How to launch Internet Explorer on Windows 11 if you really need it

There are at least two ways to open the Internet Explorer browser in Windows 11 if your tasks require it. While it is officially buried and discontinued, some folks may really need it to access some outdated website or enterprise technology.


Internet Explorer is one of the oldest software Windows has onboard. It was introduced in 1995 along with Windows 95. Until 2013 it was the main browser Microsoft offered to users.

In 2015, the company has changed the direction to Edge. It has become the default browser on Windows, with IE taking the back seat.

Since June 2022, Internet Explorer is officially dead and discontinued. It will no longer receive any update. More than that, it is well hidden deep inside Windows 11. The average user hardly access it now, despite all its file are actually in their places. But if you directly launch it, it will redirect you to Microsoft Edge.

Most users already forgot about IE, as it was outdated, slow and lacks all modern trends and technologies. But there are also some who need to access a legacy project, such an enterprise portal or a website that refuses to work properly in any modern browser. Instead of running a virtual machine with an aged Windows release and IE, it could be faster launch IE right in Windows 11. Here's how.

Internet Explorer shortcut in Windows 11

How to Open Internet Explorer in Windows 11

  1. Open the Start menu and type Notepad to launch the app.find notepad app
  2. In the new document, paste the following line: CreateObject("InternetExplorer.Application").Visible=true.Create a new VBS file
  3. Save the document as a file with the VBS extension, like "ie.vbs". For that, surround the file name into quotes in the Save file dialog.Save file as ie.vbs
  4. Now, double-click your ie.vbs file. It will bring up you Internet Explorer!Windows 11 Open Internet Explorer

You are done.

Download ready-to-use VBS file

To save your time, you may want to download a ready-made file.

Click this link to download the ZIP archive with the VBS file. Extract it to any folder of your choice.

Windows Smart Screen marks VBS files from the Internet as unsafe, so you need to unblock them to avoid Smart Screen.

Right-click the ZIP file and select Properties from the menu.

On the General tab, place a check mark  for the Unblock option.Now you can extract the VBS file from the ZIP archive it the way you want.

unblock the zip file

In some cases, a third-party app can take over the VBS extension, and open it say in a text editor instead of running it when you click such a file. If this behavior fits your daily task flow, perhaps you won't want to change the file association for VBS. In this case, it is better to create a shortcut to launch the Internet Explorer.

Create a shortcut for Internet Explorer

  1. Right-click the desktop background and select New > shortcut menu
  2. In the "Type the location of the item" box, type the following line: wscript <path\to\ie.vbs>. Enter the correct path to the file, e.g. wscript d:\data\ie.vbs.shortcut target page
  3. On the next page, name your shortcut as "Internet Explorer", and click Finish.Shortcut for Internet Explorer
  4. Now, right-click the shortcut you just created, and choose Properties from the context menu.Select Properties From The Menu
  5. Click on the Change icon button and pick an icon from the "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" file.Change icon
  6. Click Apply and OK. Now you have a nice desktop shortcut that opens Internet Explorer on demand.Internet Explorer shortcut in Windows 11

Finally, there is a different method of opening IE on Windows 11, discovered by @XenoPartner. The classic Internet Options applet of the Control Panel is still able to launch it.

Launch Internet Explorer in Windows 11 via Internet Options

  1. Press Win + S or click the search icon in the taskbar.
  2. Type Internet Options in the search text box.
  3. Open the appropriate control panel applet from the list of Internet options from search
  4. Switch to the Programs tab.Switch to the programs tab
  5. Now click  Manage add-ons.
  6. Finally, click the Learn more about toolbars and extensions link on the the Learn more about toolbars and extensions link
  7. This will instantly launch Internet Explorer for you.Windows 11 launch Internet Explorer

This method is good when you need to open IE just for one time. If you need to open it more than once, then use the first method with the VBS file instead. It is a more convenient solution.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

18 thoughts on “How to launch Internet Explorer on Windows 11 if you really need it”

  1. This is great! Unbelievable how easy this makes it. I have gone as far as install Windows 7 to a VM using VMWare in order to access m house cameras. The app just doesn’t run anywhere but IE. Great solution for Windows 11, Thank you.

  2. ABSOLUTE LEGEND Sergey – IE refused to open in IE as of now sent it to edge then couldn’t save page as
    tried everything until here the search stops -works a charm

  3. I can’t thank you enough for this solution. I was about to revert back to Windows 10 for some circumstances. But this helped me a lot, saved huge amount of time. Thanks a lot. Hope you stay blessed with your family.

  4. Thank god for this. I’ve been wrestling with this issue since we upgraded to W11 and an old app that I need for work just wouldn’t work even with Edge in IE format. So simple, yet …

  5. I want to thank winaero, because with the solution provided by you, I solved the reappearance of Internet Explorer with Silverlight after February 14, 2023, on the Windows 11 x64. February 24, 2023

  6. First of all Sergey, your vbs file tip is gold. Thanks!

    One issue I’m hoping you might have a solution for: The vbs file only works for a single session of Internet Explorer. Meaning that opening the vbs file a second time brings up a 2nd IE window but it’s the same session. Likewise with IE opened, when clicking File\ New session, Edge opens instead of an additional session of IE.

    Besides for [CreateObject(“InternetExplorer.Application”).Visible=true], is there another notepad code that can be saved as a .vbs that, each time it’s opened, will open a new session of IE?

  7. I was able to get the Internet Options method to work on 10 22h2 previously but trying it now results in the tab becoming frozen for several seconds without opening IE. I’ve also tried to run the VBScript but it gives me error code 800A01AD ‘ActiveX component can’t create object: InternetExplorer.Application’
    If anyone has a solution please let me know!

  8. There is another way to get the Frontend of Internet Explorer to be opened. Simply create a shortcut to “mhtml:”. Then doubleclick this shortcut.

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