Use Enterprise Mode to improve compatibility

Applies to: Windows 10

If you have specific web sites and apps that have compatibility problems with Microsoft Edge, you can use the Enterprise Mode site list so that the web sites open in Internet Explorer 11 automatically. Additionally, if you know that your intranet sites aren't going to work properly with Microsoft Edge, you can set all intranet sites to automatically open using IE11 with the Send all intranet sites to IE group policy.

Using Enterprise Mode means that you can continue to use Microsoft Edge as your default browser, while also ensuring that your apps continue working on IE11.

Interoperability goals and enterprise guidance

Our primary goal is that your websites work in Microsoft Edge. To that end, we've made Microsoft Edge the default browser.

You must continue using IE11 if web apps use any of the following:

  • ActiveX controls

  • x-ua-compatible headers

  • <meta> tags

  • Enterprise mode or compatibility view to address compatibility issues

  • legacy document modes [what is this?]

If you have uninstalled IE11, you can download it from the Microsoft Store or from the Internet Explorer 11 download page. Alternatively, you can use Enterprise Mode with Microsoft Edge to transition only the sites that need these technologies to load in IE11.

Tip

If you want to use Group Policy to set Internet Explorer as your default browser, you can find the info here, Set the default browser using Group Policy.

Technology Why it existed Why we don't need it anymore
ActiveX ActiveX is a binary extension model introduced in 1996 which allowed developers to embed native Windows technologies (COM/OLE) in web pages. These controls can be downloaded and installed from a site and were subsequently loaded in-process and rendered in Internet Explorer.
Browser Helper Objects (BHO) BHOs are a binary extension model introduced in 1997 which enabled developers to write COM objects that were loaded in-process with the browser and could perform actions on available windows and modules. A common use was to build toolbars that installed into Internet Explorer.
Document modes Starting with IE8, Internet Explorer introduced a new “document mode” with every release. These document modes could be requested via the x-ua-compatible header to put the browser into a mode which emulates legacy versions. Similar to other modern browsers, Microsoft Edge will have a single “living” document mode. In order to minimize the compatibility burden, features will be tested behind switches in about:flags until they are stable and ready to be turned on by default.

Enterprise guidance

Microsoft Edge is the default browser experience for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. However, if you're running web apps that need ActiveX controls, we recommend that you continue to use Internet Explorer 11 for them. If you don't have IE11 installed anymore, you can download it from the Microsoft Store or from the Internet Explorer 11 download page.

We also recommend that you upgrade to IE11 if you're running any earlier versions of Internet Explorer. IE11 is supported on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. So any legacy apps that work with IE11 will continue to work even as you migrate to Windows 10.

If you're having trouble deciding whether Microsoft Edge is good for your organization, you can take a look at this infographic about the potential impact of using Microsoft Edge in an organization.

Microsoft Edge infographic
Click to enlarge
Click to download image

Microsoft Edge IE11
Microsoft Edge takes you beyond just browsing to actively engaging with the web through features like Web Note, Reading View, and Cortana.
  • Web Note. Microsoft Edge lets you annotate, highlight, and call things out directly on webpages.
  • Reading view. Microsoft Edge lets you enjoy and print online articles in a distraction-free layout that's optimized for your screen size. While in reading view, you can also save webpages or PDF files to your reading list, for later viewing.
  • Cortana. Cortana is automatically enabled on Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge lets you highlight words for more info and gives you one-click access to things like restaurant reservations and reviews, without leaving the webpage.
  • Compatibility and security. Microsoft Edge lets you continue to use IE11 for sites that are on your corporate intranet or that are included on your Enterprise Mode Site List. You must use IE11 to run older, less secure technology, such as ActiveX controls.
IE11 offers enterprises additional security, manageability, performance, backward compatibility, and modern standards support.
  • Backward compatibility. IE11 supports 9 document modes that include high-fidelity emulations for older versions of IE.
  • Modern web standards. IE11 supports modern web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and WebGL, which help to ensure today's modern websites and apps work just as well as your old, legacy websites and apps.
  • More secure. IE11 was designed with security in mind and is more secure than older versions. Using security features like SmartScreen and Enhanced Protected Mode can help IE11 reduce your risk.
  • Faster. IE11 is significantly faster than previous versions of Internet Explorer, taking advantage of network optimization and hardware-accelerated text, graphics, and JavaScript rendering.
  • Easier migration to Windows 10. IE11 is the only version of IE that runs on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Upgrading to IE11 on Windows 7 can also help your organization support the next generation of software, services, and devices.
  • Administration. IE11 can use the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) 11 or MSIs for deployment, and includes more than 1,600 Group Policies and preferences for granular control.

Configure the Enterprise Mode Site List

Available policy options