9 ways to start Internet Explorer in all Windows versions

Have you ever wondered in how many different ways you can open Internet Explorer? Did you find yourself in a situation where you just couldn't find a shortcut for it and had no idea how to launch it? It's a common problem with many solutions to it. If you are curious to find them all, read this roundup of ways to open Internet Explorer in all modern Windows versions: Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

1. Use the Internet Explorer shortcut on your desktop (Windows 7 or older)

If you're using Windows 7 or older, like Windows Vista or Windows XP, it's likely that you have an Internet Explorer shortcut on your desktop. The fastest way to open Internet Explorer is to double-click or double-tap on its desktop shortcut.

However, if you're using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, there's no such shortcut placed on your desktop by default. You'll have to follow one of the next methods to open it or create a shortcut yourself.

2. Use the Internet Explorer shortcut on your taskbar (Windows 7 and Windows 8.1)

The taskbar is another common place to find a shortcut for Internet Explorer. If you're using Windows 8.1, Windows 7 or older versions of Windows, look at the left side of your taskbar, for the classic "e" icon, right next to the Start icon.

Here's what it looks like in Windows 7:

And here's what you should look for in Windows 8.1:

Unfortunately, in Windows 10, you won't find any Internet Explorer shortcut on your taskbar. However, you can pin a shortcut yourself.

3. Use the Internet Explorer shortcut from the Start Menu

One method that works the same in all Windows versions is to launch Internet Explorer from the Start Menu (in Windows 10 and Windows 7) or the Start screen (in Windows 8.1).

In Windows 10, open the Start Menu and go to All apps -> Windows Accessories. There, you'll find a shortcut for Internet Explorer.

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu, click on "All Programs" and then on Internet Explorer.

If you're using Windows 8.1, switch to Start screen and look for a live tile called Internet Explorer.

If you don't have a live tile for Internet Explorer, open the Apps list by clicking or tapping on the arrow button from the bottom left corner of the screen. Navigate through the Apps list, and you'll find a shortcut for Internet Explorer at the letter I. Click or tap on it, and the web browser will open.

Keep in mind that, in Windows 8.1, if you launch Internet Explorer using this method, you will get the Universal Windows Platform app version of it, not the desktop version. If you want the desktop version, use any of the other methods in this guide.

4. Search for Internet Explorer

Searching is always possible in Windows, and it's also one of the fastest ways of finding Internet Explorer. In Windows 10, head to Cortana's Search field on your taskbar and write "internet explorer."

Unfortunately, it is hard to ask Cortana to open Internet Explorer. When we tried to do that, Cortana asked which Internet Explorer we wanted to launch: Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. If you want her to open Internet Explorer and not Edge, answer saying "the first" or "the second," depending on the order in which she lists the shortcuts for these two browsers. In the screenshot below, we had to answer "the second."

Let's go to Windows 7 now: to open Internet Explorer, you can use the search function from the Start Menu. Enter the word internet and then click on the Internet Explorer result.

In Windows 8.1, head to the Start screen and start typing "internet explorer." Once the results begin to appear, click or tap on Internet Explorer.

Note that this method will launch the universal app version of Internet Explorer. If you want the desktop version, follow one of the other ways in this article.

5. Use the Internet Explorer executable in Program Files

One method that never fails in any Windows version is to use the executable file called iexplore.exe from the Internet Explorer folder in Program Files.

Regardless whether you use Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, open File Explorer/Windows Explorer and head to "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer", where "C" is the letter of the partition on which Windows is installed. Then look for the file called "iexplore.exe" and double-click or double-tap on it.

6. Use the Run window

This is another method which works in any version of Windows. Launch the Run window by simultaneously pressing the Windows + R keys on your keyboard, enter the command iexplore in the Open field, and then press Enter or OK.

7. Use the Command Prompt to open Internet Explorer

If you prefer the command line, open Command Prompt and run this command: "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe", where "C" is the letter of the drive where Windows is installed. Don't forget to include the quotation marks, or the command won't work.

This method works in all Windows versions.

8. Use PowerShell to launch Internet Explorer

You can also use PowerShell to start Internet Explorer. Open it and then run the command: cd "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer". Make sure to include the quotes. Then enter .\iexplore.exe (no quotes) and press Enter.

This method works in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

9. Use Microsoft Edge to launch Internet Explorer

In Windows 10, you can also use Microsoft Edge to start Internet Explorer. Open Microsoft Edge and navigate to any website you like: www.digitalcitizen.life would be an excellent choice. :)

Click or tap on the "three dots" menu button from the top-right corner of the window, and then click or tap on "Open with Internet Explorer."

This method works only in Windows 10.


These are all the nine ways we know for launching Internet Explorer in Windows. There are plenty of them, and most work the same in all modern Windows versions: Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. Do you know any other ways to do it? Don't hesitate to share them with us, in the comments below.