Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

A workaround for 'Explorer as default browser' System
I'm not using Internet Explorer as my default browser; in my case I prefer Omniweb. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer is still mandatory for a few websites so I had to keep it on my hard disk. But the annoying thing is that Internet Explorer regularly overrides my settings and becomes the default browser instead of Omniweb.

I found a way to add Omniweb to the list of browsers in the Internet Prefpane (see this hint) but this didn't solve my problem. I still had to go back to this Prefpane regularly to set back Omniweb as my default browser. So I had to find a way to keep Internet Explorer on my hard disk but without the system noticing it.

I created a disk image of 15MB and I copied Internet Explorer onto it. Whenever I need Explorer, I mount this disk image and launch the browser. When I'm done, I unmount it. Now even if the system has put back Internet Explorer as the default browser, if I click on a link it will try to launch Microsoft's brower. However, since it won't find it, the system will launch the next browser listed in my Internet Prefpane, namely Omniweb.

[Editor's note: A creative solution to this "all powerful Explorer" problem!]
  • Currently 0.00 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (0 votes cast)

A workaround for 'Explorer as default browser' | 25 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'A workaround for 'Explorer as default browser'' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Setting Default Browser
Authored by: w3stoner on Apr 20, '02 12:43:12PM

Umm perhaps I missed something? All I did to change my
default brower was to open the System Preferences:Internet.
Then selected "Select" from the Default Web Brower option.
I then weaved down through my folders and selected the Mozilla
App. And there you have it. Mozilla is now my default browser.
When I click on a link in email I get Mozilla, etc.

Since doing this I've had no problems with Explorer spawning
itself. (unless of course *I* decide to use it and call it up

[ Reply to This | # ]
Setting Default Browser
Authored by: kerouassady on Apr 20, '02 12:57:37PM

You did indeed miss something. My default internet settings are regularly reset to Internet Explorer. I think it happens whenever you alter IEs preferences. It alters the internet config settings the same way it did in OS9. Being altered, they get reset to the default. At work, where I am regularly switching between browsers and am forced to use IE to click on links in Outlook 2001 (where it will launch classic IE if I don't have IEX open) even though Omniweb is my usual default, it happens all the time. I even have my Download folder reset to my Desktop fairly regularly, especially when I upgrade Mozilla.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Setting Default Browser
Authored by: w3stoner on Apr 20, '02 01:06:39PM

s*ck! That's damn annoying. Mercifully I'm not forced
to use IE enough that I need to muck with its prefs.

[ Reply to This | # ]
lock your internet prefs file
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 22, '02 01:27:18PM

To prevent Internet Explorer from being set as your default every time you restart (or so it seems), set the System Prefs/Internet/Web browser to the one you want, and then go to your home directory, then to your Library folder, and then to the Preferences folder, and get info on the file "", and check the "Locked" box. Now it will stay the way you set it.

[ Reply to This | # ]
lock your internet prefs file
Authored by: hembeck on Oct 01, '02 02:57:41PM

But when legimate changes to the settings, like maybe establishing a new default home page, be prevented using this method?


[ Reply to This | # ]
"Browser Wars" can possibly help
Authored by: j-beda on Apr 20, '02 02:25:59PM
You might want to try downloading "Browser Wars" which populates the pull down menus in the control panel with the names of non-Micorsoft applications for mail, web, and newsreading.

Browser Wars:

[ Reply to This | # ]

Different approach
Authored by: datawrangler on Apr 20, '02 02:52:30PM

My machine has the same infuriating habit of undoing my Internet prefs. I used a slightly different technique of disabling-without-deleting IE. In the Finder, select Show Package Contents from IE's contextual menu. Inside the Contents folder, rename the MacOS folder. I call mine MacOSrenamed. This will prevent the app from launching.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Quit all Microsoft apps
Authored by: cyan on Apr 20, '02 03:46:24PM

I read somewhere that if you change the default browser in the internet prefs while say Explorer or Entourage is open then will reset the prefs when you quit them.

Quit all internet related apps then set your default browser. I did this and haven't had a problem since.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: serres on Apr 20, '02 03:59:46PM

There is a LSIsAppleDefaultForScheme property in the CFBundleURLTypes of Internet Explorer's Info-macos.plist file (look into the IE package). I once tried to experiment with this (setting it no/deleteting it for IE; setting it to yes in the OmniWeb counterpart), but because I regularly followed the OmniWeb sneakypeeks and OmniWeb doesn't have this set by default I lost the tracking. Maybe the BrowserWars makers could do some analysis with this.

[ Reply to This | # ]
OmniWeb as Default -- No, alas...
Authored by: el bid on Apr 20, '02 06:21:45PM

OminiWeb was my default browser until the last update to version 4.1beta4.

But alas I've discovered that it now absolutely refuses to allow me to log into MacOSXHints. I've ordered and received a new password, which works fine from Netscape (so I'm able to post this). But the same username/password combination gets rejected over and over again when I try to log in from the new OmniWeb.

Anyone else come across this? Am I missing something blindingly obvious? Is there something significant that Netscape and the older OmniWeb do that the new OmniWeb doesn't, or vice versa.

Has anybody got any ideas about this???

el bid

[ Reply to This | # ]
OmniWeb as Default -- No, alas...
Authored by: acct_removed on Apr 21, '02 10:03:02AM

I don't have any problems with in OmniWeb 4.1b4. I suggest deleting your cookies (or at least the ones dealing with this site) and re-try.

