Now that Windows 8 is available, you might have started playing around with Internet Explorer 10. It comes in two different versions: the minimalist Modern UI/Metro version accessed from the Start screen and the traditional, full-featured Desktop version accessed from the Taskbar.
In this article, we provide some useful tips and tricks to help you get to know both versions of Internet Explorer, especially the new Modern UI/Metro version.
The Windows UI version of IE10 is a bare bones version, optimized for faster browsing and touch devices, but works well with a keyboard and mouse, as well.
The Desktop version of IE10 is the full-featured version you are familiar with from previous versions of Windows.
The Windows UI IE10 and Internet Explorer for the Desktop share a common home page, or multiple home page tabs, if specified. To set one or more home page tabs for both versions of IE10, click the gear icon in the upper, right corner of the window and select Internet Options from the drop-down menu.
In the Home page section on the General tab, enter one or more URLs to use as your home page tab(s). Click Use current to use the URL from the currently displaying tab as one of your home page tabs. Click OK to accept your changes.
Internet Explorer Settings
The options for both versions of IE10 are available on the Internet Options dialog box, available through the Desktop version of IE10. Open the Internet Options dialog box as described above. Change the desired settings and click OK.
An abbreviated set of options for the Windows UI version of IE10 is available by moving your mouse to the extreme, lower, right corner of the screen while in IE10. The Charms bar displays. Click the Settings charm. The Internet Explorer Settings panel displays.
Browser Launch Settings
When you click on hyperlinks outside of IE10, the pages are opened contextually, or in the corresponding version of IE10. For example, any sites pinned to the Taskbar will open in the Desktop version of IE10. Sites pinned to the Start screen are opened in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10.
However, these behaviors can be changed. To do so, open the Internet Options dialog box as described above and click the Programs tab. Select an option from the Choose how you open links. If you want to always use IE10 on the Desktop, select Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop.
To always open sites pinned as tiles to the Start screen in IE10 on the desktop, select the Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop check box so there is a check mark in the box.
The Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 does not support ActiveX or other extensions/add-ons (more about that later). This might cause some web pages to not display correctly. If you encounter this, you can open a specific web page open in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 in the Desktop version of IE10. To do this, click the Page tools icon on the Navigation bar at the bottom of the screen in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 and select View on the desktop.
NOTE: When selecting View on the desktop, only the currently active web page and tab opens in the Desktop version of IE10, not any other pages or tabs. The Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 a maximum of 10 tabs.
How-To Geek has published a few articles about how to open the Desktop version of IE10 from the Modern UI/Metro Start screen:
- Launch the Desktop Version of IE from the Windows 8 Start Screen
- How to Make Windows 8 Metro Web Tiles Open in the Desktop Browser
- Make Pinned Metro Website Tiles Open in the Desktop IE in Windows 8
Navigation and Tabs
The Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 offers two app bars. The bottom bar is called the Navigation bar and it includes the Back button, Site icon, Address bar, Refresh/Stop button, Pin to Start/Jump List button, Page tools button, and Forward button. The top bar is called the Tab Switcher and displays thumbnails of open tabs and the New Tab and Tab Menu buttons. The Tab Switcher bar allows you to, of course, switch tabs, open a new tab, close existing tabs, and open a new InPrivate tab.
Both bars are hidden while surfing the web, but they can be displayed by pressing Windows key + Z or right-clicking on a web page (not on a link). To open only the Navigation bar and select the contents of the Address box, press F4 or Alt + D.
The currently active tab is indicated on the Tab Switcher bar with a blue border. Activate a non-active tab by clicking on the desired tab on the Tab Switcher bar. To close a tab, click the X button in the upper, right corner of the tab thumbnail on the Tab Switcher bar.
If you prefer to use the keyboard, you can press Ctrl + W to close the currently active tab, Ctrl + Tab to scroll forward among the tabs, Ctrl + Shift + Tab to scroll backward among the tabs, Ctrl + K to duplicate the currently active tab, and Ctrl + Shift + T to reopen the last closed tab.
