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I previously disabled IE11 on Windows 8.1 as follows:

  • Opened "Turn Windows features on or off"
  • Unticked "Internet Explorer 11"
  • Clicked "OK"
  • When prompted, restarted machine

I did not downgrade it.

I now want to a) reenable it and b) set it as the default browser.

I have reenabled it by reversing the process above, and I can launch it manually by finding and running iexplore.exe. However:

  • it does not appear in the Start screen
  • it does not appear when searching the Start screen for "Internet", "Explorer" or "Internet Explorer"
  • it does not appear in the list of options when selecting a default program for a filetype (e.g. for .html files)
  • it does not appear in the list of programs in "Set your default programs"
  • it does not appear in the list of options in "Set Associations"

In the list-based scenarios, I can browse, locate and select iexplore.exe, but the association doesn't "take" (it silently fails after selecting the exe).

How can I now make IE11 the default browser (and, preferably, have appear in menus and such)?

  • Have you restarted after reenabling it? The answer posted should achieve what you want. If you are still having problems, here is the support page to repair/reinstall IE: support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/318378 – MC10 Jul 17 '15 at 11:27
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Click on gear icon enter image description here > select "Internet options" > select "Programs" tab > click on "Make default" button

enter image description here

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From your windows 8 search bottom type in "default programs", when the program opens in the left navigation pane search and select IE from the list of programs then click "set this program as default" then also click "set defaults for this program" to select file types and protocols IE should open. In your search bottom again type in "internet explorer" when it opens, on the taskbar right-click the IE icon and select "pin this program to taskbar".

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