Web Sites and a Plug-in Free Web

The transition to a plug-in free Web is happening today. Any site that uses plug-ins needs to understand what their customers experience when browsing plug-in free. Lots of Web browsing today happens on devices that simply don’t support plug-ins. Even browsers that do support plug-ins offer many ways to run plug-in free.

Metro style IE runs plug-in free to improve battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers. Previously, we wrote about how we use IE’s Compatibility View List to make sure sites that have a plug-in free experience for other browsers provide that same experience to IE10 users. This post describes a way for sites that continue to rely on plug-ins to provide consumers browsing with Metro style IE the best possible experience.

Developers with sites that need plug-ins can use an HTTP header or meta tag to signal Metro style Internet Explorer to prompt the user.

HTTP Header

X-UA-Compatible: requiresActiveX=true


<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="requiresActiveX=true" />

Metro style IE10 detects these flags, and provides the consumer a one-touch option to switch to IE10 on the desktop:

Screen shot of a fictional video site showing a prompt that reads "The site uses add-ons that require Internet Explorer on the desktop." Three action buttons are offered: Open, Don't show again for this site, and Close.

In addition to respecting these X-UA-Compatible flags specified by the developer, the Compatibility View List can also specify a site that needs to run in the desktop.

This mechanism provides a short-term mitigation. The desktop browsing experience and most plug-ins were not designed for smaller screens, battery constraints, and no mouse. Providing an easy way to the Windows desktop is the last resort when no comparable plug-in free fallback content exists.

A plug-in free Web benefits consumers and developers and we all take part in the transition. IE10 makes it easy to provide the best possible experience while you migrate your site.

—John Hrvatin, Program Manager Lead, Internet Explorer