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Resetting the Default Search Engine in IE9

This article describes how to set Google as default search engine in IE9. It will also describe how to add Google, or any other, search provider to IE9 if it is not listed already.

In an earlier article on IE9, we discussed using the Address bar to search for anything you want. The article described how to disable search from the IE9 Address bar to maintain privacy. The article also mentioned that Microsoft offers Bing as the default search provider. This means that whenever you use the IE9 Address bar to search for anything, Bing takes over and returns the results. You can see that the search results contain the Bing logo – making it clear that it was Bing that searched for the keywords you typed in the Address bar.


IE9 comes with a range of search providers pre-installed so you can use whichever you want. If you do not specify which one to use, it returns results from the default search engine.

TIP: Using a Different Search Provider Without Changing Any Settings:

You can specify a different search provider while searching from the Address bar without having to change any settings. When you type anything in the IE9 Address bar, you are presented with logos of different search providers at the bottom of search suggestions drop box. While pressing the Enter key will use the default search provider, you can use another search engine by clicking on the logo of that search provider. See the following image where I have Google and several other search engines installed. Though the default search is Google, if I click on the logo of different search engine, IE9 will use the that search engine to return results.


In your case, there may be more icons (logos) depending upon the number of search providers installed. Though you can use this method, it takes extra time as each time you have to move the mouse pointer to the logo of a different search provider and click on it. If you always use a search provider different than one set as your default, I suggest you to change the default so you can just type in your search term and hit Enter instead of using mouse every time.

The next section discusses how to set Google as default search engine. It also explains how to add Google Search Provider in case it is not listed in the installed IE9 search providers. The same procedure applies to any other search provider that you may want to add or set as default.

Set Google as Default Search Engine – Add Google Search Provider to IE9

To set Google as default search engine, press ALT with IE9 open. This will present you with the traditional menu bar. Click on the Tools menu and select Manage Add-ons.


When the Manage Add-ons window appears, click on Search Providers. You can see the list of search providers pre-installed in your copy of IE9. You will also notice that Default appears against Bing under the Status column of the Manage Add-ons window.


If the search engine you wish to use is not present in the listed providers, click on the link that says “Find more search providers”. You’ll find this in the lower left corner of the Manage Add-ons window. In the above image, you cannot see Google. You will need to add Google search provider to IE9. Once you click on the link, IE9 will open a page that contains a list of compatible search providers. Browse to Google and click on Add to Internet Explorer to add Google search provider to IE9.


When you click on the Add to Internet Explorer button, another dialog box appears as shown in the image below. This new dialog box asks you if you wish to use the new search provider as the default. It also asks you if you wish to use search suggestions from the search provider. As you are willing to set Google as default search engine in IE9, click to select the options.


Once you select the options and click on Add, the new search provider will not only be added to IE9, it will also be made the default search.


NOTE: The new search provider will not appear in the Search Providers in Manage Add-ons window until you reopen it. You will again have to press ALT, click on the Tools menu, and select Manage Add-ons to reopen the Window.

Set Google as Default Search Engine – If Google is Already Listed in Manage Add-ons

If Google is already present in the list under Search Providers in Manage Add-ons window, you need not add it again. In this case, simply select Google and click on Set as Default. You can see the change – the status against Google changes to Default. Click on Close to close the Manage Add-ons window.


Now you can type anything in the Address bar and hit Enter to see that you have successfully set Google as the default search engine in IE9.

~Arun Kumar