Windows Vista x64. It defaults to IE 32-bit, and will not allow me to set 64-bit as the default with the "Make Default" button.

I'm currently forced to workaround by starting IE 64-bit manually, and leaving it up with an empty window. Then when links are fired from apps, they open in that 64-bit version.

Problem being is that sometimes I forget and get a bunch of stuff opened in 32-bit without realizing it. Then I have to remember all the links I clicked, close ALL of them, open IE 64-bit, and put them all back in. Trying to avoid all that re-work when I forget to do the workaround.

Unfortunately, all the forums I've googled that discuss this just have a bunch of people saying "don't do that" and "you don't want to do that". Yes, I do want to do this. The particular feature I use only works right in my 64-bit version, and I don't use 32-bit plugins. I fully understand the implications of what I'm doing. :-)

  • which "Make Default" button do you mean?
    – OlimilOops
    Jun 3, 2010 at 19:16
  • 2
    Ahh OK, menu "Extras/Internetoptions" tab "Programs" in Win7 x64 you can find the info there: "It's not possible to set IE64 as standard browser" (my translation from De-de)
    – OlimilOops
    Jun 3, 2010 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


32-bit IE found at C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe. 64-bit IE found at C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe.

  1. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86). Hightlight the "Internet Explorer" folder and rename (right-click...Rename) it to "Internet Explorer 32". Philosophy: Try to avoid actually deleting system files. Make it simple to return to if needed.
  2. Navigate to C:\Program Files. Note the "Internet Explorer" folder. Copy it to C:\Program Files (x86) by your preferred method. E.g., drag and drop is one way, or right-click on it, select Copy, navigate to C:\Program Files (x86) and Paste is another.

a. You can choose a different folder name for the rename in Step 1. I just like to be obvious.

b. You can check after the rename of Step 1 by clicking on a link if you've put Favorites in your Start Menu--you should get an error message and the program won't launch.

c. Why not just rename the iexplore.exe instead of the whole folder? Because I'm dumb enough not to know for certain whether any of the subroutines (.dll files and the like) in the 64-bit folder might also be optimized for 64-bit operation. This way, I think I've covered it all.

  • 1
    When I try to rename the Internet Explorer folder in Windows 7 I get an error saying that the folder is in use. Jul 1, 2012 at 19:38

Simple just

  1. Rename ie32 folder: like this (c:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer 32)

  2. copy ie 64bit folder (c:\Program Files\Internet Explorer) to ie 32 folder (c:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer)

  3. Enjoy
  • Welcome. It looks like your answer is a duplicate of the existing answer.
    – fixer1234
    Nov 28, 2014 at 18:31

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