Internet Explorer 11 has a hidden feature called “Enterprise Mode” which enables you to access websites designed for an older version of Internet Explorer without any compatibility issues regarding the rendering problems. The Enterprise Mode is very helpful for designers and developers who are redesigning or working on a website built with old standards or for any user who has problems rendering some old websites. What Enterprise Mode does behind the scenes is that it emulates the browser configuration and user agent of Internet Explorer 8 right inside the modern browser.
This allows Internet Explorer 11 to capture the response using the ActiveX controls and displays the information in a compatibility mode. Though this is a useful feature for web developers, Microsoft chose to hide it deep inside the Group Policy settings. So if you are wondering, here is how you can enable Enterprise Mode in Windows.
Note: Enterprise Mode is only available for Pro and Ultimate versions of Windows 8.1 update 1 and Windows 7 users with Internet Explorer 11 installed.
Enable Enterprise Mode in Internet Explorer
You can enable the Enterprise Mode in Internet Explorer either by using the Windows Group Policy Editor or the regular Registry editor. If possible, consider using Group Policy method as it provides much more flexibility.
Using Windows Group Policy Editor
To enable Enterprise Mode using Group Policy method, press “Win + R”, type
gpedit.msc and press the Enter button.
The above action will open the Windows Group Policy Editor. Here in the left pane, navigate to “Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Internet Explorer.” Now in the right pane, find and double-click on the setting “Let users turn on and use Enterprise Mode from the Tools menu.”
The above action will open the settings window. Here select the radio button “Enable” and click on the “Ok” button to save the changes.
To access the Enterprise Mode, open Internet Explorer, navigate to the “Tools” option and then select “Enterprise Mode.” That’s all there is to do.
If you ever want to disable this feature, just select either of the radio buttons “Disabled” or “Not Configured” and save the changes. This action will disable the Enterprise Mode.
If you want to enable Enterprise Mode automatically on certain websites, then just list all the websites in a file (xml format) and enter that file address in the “Use the Enterprise Mode IE website list” option. Once you have added the list, Internet Explorer will automatically render the list of websites using the Enterprise Mode.
Using Windows Registry Editor
To enable Enterprise Mode using the Registry Editor, press “Win + R,” type
regedit and press the Enter button.
The above action will open the Windows Registry Editor. Here navigate to the following key. If you don’t find the keys stated below, just create them by right clicking and selecting the option “Key.”
In the left pane, right click and select the option “String Value” to create a new string.
Name the string “Enable.” That’s all there is to do; you have successfully enabled Enterprise Mode. If you ever want to disable the feature, just delete the newly created string and you are good to go.
Just like in the Group Policy Editor, you can also specify a list of websites in the Registry Editor to automatically enable Enterprise Mode. To do that, just create a new XML file with a list of all the sites you want and copy the address of that location. Now create a new string named “SiteList” in the Registry Editor and enter the address of that file as the “Data” value. That’s it; you have successfully added the list.
Hopefully that helps, and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences.