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New IE and Edge Browser Controls Coming This Summer

Microsoft is planning some Group Policy enhancements for organizations using both the Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers.

Additionally, some of the default behaviors that now occur when switching from one Microsoft browser to the other will get improved. Both changes will be timed with the release of the Windows 10 anniversary update, according to Microsoft's announcement today. The Windows 10 anniversary update is currently at the preview stage, although a summer release is expected.

Microsoft specifically plans to eliminate a so-called "interstitial page" that currently pops up whenever a user must switch to IE 11 for compatibility reasons. Right now, users of the Edge browser get told to switch browsers via this interstitial page. Microsoft plans to scrap that behavior altogether and just open IE 11 automatically instead. This new behavior will be the default experience when the Windows 10 anniversary update gets released.

If an organization wants to keep the interstitial page, though, they will be able to configure Group Policy to that effect. They can turn on a new policy setting for Edge called "Show message when opening sites in Internet Explorer using Enterprise Mode."

Another new Group Policy addition coming with the Windows 10 anniversary update will let IT pros restrict IE 11 use to just the sites included on the organization's Enterprise Mode Site List. All other traffic gets directed to use the Edge browser. This new Group Policy option for IE is called "Send all sites not included in the Enterprise Mode Site List to Microsoft Edge."

Enterprise Mode is an IE 11 support technology for organizations that adds compatibility with older IE browser technologies, all of the way down to IE 5. The Site List can be used by IT pros to specify the site domains where Enterprise Mode should take effect for end users. Microsoft provides a manager tool to create such lists.

Edge is Microsoft's current flagship browser, but IE 11 often still fills organizational needs. Many organizations have Web apps and intranet sites that depend on the older browser technologies.

Microsoft's recommendation for organizations is to set Edge as the default Web browser. Enterprise Mode can then be used as a supplementary approach to direct users to IE when it's needed. The Site List can specify when to make a browser switch.

Organizations should create and use a single Enterprise Mode Site List for both IE and Edge, according to Microsoft's announcement.

"Note that as a best practice both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 should be pointed to the same Enterprise Mode Site List," the announcement stated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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