FTP and Internet Explorer… What to do, what to do.

Hi everyone!

As many of you know, with the release of Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft made some changes to how IE7 uses FTP.  It’s outlined in this KB article, Separation of Internet Explorer 7 from the Windows shell (KB928675).  Since then, I’ve seen “mixed results” about the changes. 

Recently, an IE Support Engineer was helping a customer with an issue resulting from these changes.  In the end, a solution was provided to the customer forcing Windows Explorer to be the default handler for FTP.  Some subtle manipulation of the registry was all it took and it seems to have satisfied the customer:

BEFORE (32bit)


@=”\”C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\” %1″



AFTER (32bit)


@=”C:\\Windows\\explorer.exe %1″



With these changes in place, Windows Explorer is set as the default handler for FTP, removing the need to go through IE7 for FTP requests.  Now, we haven’t run this through any kind of regression testing.  We are simply offering this as an alternate solution if you are seeing issue when using FTP with IE7 or later.

If you plan to cut/paste FTP URL strings into IE7 (or later) address bar, you may still need to have this registry key set to enabled:



The IE Support Team

Comments (6)

  1. user12345x says:

    Can you please do another article on this. I followed your instructions to the letter (and I’m familiar with changing the Registry) but without success.

    Making all 3 changes, including the one that lets me paste the ftp url into Internet Explorer (8) causes IE to, how can I say it, freak out. I get my screen flashing rapidly and finally it goes grey with only the start button showing.

    I would really like to be able to access FTP site using IE8.

    Can you also be more detailed in showing how to use Explorer (not IE) to access FTP sites. I tried typing the ftp url into explorer and it brings up IE8, which doesn’t connect.


  2. Adamski says:

    This worked for me:


    with this value

    C:Windowsexplorer.exe"  "%1"

  3. anonymous says:

    This did not work for me. Using windows XP and IE7 IE still keeps intercepting things. And no, updating is not an option as the managers refuse to do so.

  4. anonymous says:

    None of the above fixes worked for me but this did the trick:


  5. Vasilis says:

    Did not work for me. FTP opens with IE 11 instead of windows explorer.
    I have windows 7 Ultimate English

    1. AxelRMSFT says:

      Opened IE
      Went to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced Tab
      Check Enable FTP Folder View (Outside of Internet Explorer)
      Uncheck Use Passive FTP (for Firewall and DSL Modem Compatibility)
      Then from Start / Run window (or hit the Windows Key + R)
      Typed ftp://ftp.site_name.com into the address bar