The + button opens a new tab, activates the Navigation bar, puts the cursor in the Address box, and displays Pinned and Frequent site tiles.
Click the … button to display a popup menu allowing you to open a new InPrivate tab (discussed later in this article) or to close all tabs except for the currently displayed tab. If only one tab is open, the Close tabs option is grayed out.
When the Address box on the Navigation bar is activated, Pinned and Frequent site tiles display above the Address box. Click any tile to open the site in the current tab. Right-click on a tile to either open it or remove it from the list. You can also Shift + Click to open a site in a new tab.
Tabs, Pinned sites, and Frequent sites are discussed later in this article.
The Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 cannot have multiple windows open, but it supports having up to 10 tabs open at a time.
To open a webpage from a link in a new tab and switch to the new tab immediately, hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys and click on the link. To open a webpage from a link in a new background tab and leave the currently open tab active, hold down just the Ctrl key while clicking on the link. You can also open a link in a new background tab by right-clicking on a link and selecting Open link in new tab.
When clicking links in Address bar search results, use Shift + Click to open a link in a new tab and bring focus to that tab and Ctrl + Click to open a link in a background tab but keep the current tab active. As mentioned in the Navigation section, use Shift + Click to open links from Pinned or Frequent site tiles in a new tab and bring focus to that tab.
Just like the Desktop version of IE10, each tab in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 has its own browsing history. If one tab crashes, all other tabs and IE10 itself continues to work normally. You can have the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 open the tabs from the last session the next time you open the browser, but you must set that option in the Desktop version of IE10. Access the Internet Options dialog box, as mentioned earlier in this article, and select the Start with tabs from the last session radio button in the Startup section of the General tab.
To set options for tabbed browsing in both versions of IE10, click the Tabs button in the Tabs section of the General tab on the Internet Options dialog box.
NOTE: Changing tab order and tab grouping are not supported in Modern UI/Metro version of IE10.
The Desktop version and the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 share the default search provider. Change your default and manage your search providers by clicking the gear button in the upper, right corner of the IE10 window (Desktop version) and selecting Manage add-ons from the drop-down menu.
Click Search Providers in the Add-on Types list on the left side of the Manage Add-ons dialog box. To change the default search provider, select the desired provider in the list and click Set as default. You can also enable search suggestions for any search provider by selecting the provider and clicking the Enable suggestions link. Move search providers up and down in the list, or sort them alphabetically, using the Listing order links. Use the Remove button to remove any selected search provider.
To be able to search using the Address bar, select the Search in the address bar check box so there is a check mark in the box.
The Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 has search capabilities built into the Address bar. To search using the Address bar, click in it or activate it by pressing F4. When you type a word or phrase in the Address bar and press Enter or click the Go button, IE10 opens search results from the default search provider in the currently active tab. To open the search results in a new tab instead, press Alt + Enter.
You can also search in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 using the Search bar. To activate the Search bar, press Windows key + Q. It’s the same method of searching for apps and settings in Windows 8.
The Search bar displays on the right side of the screen. Type your search term and press Enter or click the magnifying glass button. A list of suggestions also displays as you type, so you can click one of those results, if desired.
The results of a search using the Search bar display in the current tab and the Search bar remains open. To hide it, click anywhere on the results page.
To search for specific text on the currently open webpage, use the Find Bar, which can be opened by pressing Ctrl + F or F3. You can also click the Page tools button (wrench) on the Navigation bar and select Find on page from the popup menu.
The black Find bar displays at the bottom of screen. Type a word or phrase in the edit box. As you type, anything that matches your search term is automatically highlighted. Use the Previous and Next buttons to navigate among the results.
NOTE: The Find bar searches for any matches, not whole words, and it’s not case-sensitive. For example, “office” matches “office,” “office-ready,” “Microsoft Office,” and “libreoffice.”
The Desktop version of IE10 still allows you to pin websites to the Taskbar or the Desktop, just like you could in IE9.
To pin a site from Internet Explorer for the desktop, drag the tab from the browser to the taskbar.
