August 26, 2015 10:00 am

How Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10 work better together in the Enterprise

Last month, we launched a brand new browser built for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge.  Microsoft Edge has been built from the ground up to correctly, quickly, and reliably render web pages, and improve productivity. We understand that many Enterprise customers may have line of business web apps and services that depend on Internet Explorer and the proprietary technologies that it supports. To help support these customers, Windows 10 includes Internet Explorer 11 with Enterprise Mode, the same version supported on Windows 7 and 8.1. Starting on January 12, 2016, Internet Explorer 11 will be the minimum supported version to continue to receive security updates and technical support on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Today, we’re going to show you how you can use Enterprise Mode with Microsoft Edge to open Internet Explorer 11 for your business’s sites that require IE’s proprietary technologies. This approach enables your users to run a modern browser designed for better productivity, security, and rendering web pages—without sacrificing compatibility with legacy line of business applications.

Many of our customers who depend on legacy features only available in older versions of Internet Explorer are familiar with our Enterprise Mode tools for IE11. Today, we’re extending Enterprise Mode support to Microsoft Edge by opening any site specified on the Enterprise Mode Site List in IE11. IT Pros can use their existing IE11 Enterprise Mode Site List or they can create a new one specifically for Microsoft Edge. By keeping Microsoft Edge as the default browser in Windows 10 and only opening legacy line of business sites in IE11 when necessary, you can help keep newer development projects on track, using the latest web standards on Microsoft Edge.  For customers that have significant legacy content, we are also providing the ability to configure any Intranet site to open in IE11 when a user browses to it using Microsoft Edge.  This functionality is available as part of Windows 10 and has no additional installation requirements. Find out more about how to use Enterprise mode to improve compatibility in Microsoft Edge on Technet.

User Experience

Any sites specified on the Enterprise Mode Site List will open in IE11 automatically—even when navigated to in Microsoft Edge—unless you specifically exclude that site on the list. This action happens without any user input.  For example, if Contoso Travel, a line of business application that requires IE’s legacy proprietary technologies, was on the Enterprise Mode Site List or in the Intranet Zone, a user would see the following page when navigating to it in Microsoft Edge while the site is automatically opened in IE11:

Screen capture showing the interstitial transitioning to Internet Explorer

The user is prompted to open the website in Internet Explorer 11 (with the option to default to Internet Explorer in the future), but can choose to continue in Microsoft Edge.  Selecting “Open with Internet Explorer” will start Internet Explorer 11 and navigate to the current page  in a new window (or a new tab if the browser is already running).

Screen capture showing Microsoft Edge handing navigation to Internet Explorer 11

Using the Enterprise Mode Site list

For Internet Explorer 11, Enterprise Mode is configured by enabling the Use the Enterprise Mode IE website list Group Policy. You must then specify the location (URL) of the Enterprise Mode Site List under Options.  You can configure Microsoft Edge in a similar way using the Microsoft Edge Allows you to configure Enterprise Site list Group Policy.   That Group Policy specifies the location of the Enterprise Mode Site List for Microsoft Edge. If you enable this policy but do not specify a location for the Enterprise Mode Site List, Microsoft will automatically use the IE11 Enterprise Mode Site List if one exists.

"Allows you to configure the Enterprise Site list" Group Policy option

Location: Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Edge\Allows you to configure the Enterprise Mode Site list

By default, any site that is in the <emie> or <docmode> section of the Enterprise Mode Site List will automatically open in Internet Explorer 11.  Additionally, we are introducing a new attribute “DoNotTransition” which allows explicit control over whether Microsoft Edge will open a site in Internet Explorer 11 or not.

DoNotTransition  True False Undefined (default)
Impact/Action This site on the Enterprise Mode Site List will not transition to Internet Explorer 11 when opened in Microsoft Edge This site on the Enterprise Mode Site List will transition to Internet Explorer 11 when opened in Microsoft Edge By default any site on the Enterprise Mode Site List will transition to Internet Explorer 11 when opened in Microsoft Edge
Code Sample
<domain doNotTransition="true/false"></domain>

The doNotTransition attribute can also be set using the latest version of the Enterprise Site List Manager.  When an existing site list is imported into the latest version each entry will receive an explicit DoNotTransition=”False” setting.  This is shown in the UI via the “Open in IE/Internet Explorer” checkboxes.  These are found in both the Site Detail and Site List view.

Screen capture of Enterprise Mode Site List view

Enterprise Mode Site List view

Screen capture of Enterprise Mode Site detail view

Enterprise Mode Site detail view

Microsoft Edge and IE11 can share the same Site List, or you can specify separate lists.

Opening Intranet sites in IE11

In addition to using the Enterprise Mode Site List, Microsoft Edge can be configured to send all Intranet sites to Internet Explorer 11.  You can do this via the “Sends all intranet traffic over to Internet Explorer” Group Policy. If this policy is configured, it will send all intranet sites to IE11, not just the sites listed in the Enterprise Mode site list. This option provides the same user experience covered earlier. We recommend IT Pros use the Enterprise Mode Site List—and not this policy—to configure just the minimum set of sites that need to open in IE11, as it will help enable you to modernize your intranet sites for Microsoft Edge more quickly.

Screenshot of "Sends all intranet traffic over to Internet Explorer" Group Policy

Location: Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Edge\Sends all intranet traffic over to Internet Explorer

When configured, any site that is identified as being on the company Intranet will be automatically opened in Internet Explorer 11 when visited in Microsoft Edge.

For customers that have significant line of business application dependencies on IE11 and legacy IE technologies, you can set IE11 as your default browser on Windows 10 using the Set a default associations configuration file Group Policy. However, we recommend against this approach to ensure that sites which don’t rely on legacy technologies get the most modern rendering via Microsoft Edge.

How to get started

This feature is available in Windows 10 Build 10240+, so no additional updates are needed.  If you are already using Enterprise Mode to address compatibility issues in Internet Explorer 11, all you need to do is configure Microsoft Edge to use your existing Site List.  Below are some additional resources.

  • Download the new Enterprise Site List Manager Tool – v4.0 (Summer 2015).
  • Learn more about Enterprise Modeand how to turn it on.
  • Read up on setting up and configuring this functionality on Technet

While we hope that administrators are able to quickly transition to modern web standards and Microsoft Edge, we’re committed to help ease the transition using Internet Explorer 11 and the Enterprise Mode Site List. We’re excited about these new improvements and encourage you to try them out! Let us know your feedback on Twitter @MSEdgeDev or on Connect.

Deen King-Smith, Program Manager, Microsoft Edge
— Swathi Ganapathi, Program Manager, Microsoft Edge

Updated August 26, 2015 1:18 pm

Join the conversation

  1. So what about intranet sites that are not in our EMIE site list and use X-UA-Compatible to set a legacy document mode and work perfectly well today in Internet Explorer 11 without the EMIE treatment? Will X-UA-Compatible trigger a switch over or recommendation to use Internet Explorer 11?
    E.g. does the use of X-UA-Compatible with a legacy doc mode account for the the message in Edge “This website uses technology that will work best in Internet Explorer”. And what else triggers this message? Thanks!

  2. Enterprise Mode is a really great feature to get IE11 rolled out and run in large organizations. Really one of the best features in IE11!
    I tried to extend this experience to Microsoft Edge now.
    It works great, when using a http://… syntax to point to a central XML-file.
    But I did not get it to work when pointing to a network file share, using \\Server\Share\emlist.xml syntax.
    This war not a problem with IE11.
    Is there a documentation error? Or some special requirements for downloading the list from a fileshare?

    Besides that, the blog above says:
    If you enable this policy but do not specify a location for the Enterprise Mode Site List, Microsoft will automatically use the IE11 Enterprise Mode Site List if one exists.
    How can I enable this policy without setting a value? The Policy Editor does not allow this.

    Some commentsor additional documentation to get more detailed information about setting things up would be great.
    I really appreciate the new Microsoft Edge and hope that Enterprise Mode will support us in deploying the new browser very fast at our customers site.

    • try: file:///\\server\\folder\\folder\\filename.xml

      Open IE 11 and Edge after making the change. wait for registry to update HKCU\Software\Microsoft\InternetExplorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
      the version # will change under that key to the version of your XML file.

        • Hi Karl,

          Unfortunately the behaviour for Microsoft Edge and IE11 are a bit different. IE can read the site list from a UNC path whereas Edge will only read from an HTTP \ HTTPS address. This may be fixed in the future but as of today this issue still exists. I would recommend that you follow the guidance to use an HTTPS regardless as this is a more secure method of communication. You could even leverage a public facing IIS box that is either on-premises or hosted in the cloud.

