Internet Explorer has a number of security options that you can customize, allowing you to get very specific on what sorts of actions you allow websites to take on your browser and computer.
If you've made several changes to IE security settings and then have problems browsing websites, it can be difficult to determine what caused what.
Worse yet, some software installations and updates from Microsoft can make security changes without your permission.
Fortunately, it's very easy to take things back to default. Follow these steps to reset all Internet Explorer security settings back to their default levels.
Resetting Internet Explorer security settings to their default levels is easy and usually takes less than 5 minutes.
These steps apply to Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.
How to Reset IE Security Settings to Default Levels
Open Internet Explorer.
If you can't find the shortcut for Internet Explorer on the Desktop, try looking in the Start menu or on the taskbar, which is the bar at the bottom of the screen between the Start button and the clock.
From the Internet Explorer Tools menu (the gear icon at the top right of IE), choose Internet options.
If you're using an older version of Internet Explorer (here's how to tell), choose the Tools menu and then Internet Options.
See Tip 1 at the bottom of this page for some other ways you can open Internet Options.
Select the Security tab at the top of Internet Options.
Choose Reset all zones to default level, located toward the bottom of the Internet Options window.
See Tip 2 below if you're not interested in resetting the security settings for all the zones.
You can now close and then reopen Internet Explorer. Try again to visit the websites that were causing your problems to see if resetting the Internet Explorer security settings on your computer helped.
Tips & More Information
In some versions of Internet Explorer, you can hit the Alt key on the keyboard to open the traditional menu. You can then use the Tools > Internet options menu item to get to the same place as you would when following the steps above.
Another way to open Internet Options without even having to open Internet Explorer is to use the inetcpl.cpl command (it's called Internet Properties when you open it this way). This can be entered in the Command Prompt or the Run dialog box to quickly open Internet Options. It works no matter which version of Internet Explorer you're using.
A third option for opening Internet Options, which is actually what the inetcpl.cpl command is short for, is to use Control Panel, via the Internet Options applet. See our guide on how to open Control Panel if you want to go that route.
The button that reads Reset all zones to default level does just as it sounds—it restores the security settings of all of the zones. To restore the default settings of just one zone, select that zone and then use the Default level button to reset just that one zone.
You can also use Internet Options to disable the SmartScreen or Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer, as well as to disable Protected Mode.