Windows 8.1 with Internet Explorer 11

Well if you have been running Windows 8 for a while, you may have been aware that Internet Explorer was two different beasts.  One on the Start menu and one on the Desktop.  Both used the same settings, but as I understand it, the IE App was IE11 and the Desktop Mode Internet Explorer was IE10.  Sometimes to make things work in the IE App we would change settings in the Desktop Internet Explorer.

Along comes Windows 8.1 update

After the Windows 8.1 update, it was life as usual for me.  Cruising around the new OS; everything was grand until I went to “My eBay” where I intended to sell an item.  The site was fine until I clicked on a linky that took me to some new fangled Silverlight/HTML5 driven page.  The page was jacked up. The buttons on the page did not work and the layout was gummed up with some missing content.  Oh Joy, here we go again.

In the past we would press F12 to bring up the Developer Tools to easily change IE to use a previous version of IE to display the page.  The Developer Tools are still there but what I found was; with the Windows 8.1 update we have been given a new Internet Explorer 11 Desktop version.  I was a bit shocked how the new Developer Tools looked but somehow got through it.

So you browse to a page and it is all jacked up, you may be able to use the Developer Tools to try to make it right.

Note there is nothing scientific here to back this up but this is how I am getting those messed up pages to display/behave properly.

While using the (Windows 8.1) Desktop Internet Explorer 11 on a page that is not display/behaving properly.

  • Press F12 on the Keyboard or Tap/Click the little gear icon (Tools) on the menu and choose F12 Developer Tools.  This will open the Developer Tools which will be docked to the bottom of the browser window.

Note the Compatibility View settings choice in the image below.  Choosing this will allow you to set a “Site” to compatibility mode.  This will sometimes work to clean up issues, but a lot of the (newer) sites I have had problems with it does not.

We now have Developer Tools docked to the bottom of IE.  It is much different the Dev tools of the previous versions of IE. Sad smile


In the left column of the Developer Tools menu, click on the little down arrow to go to the bottom of that menu (image above). 

You will see an icon that looks like a Computer and Phone (image below), click on that icon. The title becomes Emulation. This is where we change which version of the browser is emulated for the page we are on.


Browser Profile basically switches between Desktop/Phone emulation, we will not be doing anything with that setting here.

In the past we just picked which version of IE we wanted to emulate, verbiage has changed a bit in this new version and it isn’t so evident right off on where to make these changes. In the above image I have Document Mode selected.  On one particular ebay page; setting Document mode to 10 fixed the issues of buttons not working and layout missing content.

Earlier I mentioned to note Compatibility View Settings in the Tools menu.  When I set ebay to Compatibility Mode, the site in turn screamed at me for having an older browser and wouldn’t let me proceed. So it ends up being a find the right combo (Document mode/User agent string) for the page that you happen to be on.  Usually I found Document mode = 10, User agent string = Internet Explorer 10 works.  Compatibility View Settings may work for the older sites. where devs don’t do a whole lot of keeping up.


So there you have it.  Hope this helps some that are having issues with web pages not behaving properly with this new IE11.  This is a workaround until all these sites/dev get on the same page (no pun intended).


2 thoughts on “Windows 8.1 with Internet Explorer 11

  1. From what I have seen and read in the MS Tech Forums; when we update to Windows 8.1 IE 11 is part of that update. It is part of the system and cannot be downgraded. So if we update that is what we get.

    IE 11 can be turned off in “Turn Windows Features on or off” but I’m not sure of the impact that would have on the overall operation. I’ll test that. IE 11 is actually very cool (reading lists etc.) over past versions and personally I want it to work; I have only run into a couple pages that act badly. I do have an issue on one of my systems that IE 11 randomly restarts on me from time to time that I am trying to get to the bottom of…will advise.

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