista, you won’t find IE8 in the Programs and Features list, because Vista considers IE8 an update. Instead, look for the View Installed Updates link in the navigation pane. (A similar link is available from Windows Update; look in the lower left corner for Installed Udpates.) You’ll find Windows Internet Explorer 8 under the Microsoft Windows category. Click its entry in the list and then click Uninstall.

If you want to remove an earlier IE8 beta or the release candidate, or if you need to install the released version and roll back to IE7 on your Vista machine, you should be able to do so pretty easily at this point.

Update: In the comments, Dan asks whether it’s necessary to uninstall the Release Candidate first. I checked the Release Notes and the IE8 Readiness Toolkit and the Internet Explorer TechCenter and found no indication that uninstalling the older version was required. It is a reasonable precaution, but probably not necessary.

6 thoughts on “How to uninstall IE8

  1. Is removing the beta a requirement before installing the final? I just went ahead and installed the final version without unistalling the beta and everything seems to be working fine. Only one IE8 is listed on the view installed updates list, the final one

  2. Ed – Is it possible to have both IE7 and IE8 installed? I need compatibility with a remote system that only works with IE6 and 7, but would like to upgrade for general browsing to IE8. Thanks.

    1. Dan, no, you can’t run multiple versions of IE side by side on Windows. For that you need either a VM or a separate install. Another alternative is to use the Developers Toolbar (press F12), and change Browser Mode to IE7. I just tried and it was able to fool my bank into thinking I waqs running IE7. Got an error in IE8 mode, logged on successfully in IE7 mode.

  3. When I installed IE8, it uninstalled the RC as part of the installation process. The whole install took two reboots because of this.

  4. I installed the internet explorer 8 and have been unable to get on internet explorer since. I comes on for a slit second and goes off. I tried to remove it but it does not show in the add/remove program. How can I fix this problem?

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