Reset Web Browsers To Factory Default Settings

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 2, 2010
Updated • Feb 24, 2015

Resetting a web browser to its factory default settings is sometimes a last resort when it comes to troubleshooting issues, especially if all other repair options have failed.

The consequences are manifold. All custom settings and preferences will be reset to their default parameters, which means that the browser has to be customized after the resetting again.

Some browsers copy select data over to the new profile after the reset. Firefox for instance copies bookmarks and other static data over so that it remains available.

All popular Internet browsers offer an option to reset the settings. This article describes how to reset the settings of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome.

How To Reset Mozilla Firefox

Update: Resetting has become a tad easier. You can now load about:support in the address bar to reset the browser from there right away. You can read more about the new Firefox reset feature here.

Firefox users need to start the web browser in Safe Mode. A Safe Mode option is usually available in the start menu listing, at least if the operating system is Windows.

It is also possible to add the safe mode parameter to the launch of the browser. This is done by adding -safe-mode as a parameter.

Windows users can enter firefox -safe-mode in the run box to start the browser in Safe Mode.

Last but not least, you can also hold down Shift before you start Firefox to launch it in Safe Mode.

Firefox needs to be completely closed before it can be started in Safe Mode.

firefox reset browser settings
firefox reset browser settings

A startup window is displayed if Firefox is started in Safe Mode. One of the available options is to "Reset all user preferences to Firefox defaults". Selecting that option, and then the button Make Changes and Restart, will reset all Firefox settings to their default values.

How To Reset Microsoft Internet Explorer

All available versions of Internet Explorer support a browser reset. Resetting IE will delete all add-ons and customizations, so that all settings are reset to their default values.

Settings that are deleted:

  • Disabled toolbars and add-ons
  • Websites added to intranet, trusted, or restricted zones
  • Websites added for special cookie handling under the Privacy tab
  • Websites allowed to use pop-ups under Pop-up Blocker settings

Settings that are reset:

  • Home page (for information about backing up your home page tabs, see Back up your home page or home page tabs)
  • Search providers, tabbed browsing settings
  • Colors, languages, fonts, and accessibility settings (General tab)
  • Security settings for all zones (Security tab)
  • Advanced tab settings
  • Privacy tab settings
  • Pop-up blocker, AutoComplete, SmartScreen Filter, and Zoom settings
  • Page setup, toolbar, and text size settings
  • Feeds settings (sync and notification, not feeds themselves)
  • ActiveX controls that are not on the pre-approved list (reset to opt-in state)
  • Toolbars, browser helper objects, and browser extensions are disabled

Selecting the option to delete personal settings furthermore deletes:

  • Browser history, temporary Internet files, cookies, form data, and stored passwords
  • Typed URL information, menu extensions
  • InPrivate Filtering data
  • Explorer most recently used list

Resetting Internet Explorer will not delete or modify:

  • Favorites
  • Feeds and Web Slices
  • Content Advisor settings
  • Pre-approved ActiveX controls
  • Temporary Internet file (cache) path settings
  • Certificate information
  • Internet Programs (e‑mail, instant messenger, and other programs associated with Internet use)
  • Internet connection, proxy, and VPN settings
  • Default web browser setting
  • Toolbars are not restored

Manually resetting Internet Explorer:

To use the Reset Internet Explorer Settings feature from Control Panel, follow these steps:

  • Exit all programs, including Internet Explorer (if it is running).
  • If you use Windows XP, click Start, and then click Run. Type the following command in the Open box, and then press ENTER:inetcpl.cpl
  • If you use Windows Vista or later, click Start, Type the following command in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER: inetcpl.cpl
  • The Internet Options dialog box appears.
  • Click the Advanced tab.
  • Under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click Reset. Then click Reset again.
  • When Internet Explorer finishes resetting the settings, click Close in the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box.
  • Start Internet Explorer again.

Microsoft has created a Fix-It solution to reset Internet Explorer on all supported operating systems but Windows 7.

reset internet explorer
reset internet explorer
reset internet explorer settings
reset internet explorer settings

How To Reset Opera

Update: The guide below describes how to reset the old version of Opera. It does not seem possible right now to reset the new version of Opera.

A reset of Opera is described in detail here . Both however deal with previous versions of Opera, not the latest versions.

Resetting Opera centers around deleting the opera6.ini or, in newer versions of Opera, the operaprefs.ini file which contains the preferences. Those files are found in the user directory of the operating system. The easiest way to locate them is to enter about:opera in the address bar, and locate the Preferences path in the display.

Opera needs to be closed before the file is deleted. We suggest to create a backup of the file before deleting it.

How To Reset Google Chrome

Google Chrome can be reset from within the browser. Click on the Tools menu icon in the Chrome header, and select options from the menu. Switch to the Under the Bonnet tab and locate the Reset to defaults button. Pressing that button and confirming the reset will reset the following settings in Chrome:

  • Home page: The New Tab page is set as the home page and displays whenever you start up Google Chrome. The Home button is turned off on the toolbar.
  • Passwords: Google Chrome offers to save your passwords.
  • Download location: The default location for new downloads is \Documents and Settings\\My Documents\Downloads
  • Security and privacy: All cookies are allowed, Phishing and malware protection is enabled, Smart navigation error suggestions are enabled, DNS pre-fetching is enabled, Address bar suggestions are enabled.

Update: Google has implemented reset functionality in Google Chrome 29.  Load chrome://settings/ in the browser's address bar, click on show advanced settings, and scroll down until you find the reset button in the interface.

Other options that may help resolve a issue with one of the web browser:

A few additional options are available, if reseting the browser does not yield the desired results. One option is to create a new user profile, which always comes with default settings and no initial modifications. Please take a look at How To Create New Web Browser User Profiles for this.

Another possibility are portable browsers, which come with their own settings. Portable versions can be downloaded below:


Do you have additional tips on how to reset web browsers? Let us know in the comments.

Reset Web Browsers To Factory Default Settings
Article Name
Reset Web Browsers To Factory Default Settings
Find out how to reset Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Opera Browser to factory settings.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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