[ Reply to This | # ]
The easiest way yet...
Authored by: Xeo on Apr 20, '02 09:51:34PM
... is turning off the executable bit of Internet
% sudo chmod 644 /Applications/Internet
It will never bother you again. Then it's just as easy and fast to turn it back on. Make an alias to that line and it's only a few letters away.

[ Reply to This | # ]
A new approach
Authored by: cubixe on Apr 21, '02 12:37:52AM
It just occurred to me, that if IE is not on the list of browsers set in the .plist file, how can the OS revert to IE as default at seemingly random times!?

So I removed IE completely from the list of browsers in the menu in Preferences. We'll see how it works...

[ Reply to This | # ]

A new approach
Authored by: aranor on Apr 21, '02 01:24:28AM

I've done this before. At random times it would revert to IE being the browser, even when I didn't touch IE at all since last time. It seems to magically remember about IE. My final solution was to simply delete IE altogether.

[ Reply to This | # ]
A new approach
Authored by: JayBee on Apr 21, '02 08:52:03AM

If, as I suspect, IE is doing the rewriting, it doesn't matter if you delete the references from the system. IE will just dive back in and remind the system it exists...

[ Reply to This | # ]
other trick?
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 21, '02 07:57:30AM

what seems to work for me is inside the explorer package,editing the Info-macos.plist file like this;


that seems to do the trick, until now

[ Reply to This | # ]
And in Eudora 5.1 you...
Authored by: EatingPie on Apr 21, '02 08:37:48AM

....Simply hold Option down and double-click an "http" URL in any e-mail message. You get a selection dialog box to choose a new browser app.

I actually used this method to pick OSX's Explorer over the ol' Classic version in Eudora 5.1.

[ Reply to This | # ]
OSX ic.config
Authored by: jimr on Apr 21, '02 03:09:45PM

it seems that IEprovides one of the few interfaces to this configuration system.

in ~/Library/Preferences/ you can find ""

make sure your http and https helpers are also set to the Browser of choice.

Naturally, make a backup before editing the file.

Then find a small Application called "Vince 1.0" at VersionTracker.

you should be able to change the values to your preferece with that.

Then open the plist in the plist viewer....

you should see the same binary numbers for both http and https.

also look for a secondary entry called "HelperExtra•http"

set the data which might be "01010c" to "000000"

same procedure for "HelperExtra•https".

if you are really brave, you can add other helper applications like hotline, Carracho, ftp, by using the same style as the rest of the list(but that is another Hint)

While you are there, you may also notice there is a bunch of IE basic preferences in IC. ....really wish they would use their own database for that stuff.

You are on your own with this stuff.... however, you should also try to run the BrowserWars to clean up your Prefpane stuff. So far, I have gotten through the IE update and the 10.14 updates without having any signs of reversion....yet.

It is a bit vague, I know, but if you feel comfortable with this stuff you will have some success.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Does anyone know what
Authored by: AL2311 on Apr 21, '02 10:32:18PM
You can find it in "~/Library/Preferences/".

Could this have something to do with the problems people are having changing the default browser?

-- Alistair

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: AL2311 on Apr 21, '02 10:35:32PM
That title was supposed to say "Does anyone know what "IEAsDefaultNoBotherPrefKey is about?"

It appeared fine in the preview but then everything after the first disappeared once it was submitted.

[ Reply to This | # ]
it is the hypothesis...
Authored by: jimr on Apr 22, '02 02:39:36AM

I read through the Developer docs briefly on internet config support,
but no time to write any code to muck with it.

for a while in 10.12 IE kept jumping up randomly and I was
continually having to change everything back. recently,
after setting the prefpane to <i>Mozilla</i> as the only "listed"
item in the Browserwars style. (I wrote it manually)

setting ic config with <i>Vince</i>,
setting IEAsDefaultNoBotherPrefKey to 0
I have been able to reliably open mozilla as the "default browser"
for the last few months.

There have been some other conjectures that since IE is a primary
user of the icconfig file, it acts like it is the only user and
frequently does not close the file correctly, especially if it
crashes. Office apps may also exhibit a similar behaviour.

Mozilla has been criticied for not taking advantage of the systme
facilities such as Authenication and instead handling those things
by itself. IE, on the other hand writes some Authentication Data
into IC.

I would suggest fixing the name space
etc. for application specific ic needs
and leave the main list for the file-mapping to helper applications
as it was originally designed.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Simple Solution
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 22, '02 01:31:31PM

To prevent Internet Explorer from being set as your default every time you restart (or so it seems), set the System Prefs/Internet/Web browser to the one you want, and then go to your home directory, then to your Library folder, and then to the Preferences folder, and get info on the file "", and check the "Locked" box. Now it will stay the way you set it. Once the preference file is locked, it will stay the way you set it. Happy browsing. Note: Link files made with IE in the Finder will launch IE, not the default browser.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Simple Solution - Works!!!
Authored by: kerim on Apr 22, '02 10:51:49PM

This is the way to do it. It should also help stop the iTool account info from disspearing! BTW: Chimera is the best browser for OSX - and that is with most of the features still missing!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Another page of help on this ...
Authored by: robg on May 10, '02 01:54:01AM
An anonymous hinster submitted this page, which contains more information on disabling IE as the default browser. Some of the info has been listed here already, some is new... -rob.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Even Simpler
Authored by: slayed on Jun 07, '02 11:34:22PM

I re-named Internet to This way, the system can't find it, yet it's still readily available.

[ Reply to This | # ]