In the last couple years, I've been to an insurance broker and an ophthalmologist who both used web-based systems that could only function in Internet Explorer. Companies, large organizations, and even government agencies put millions of dollars into creating complex web applications that ran on IE, but that was years ago when the browser had more than 90 percent of market share. Many of these same organizations haven't had the time or budget to rewrite their systems for today's browsers. So it’s understandable that workers continue to need IE to get their jobs done. Now—finally—with Windows 11, you can get rid of IE for good by running those old systems and web apps in Microsoft Edge.
Here we show anyone who needs that good old IE special sauce to do their job how to get it without using the old browser. Windows 10 still includes a version of Internet Explorer, but in Windows 11, the way to access sites that require IE is with Windows 11’s Internet Explorer mode in Edge. Getting IE functionality is not terribly obvious, but it’s not at all hard either. Let’s begin, shall we?
To get sites that require IE to work inside Edge in Windows 11, the first step is to open Edge and go to the three-dot menu all the way on the right side of the top menu bar. Choose Settings, which is nearly at the bottom:
Now head to the Default Browser section of Edge’s Settings page. Since this section is mostly about making Edge your default browser, it’s not the most obvious place for enabling Internet Explorer, but that’s where you need to go. A helpful panel explains how to get legacy IE sites working in Edge. But what it suggests—setting particular sites to run in IE mode—is not the only option.
You now have two choices for getting sites that require IE to work in Edge. First, you can set Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode to either Default or Allow (the only other option is "Don’t allow" and that clearly isn’t what you want):
The Default setting presents an option to open Edge in IE mode if you’ve opened a page in that mode before. (This doesn’t mean that IE mode will be the default; this is just the default setting in Edge.) If you choose Allow, you’ll be able to choose Reload in Internet Explorer mode from the Settings and more menu, or by right-clicking on the tab and then choosing Open link in new Internet Explorer mode tab. If you choose Allow, you need to restart your browser.
Alternatively, you can add specific webpages to the Internet Explorer mode list. Note that you need to include "https://", not just the address and domain.
Open your old webpage! When you do, you see a notification about the mode with a switch for making the site always use IE mode. You also see a bar across the top of the page saying you’d be better off using the more modern and secure Edge, with a button to switch to it once you’re done browsing the site that requires IE. You’ll also see the good old “e” logo just to the left of the web address bar:
Also note the button showing a web tab with the "e" in the toolbar just to the left of the Share button. It lets you open any site in IE mode, and it shows all the same elements described above.
For more on Windows 11, read The Best Windows 11 Tips and Tricks. And keep track of all the latest developments on our Windows 11 news page.
Sign up for Tips & Tricks newsletter for expert advice to get the most out of your technology.
Your subscription has been confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox!Sign up for other newsletters