IE Compatibility Mode

“Enterprise Mode, a compatibility mode that runs on Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 devices, lets websites render using a modified browser configuration that’s designed to emulate either Windows Internet Explorer 7 or Windows Internet Explorer 8. Running in this mode helps to avoid many of the common compatibility problems associated with web apps written and tested on older versions of Internet Explorer.”

Basically is a way to open sites/applications that only work in Internet Explorer but in Edge Browser. In doing so, you only need one Browser to open newer sites, as well as legacy apps.

Why do we need IE Mode?

IE 11 Desktop Application will be retired next June 15 2022, for certain OS’s. The desktop application will no longer exist for these affected versions, however, the executable remains as it is part of the OS itself.

At the end of this article I will leave documentation where you can review which versions are affected.

For unaffected versions IE support follows the Lifecycle Policy for the product on which it is installed and supported.

In addition to this, IE mode will receive support through at least 2029.

Steps To Configure IE Mode

1) Setting Policies

Select desire channel, build, platform and “Get Policy Files

Decompress Policy Files

Go to “MicrosoftEdgePolicyTemplates\windows\admx” and copy the last three files:

  • msedge.admx
  • msedgeupdate.admx
  • msedgewebview2.admx

Paste these files in “C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions”.

Go back to “MicrosoftEdgePolicyTemplates\windows\admx”, search for your language, in my case “MicrosoftEdgePolicyTemplates\windows\admx\en-US”, and copy the three files:

  • msedge.adml
  • msedgeupdate.adml
  • msedgewebview2.adml

Go back to “C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions” and paste it in the matching language. In my case “C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\en-US”:

Open Command Prompt and run the following command:

“gpupdate /force”

2) Group Policy Editor

Open Group Policy or Run “gpedit.msc”

Go to “Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge > Configure Internet Explorer integration: Enabled.

In here you will have the following options:

  • Internet Explorer mode => if you want sites to open in IE mode on Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer 11 => if you want sites to open in a standalone Internet Explorer 11 window (This option will not be supported after June 15, 2022 when the Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support. After June 15, 2022 when IE11 will no longer be available, this option will behave the same as the Internet Explorer mode option.)
  • None => if you want to stop users from configuring Internet Explorer mode via edge://flags or through the command line

Select “Internet Explorer mode”

Now we need to create a list of those sites that we would like to open in IE mode.

For this, Download Enterprise Mode Site List Manager

Open Enterprise Mode Site List Manager and click “Add”.

You will be presented by the following options:

URL => Specifies the URL (and port number using standard port conventions) to which the child elements apply. The URL can be a domain, sub-domain, or any path URL. Do not specify a protocol, this will apply to HTTP and HTTPS sites.

Open In => A child element that controls what browser is used for sites. This element supports the Open in IE11 or Open in Microsoft Edge experiences, for devices running Windows 10.

Allow redirect => A boolean attribute of the <open-in> element that controls the behavior for redirected sites. Setting this attribute to “true” indicates that the site will open in IE11 or Microsoft Edge even if the site is navigated to as part of a HTTP or meta refresh redirection chain. Omitting the attribute is equivalent to “false” (sites in redirect chain will not open in another browser).

Compat Mode => A child element that controls what compatibility setting is used for specific sites or domains. This element is only supported in IE11.

I am going to add “google.com”:

Go to “File > Save to XML” and save it in C drive.

Open Group Policy Editor.

Now we need to set the path of this “.xml”.

The “Path” attribute accepts the following values and format:

  • HTTPS location: https://iemode/sites.xml
  • Local network file: \\network\shares\sites.xml
  • Local file: file:///c:/Users/<user>/Documents/sites.xml

At this point you have two policy options on where to set this path:

A) Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Use the Enterprise Mode IE website list: <Path to .xml>

B) Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge > Configure the Enterprise Mode Site List: <Path to .xml>

The difference is that enabling Microsoft Edge > Configure the Enterprise Mode Site List overrides the settings in the “Use the Enterprise Mode IE website list” policy, if “Configure Internet Explorer integration” is enabled. Disabling or not configuring this policy doesn’t affect the default behavior of the “Configure Internet Explorer integration” policy.

I am going to use option “A”:

Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Use the Enterprise Mode IE website list: <Path to .xml>

Test

Close all Edge processes.

Open Command Prompt and run the following command:

“gpupdate /force”

Open and browse to “google.com”:

Final Thoughts

  • IE mode let us use legacy apps while still getting supported through at least 2029.
  • IE 11 Desktop Application will be retired on June 15 2022 for certain Windows Version.
  • If you want to add or modify your list, you will have to save it as “.xml” again.

Resources:

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