Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Internet Options , Programs , Default Web Browser, It states that "Internet Explorer (64Bit) can not be the default browser".

I am Ok with that, and I will not be using IE as my main browser anyway.

I would like to know WHY microsoft is discouraging the use of it as the default, and if it still applies today. (October 2011)

Any single example of a Local program that might have a problem when using the 64bit version when opening a help file, or other reasons?

Any single example of Add-Ons and 3rd party items that run off of Internet web pages that break , fail or crash?

I am thinking about setting it as default unless you tell me that is a bad idea.

See also how to set as default and it Got set as default

share|improve this question
I do not believe you can run add-ons with IEx64, I could also be wrong, I seem to remember that being a major reason I didn't use it. There really isn't any reason you would need to use a 64-bit browser, if your browser is taking up that much memory, you got bigger problems. – Ramhound Oct 6 '11 at 12:16
OK lol, oh its taking up memory :-) when I got multiples of it and too many tabs open. but yes no reason I can see that my use of it would somehow need more. I have just been using it non-stop so far in testing, and it is not causing me more problems yet. – Psycogeek Oct 6 '11 at 12:26
up vote 10 down vote accepted

This was an explicit decision by the IE team, made mostly because of the dearth of add-ons available at the time (like Flash) and the risk that non-savvy users might get "stuck" with 64-bit IE as their default browser and not know how to fix it. With more add-ons becoming available in 64-bit varieties, this decision may change at some point. (Source)

Q: Why isn't 64bit IE the default browser? Why can't I set the 64bit version of IE as the default browser?

A: This was an explicit choice made by the IE team, which may change at some point in the future. The problem is that users might inadvertently get "stuck" using the 64bit version and not realize it. This might cause some problems.

Q: Why? What does not work properly with 64bit IE?

A: Browser addons, including BHOs, Toolbars, and ActiveX controls, must generally be the same bitness as IE itself. So, if you are running a 64bit version of IE, any site that uses, say, Adobe Flash, isn't going to work until you install the 64bit version of the addon. Sadly, almost no browser addons are currently available in 64bit versions, although that's somewhat likely to change in the future as 64bit Windows becomes more prevalent.

If I had to hazard a guess, the absolute earliest the option will ever be available is IE 10 on Win 8. Win 7 may get the ability as well, but Vista never will. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes until IE 11 though before the possibility of an 64-bit IE default browser is made available.

share|improve this answer
your answer good, your source information quite old. – Psycogeek Oct 6 '11 at 15:01
@Psycogeek: Old, but still relevant. – afrazier Oct 6 '11 at 15:15
If a BHO , or Toolbar comes in using those sly methods, would it fail to run or crash stuff? Generally I need a bit of java, and adobe flash , the foxit PDF is opening fine (have it set to open outside of browser I do not know if that makes a differecne). I am asking if there is any way that add-ons not working would be a safety advantage? I dont want 99.9% of that stuff, on purpose or by evil methods usually. – Psycogeek Oct 6 '11 at 15:56
@Psycogeek: 32-bit add-ons can't even be loaded into 64-bit IE -- it's a fundamental limitation; you can't load 32-bit DLLs (or ActiveX controls) into a 64-bit process or vice-versa. (N.B.: This limitation isn't unique to Windows.) IE9 also prompts the user to enable new add-ons that were installed from outside the browser. Considering that a large number of add-ons are malware (or at least degrade the user experience), not loading them is useful. This is why IE10's Metro UI in Windows 8 will not load any add-ons at all. – afrazier Oct 6 '11 at 16:22
bitness - I like that! ... Mind your own bitness, foo! – Andrew Heath Oct 10 '11 at 4:48

The only thing I can think of is that there currently aren't 64 bit versions of Flash (64 bit currently in beta) or Silverlight (though this will be corrected with Silverlight 5).

This would mean that a lot of web sites just wouldn't work if you used the 64 bit version of IE.

So the test would be when the 64 bit versions of these plugins are available if this changes.

It's claimed that you can set it as the default by copying the 64 bit IE into C:\Program Files(x86)\Internet Explorer which some people have got to work.

share|improve this answer
Flash 11 went out of beta this week (although Microsoft might not have caught up with it yet). – grawity Oct 6 '11 at 12:04
@grawity - ah, all the links I could find indicated it was still in beta. – ChrisF Oct 6 '11 at 12:21

Thanks, for the whole answers. I decided that the Best thing I could do for the "default" which can open out of programs running , and e-mails , would be to have a Crippled :-) Browser. (the 64bit one)

I have read about people using Either , that had lost the use of One. Mabey the people who have one broken browser , lost it because of malware or addware or toolbar or something. So it could also be the "sacrificial" browser.

I will just edit what the classes stuff opens up for URL and HTM and all that kind of thing, that way any Updates , or security updates wont have a fit. Then if I need some features or add-ons, or some function wont work on the cripppled, and i am at a trusted location, I can run the 32bit version.

I will ammend this if If that all goes wrong some way.

I used Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Default Programs\Set Associations , to set URL HTM and HTML, it is very confusing , the location of the "program" is different, but the name is mostly the same.

getting flash 64bit is not yet simple, and one install of flash had some problems, 2nd time around flash java and foxit PDf are working just fine. . . so far.

again thanks for your answers and information.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .