Enable Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11

Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 provides better backward compatibility for Internet Explorer 8 and is intended to help break this dependency and provide the best of both worlds:  A modern, up-to-date browser that helps customers extend their existing investments in older Web apps.

  • User agent string differences. Many legacy Web apps use browser detection, not today’s best practice of feature detection. By replicating the original Internet Explorer 8 user agent string, Enterprise Mode works for sites that fail if they can’t recognize IE8 as the browser.
  • ActiveX controls and other binaries. Some ActiveX controls silently fail if they query the browser version and get a response they don’t expect, so Enterprise Mode appeases these by mimicking IE8’s responses. In testing, customers report that many of these ActiveX controls “just work” in Enterprise Mode.
  • Deprecated functionality. Internet Explorer 8 still contained some vestiges of proprietary functionality, such as CSS Expressions which was used to place objects dynamically on a page. This functionality was removed in later versions of Internet Explorer, but some legacy Web apps used this to place buttons and other elements. Enterprise Mode brings back some deprecated features, including CSS Expressions.
  • Pre-caching and pre-rendering. Many modern browsers like Internet Explorer 11 pre-cache and pre-render pages, to make browsing more fluid. When you click on a pre-cached link, one tab disappears while the pre-rendered content tab appears in its place. To a legacy navigation controls, this behavior is confusing—so Enterprise Mode turns it off.

Enable Enterprise Mode to be Used for Internet Explorer 11

To enable Internet Explorer Enterprise Mode, modification to the Group Policy is required.   Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 with Internet Explorer 11 (fully updated).

  1. Windows Key + R, type gpedit.msc
  2. Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer.
  3. Locate the Let users turn on and use Enterprise Mode from the Tools menu option.
  4. Set it to Enabled

Below is a screenshot walkthrough of the steps.


Windows Key + R


Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer


Locate the Let users turn on and use Enterprise Mode from the Tools menu option.


Set it to Enabled

Enable Enterprise Mode for a Website

When visiting a site in Internet Explorer 11, you can enable Enterprise Mode by using Alt + T to get to the tools menu and then choose Enterprise Mode.  Enterprise Mode is indicated by the icon on the URL bar.  To disable Enterprise Mode on the site, simply repeat the steps to enable it for the site.  This will disable it.


ALT + T and choose Enterprise Mode while you are on the site you need to enable Enterprise Mode for.


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Posted by Rich Kreider

Father, geek, caffeine addict, IT guy, photographer and after-hours hacker...

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