          Another thing to be aware of is that you will need to provide the path in the Microsoft Edge Group Policy “Allows you to configure Enterprise Site list” otherwise you will get an error.

          Hope this helps.

          RH (@MSRyanHall)

          • Ryan,

            Your reply is helpful as I was trying to get a sitelist.xml working with Edge without any success. We do host our sitelist on a UNC share. I don’t think that many customers are going to want to stand up a web server just to host a sitelist file. If Microsoft wants corporate customers to adopt Edge, they’re going to have to do a a better job in offering tools to properly control it. Hopefully this issue will be addressed in a future release.


  3. As a global corporate customer we have significant EM and CV lists to manage for our applications. Currently these need to be maintained separately; sites that require EM are specified in the XML file and sites that require compatibility view are specified in the IE GPO. This adds complexity and overhead and it also means that we can’t use Edge as default and fall back to IE for sites that require compatibility view. There are a category of sites that don’t work in EM or EM + CV mode but do work in CV mode.

    MS posted an article earlier this year which claimed that functionality had been added to the EM XML file called “IE7Mode” which would replicate Compatibility View, however as you can see from the comments on the blog post this is not the same as Compatibility View.

    It would be very welcome improvement if a tag could be added to the EM XML file to specify Compatibility View with 100% identical functionality to Compatibility View. This would allow enterprises to manage these settings in one place, simplify migration to IE11 and allow adoption of Edge as default browser in IE10

  4. I have earnestly attempted to incorporate all facets of Windows 10 into my business and personal use. However, it would be more useful to have the application IE 10 or 11 available as a stand-alone to Edge rather than have to specify each website through the Enterprise.

    For example, Edge is unable to play many videos (green screen with audio or black screen with audio). Either the video company’s technology hasn’t caught up with Windows 10 or Edge isn’t lower-compatible. This requires me to exit edge and open the video in Google Chrome or Firefox. This is the same for many URLs that are not compatible with Edge.

    While I would like to embrace Edge, I find I increasingly utilize Chrome or Firefox as my primary browser, instead of Edge. I would probably utilize IE before Chrome/Firefox, but neither IE 10 nor 11 will install on my machine because Edge is already present.

    Is there another workaround (aside from Enterprise and hand-jamming each/every website I need) or a patch in the future? Or is Windows 10 just too advanced for the current but most frequently accessed software? (Basically making it an ineffective and inefficient product for small businesses.)

  5. I’m personally and professionally glad that Microsoft included IE11 in Win10. It ensures that none of the businesses that have failed to update sites, whether internal or external, for security and compatibility will ever have to do any of that work.

    • I also appreciate that IE11 is still available in Windows 10.
      Question:For how long? Looking at the various roadmaps IE11 will be supported as long as the operating system is supported. For Windows 10, it is by that not clear how long IE11 will be around since Windows 10 does not have any end date. Does that mean that IE will be around forever, since Windows 10 sometimes is said to be the “last version of Windows”

  6. The solution to all of these issues is to just have clients use Chrome. It’s the 21st century: time to leave Microsoft browsers behind with Netscape.

  7. Is there any hidden method to exclude certain pages from enterprise mode? We have an intranet with sadly outdated web pages which require enterprise mode, but I would like to do new additions with modern javascript libs etc.
    I understand that a page loaded as a frame cannot override the compatibility mode of the parent page, but even when I make it launch a page in a new window it still gets stuck with the enterprise mode and ignores every X-UA-Compatible setting I have discovered on the web.
    Any tips on allowing us to modernize our old site bit by bit until we have replaced all the old stuff? We will never be given the resources to replace everything at once and turn off enterprise mode, but it looks like we will be very restricted in what features we can use while every page is forced to an old IE mode.

  8. Will all Compatibility and Quirks modes remain unchanged in Internet Explorer “forever”?

    We have an application relying on IE5 Quirks mood 🙁
    Can we rely on that it will be available until 2020?

  9. I must be missing something- I just fired up my new laptop with Windows 10 and Edge, 4 TB of hard disk space, 32 GB of RAM and a 4.3GHz processor and it does not work with my on-line university classes that run on System 7/IE 11.
    Any ideas?

  10. How to get rid of the MS Edge Window that shows each time redirecting to Internet Explorer?
    For sites redirected to Internet Explorer there is always an Edge Window presented. Checking “Automatically open this site with Internet Explorer in the future “ does not prevent Edge to be opened each time pointing to a link that is set to redirect to IE