Enterprise Mode and the Enterprise Mode Site List

Applies to:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge can work together to support your legacy web apps, while still defaulting to the higher bar for security and modern experiences enabled by Microsoft Edge. Working with multiple browsers can be difficult, particularly if you have a substantial number of internal sites. To help manage this dual-browser experience, we are introducing a new web tool specifically targeted towards larger organizations: the Enterprise Mode Site List Portal.

Available dual-browser experiences

Based on the size of your legacy web app dependency, determined by the data collected with Windows Upgrade Analytics, there are several options from which you can choose to configure your enterprise browsing environment:

  • Use Microsoft Edge as your primary browser.

  • Use Microsoft Edge as your primary browser and use Enterprise Mode to open sites in Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) that use IE proprietary technologies.

  • Use Microsoft Edge as your primary browser and open all intranet sites in IE11.

  • Use IE11 as your primary browser and use Enterprise Mode to open sites in Microsoft Edge that use modern web technologies.

For more info about when to use which option, and which option is best for you, see the Continuing to make it easier for Enterprise customers to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 — and Windows 10 blog.

What is Enterprise Mode?

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

Many customers identify web app compatibility as a significant cost to upgrading because web apps need to be tested and upgraded before adopting a new browser. The improved compatibility provided by Enterprise Mode can help give customers confidence to upgrade to IE11, letting customers benefit from modern web standards, increased performance, improved security, and better reliability.

Enterprise Mode features

Enterprise Mode includes the following features:

  • Improved web app and website compatibility. Through improved emulation, Enterprise Mode lets many legacy web apps run unmodified on IE11, supporting several site patterns that aren’t currently supported by existing document modes.

  • Tool-based management for website lists. Use the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager to add website domains and domain paths and to specify whether a site renders using Enterprise Mode. Download the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager (schema v.2) or the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager (schema v.1), based on your operating system and schema.

  • Centralized control. You can specify the websites or web apps to interpret using Enterprise Mode, through an XML file on a website or stored locally. Domains and paths within those domains can be treated differently, allowing granular control. Use Group Policy to let users turn Enterprise Mode on or off from the Tools menu and to decide whether the Enterprise browser profile appears on the Emulation tab of the F12 developer tools.

    Important

    All centrally-made decisions override any locally-made choices.

  • Integrated browsing. When Enterprise Mode is set up, users can browse the web normally, letting the browser change modes automatically to accommodate Enterprise Mode sites.

  • Data gathering. You can configure Enterprise Mode to collect local override data, posting back to a named server. This lets you "crowd source" compatibility testing from key users; gathering their findings to add to your central site list.

Enterprise Mode and the Enterprise Mode Site List XML file

The Enterprise Mode Site List is an XML document that specifies a list of sites, their compat mode, and their intended browser. Using Enterprise Mode Site List Manager (schema v.2), you can automatically start a webpage using a specific browser. In the case of IE11, the webpage can also be launched in a specific compat mode, so it always renders correctly. Your employees can easily view this site list by typing about:compat in either Microsoft Edge or IE11.

Starting with Windows 10, version 1511 (also known as the Anniversary Update), you can also restrict IE11 to only the legacy web apps that need it, automatically sending sites not included in the Enterprise Mode Site List to Microsoft Edge.

Site list xml file

This is a view of the raw EMIE v2 schema.xml file. There are equivalent Enterprise Mode Site List policies for both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11. The Microsoft Edge list is used to determine which sites should open in IE11; while the IE11 list is used to determine the compat mode for a site, and which sites should open in Microsoft Edge. We recommend using one list for both browsers, where each policy points to the same XML file location.

<site-list version="205">
    <!--- File creation header --->
    <created-by>
        <tool>EnterpriseSiteListManager</tool>
        <version>10586</version>
        <date-created>20150728.135021</date-created>
    </created-by>
    <!--- Begin Site List ---> 
    <site url="www.cpandl.com">
        <compat-mode>IE8Enterprise</compat-mode>
        <open-in>IE11</open-in>
    </site>
    <site url="www.woodgrovebank.com">
        <compat-mode>default</compat-mode>
        <open-in>IE11</open-in>
    </site>
    <site url="adatum.com">
        <compat-mode>IE7Enterprise</compat-mode>
        <open-in>IE11</open-in>
    </site>
    <site url="relecloud.com"/>  
    <!-- default for self-closing XML tag is 
        <compat-mode>default</compat-mode>
        <open-in>none</open-in>
    -->
    <site url="relecloud.com/products">  
        <compat-mode>IE8Enterprise"</compat-mode>
        <open-in>IE11</open-in>
    </site>
    <site url="contoso.com/travel">
        <compat-mode>IE7</compat-mode>
        <open-in>IE11</open-in>
    </site>
    <site url="fabrikam.com">
         <compat-mode>IE7</compat-mode>
         <open-in>IE11</open-in>
    </site>
</site-list>

Enterprise Mode Site List Manager and the Enterprise Mode Site List Portal tools

You can build and manage your Enterprise Mode Site List is by using any generic text editor. However, we’ve also provided a couple tools that can make that process even easier.

Enterprise Mode Site List Manager

This tool helps you create error-free XML documents with simple n+1 versioning and URL verification. We recommend using this tool if your site list is relatively small. For more info about this tool, see the Use the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager topics.

There are 2 versions of this tool, both supported on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10:

If your list is too large to add individual sites, or if you have more than one person managing the site list, we recommend using the Enterprise Site List Portal.

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

The Enterprise Mode Site List Portal is an open-source web tool on GitHub that allows you to manage your Enterprise Mode Site List, hosted by the app, with multiple users. The portal is designed to use IIS and a SQL Server backend, leveraging Active Directory (AD) for employee management.

In addition to all the functionality of the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager tool, the Enterprise Mode Site List Portal helps you:

  • Manage site lists from any device supporting Windows 7 or greater.

  • Submit change requests.

  • Operate offline through an on-premise solution.

  • Provide role-based governance.

  • Test configuration settings before releasing to a live environment.

Updates to your site list are made by submitting new change requests, which are then approved by a designated group of people, put into a pre-production environment for testing, and then deployed immediately, or scheduled for deployment later.

Because the tool is open-source, the source code is readily available for examination and experimentation. We encourage you to fork the code, submit pull requests, and send us your feedback! For more info about the Enterprise Mode Site List Portal, see the Use the Enterprise Mode Site List Portal topics.