The sixth TAB (window) on the Internet Options window is the Programs TAB. It is to do with the Default (Normal) Programs used with Internet Explorer 11 and its services. Do not worry too much about this TAB as most of the Programs in question are better set using the Default Programs control panel, which is linked on this TAB through the SET PROGRAMS button.

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.0 - Your Programs TAB should look similar to this one

As an example of the just said: The TELL ME IF INTERNET EXPLORER IS NOT THE DEFAULT WEB BROWSER setting is no longer a direct setting in Internet Explorer. You now have to use Default Programs control panel or Windows 10 settings to make Internet Explorer 11 the default web browser. Clicking on the link called MAKE INTERNET EXPLORER THE DEFAULT BROWSER just take you to the Default Programs control panel.

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.1 - Internet Explorer 11 is now the default web browser

You would want to make a particular web browser the default (normally used) web browser when you have more than one web browser installed (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome) whereby a particular piece of software or family member for example has since set another web browser as the default web browser (i.e. to Firefox) and you now want to change back to your original/preferred default web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer 11).


When Internet Explorer 11 is the default web browser, the CHOOSE HOW TO OPEN LINKS option becomes available (Fig 6.1 above). It tells Internet Explorer 11 how to open external website links, like those found within a Microsoft Word 2016 document or PDF file for example. There are three drop-down menu settings to choose from - LET INTERNET EXPLORER DECIDE is the default setting. It means you want Internet Explorer 11 to decide what happens when you click on an external link, which in turn means that externally linked website page will either be displayed in Internet Explorer 11's Metro/Tile Mode or in Internet Explorer 11's Desktop Mode. This all depends on how you opened the external link; from within a tile application or from within a desktop application.

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.2 - You can tell Internet Explorer 11 to open external website links in a certain mode

One of the other two settings are used purely when you want to use a specific method of opening Internet Explorer 11 - The ALWAYS IN INTERNET EXPLORER setting means you want the externally linked website page to be displayed in Internet Explorer 11's Metro/Tile Mode only (all of the time) and the ALWAYS IN INTERNET EXPLORER ON THE DESKTOP setting means you want the externally linked website page to be displayed in Internet Explorer 11's Desktop Mode only (all of the time) regardless of which type of application the external link was launched/opened from.

NOTE WELL: Many of the above 'Open Link' features no longer work, with the advent of Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 and the eventual killing of Internet Explorer in favour of Microsoft Edge. So while, some of, the above settings might still work in Windows 8 for example, many of them now do not work in Windows 10; especially once you have more than one web browser installed whereby one of them was previously the default web browser. That scenario seems to knock out Metro/Tile Mode for Internet Explorer 11 for some strange reason.


The HTML EDITOR setting is purely for HTML (Website) programmers and the like, so do not worry too much about it. If you do not have Microsoft Office 2016 installed the HTML EDITOR setting might be set to NotePad instead of Microsoft Word 2016 for example.


Clicking on the MANAGE ADD-ONS button (below) allows you to manage Add-Ons. An Add-On is a piece of software that you usually download with another piece of software to enhance Internet Explorer 11's capabilities/Interactions. For example: If you download Adobe's Flash Player it downloads an Add-On for Internet Explorer 11 that allows Flash files (i.e. Video, Advertisement and Animation files) to be viewed from within a web page. Norton Internet Security also comes with a Toolbar Add-On and Internet Protection Add-on.

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.3 - Click on the MANAGE ADD-ONS button to continue

You might need to click on the MANAGE ADD-ONS button if a web page complains that it needs a certain Add-On enabled or disabled in order to function properly. For example: If you visit certain web pages with the Shockwave Flash Object disabled, Internet Explorer 11 will complain with an on-screen message requester. On the other hand, you might just want to disable an Add-On because you no longer find it useful, think it uses up too many system resources (such as CPU and Memory) and/or are using another Add-On that tends to clash with that Add-On; for whatever reason(s). In the case of the Java Plugin (ADD-ON) being disabled you will see the following message requester (pop-up notification).

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.4 - Click on the ENABLE button to enable the Java Plug-In SSV Helper add-on

If the message requester (pop-up notification) had not specified which Add-On needed to be enabled, in order to make the web page function properly, it would of been anyone's guess as to what the unknown/unnamed Add-On was used for and more importantly what it would do - It might have security risks, especially if it was downloaded/installed by malware. So always be cautious about enabling unknown/unnamed Add-Ons.

Fortunately, in this case, I know of the Java Add-On. However, if I did not know what the Add-On was I would never just enable it or attempt to enable all disabled Add-Ons simply because this would be too risky; especially if I enabled one or more Add-Ons that really should be disabled and/or that have been disabled on purpose by Protection Software.

Extreme Caution: MANAGE ADD-ONS is an extremely advanced part of Internet Options. The examples below are examples only - Enabling and/or Disabling Add-Ons without fully understanding what each Add-On does can be harmful to Internet Explorer 11, Windows 10, Your Security Software and so on. You have been warned.

When you click on the MANAGE ADD-ONS button (Fig 6.3 above) the Manage Add-Ons window will appear (below) whereby you can then select an add-on to enable or disable. In this example I have selected the Norton Toolbar Add-On whereby I am just about to disable it by clicking on the DISABLE button. At this point the add-on will be disabled. All that remains is to click on the CLOSE button or red X (eXit) button to close the Manage Add-Ons window.

When disabling or enabling an Add-On, you may need to close and reopen Internet Explorer 11 or click on its REFRESH button in order to reload the web page(s) you were viewing and activate (execute), or deactivate, the function(s) associated with the selected add-on.

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.5 - Select an Add-On and then click on its DISABLE (or ENABLE) button, if you need to modify its use.

If you look to the left of the Manage Add-Ons window you will see the ADD-ON TYPES window pane and underneath that the SHOW drop-down menu. The buttons and menus listing in these window panes allow you to select what add-ons are viewable and what add-ons can be changed (managed). The default action for Manage Add-Ons is to display only the Currently Loaded Add-Ons (Fig 6.5 above) but if you select the ALL ADD-ONS menu-item (not shown here) from the SHOW drop-down menu you can then view and manage all of the add-ons.


Besides Add/Ons, disabled Cookies (Cookie files) are another common problem when using the internet and more precisely when using Internet Explorer 11. Below I am logging into Windows Live Hotmail, but I get a complaint that Cookies are disabled (blocked).

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.6 - Cookies are currently disabled (blocked) - Use the Privacy TAB to enable them.

To enable/restore Internet Explorer 11's 'cookies' settings you first need to go to the Privacy TAB and click on the ADVANCED button (below) to open the Advanced Privacy Settings window (Fig 6.8 below).

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.7 - Click on the ADVANCED button to continue

When the Advanced Privacy Settings window opens (below), you need to make sure the default Cookies settings are applied - Select both of the ACCEPT buttons, for the First Party Cookies and Third Party Cookies settings, and then tick the option called ALWAYS ALLOW SESSION COOKIES before clicking on the OK button to apply those three settings.

Internet Explorer 11 Programs Tab

Fig 6.8 - Make sure the settings in the Advanced Privacy Settings window look like these settings

The above examples are specific. Meaning, they are meant to demonstrate MANAGE ADD-ONs and enable/restore Cookies for the scenarios described. They are not meant/exampled as a cure for any computer problems you may be experiencing. Rather than flob you off with the usual "For Advanced Users Only" I have exampled MANAGE ADD-ONs purely because the scenarios above are common and therefore I feel that you, as a beginner, should at least know what you can try (with caution) if you come across the above specific scenarios.