Sites pinned to the Taskbar provide jump lists with additional options, just like programs pinned to the Taskbar.
Sites pinned to the Taskbar also display thumbnails.
NOTE: You can pin any site from the Desktop version or the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, but not all sites offer the additional features available on jump lists.
You can also pin websites to the Modern UI/Metro Start screen.
To pin a site currently open in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, press F4 or Alt + D, or right-click on the screen, to open the Navigation bar. Click the thumbtack button to the right of the Address bar and select Pin to Start from the popup menu.
A dialog box displays allowing you to change the name that displays on the tile for the pinned site, if desired. Enter a new name in the edit box, if you want to change the name, and click Pin to Start.
The tile for the pinned site is added to the far left of the tiles on the Modern UI/Metro Start screen. You can move the tile to another location on the Start screen or even add it to a group of tiles.
When you open a site you pinned to the Modern UI/Metro Start screen, through the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, you may have access to options on a jump list, if the website utilizes jump lists. The Pin to Start button on the Navigation bar is replaced by a new jump list menu button. Click that button to see whatever jump list provided by the pinned site.
A site pinned to the Taskbar from the Desktop version of IE10 still opens in a separate window, just like in IE9 and Windows 7. However, when you open a site pinned to the Modern UI/Metro Start screen, and the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 is already running, it opens the pinned site as a new tab in the currently running Modern UI/Metro version of IE10.
There are a couple of ways to unpin a site. One way is to right-click on the tile on the Modern UI/Metro Start screen and then click the Unpin from Start button on the bottom bar.
Another method is to activate the Address box on the Navigation bar (press Alt + D), right-click the site in the Pinned list, and select Remove from the popup menu.
Then click the purple Unpin from Start button on the popup dialog box.
Favorites, Frequent Sites, and History
Your favorites, frequent sites, and browsing history are shared between both versions of IE10. The favorites (pinned sites) and frequent sites in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 are accessed from the Quick Site Access panel, which displays when you set focus to the address bar (press Alt + D).
Favorites in the Desktop version of IE10 are displayed in the Favorites Center, accessed by clicking on the star icon in the upper, right corner of the IE10 window, or by pressing Alt + C. The Favorites tab displays by default when you use Alt + C to access the Favorites, Feeds, and History center.
Frequent sites in the Desktop version of IE10 are displayed on the New Tab page.
Your browsing history is not displayed in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, but it is used to keep track of your frequent sites. Your browsing history in the Desktop version of IE10 is available in the History center, also accessed by clicking on the star icon in the upper, right corner of the IE10 window, or by pressing Alt + C and then clicking the History tab.
The Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 does not support add-ons. To take advantage of the additional functionality of add-ons, use the Desktop version of IE10. To manage your add-ons in the Desktop version of IE10, click the gear button in the upper, right corner of the IE10 window and select Manage add-ons from the drop-down menu.
The Manage Add-ons dialog box displays. Click the type of add-on from the Add-on Types list on the left and select the add-on to enable, disable, or remove in the list on the right.
Links in the lower left of the dialog provide access to additional add-ons of the type selected, as well as more information about that type of add-on.
NOTE: If you don’t want Flash running in IE10, see our article about locking down IE10 by disabling Flash.
Enhanced Protected Mode
Protected Mode in IE was added back in IE7 for Windows Vista. It helps prevent attackers from installing software or modifying system settings if they manage to run unauthorized code in your system. Parts of your system that IE doesn’t need to use is locked down. Protected Mode is based on the “principle of least privilege.”
Enhanced Protected Mode takes the Protected Mode concept further by restricting additional capabilities. See MSDN’s IEBlog for more information.
NOTE: Some add-ons in the Desktop version of IE10 may not work when EPM is turned on and will be automatically disabled.
The Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 runs with Enhanced Protected Mode enabled by default. Because plug-ins don’t run in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, compatibility is generally not an issue. Enhanced Protected Mode is disabled by default in the Desktop version of IE10.
Enhanced Protected Mode is one of the new IE10 security features. Other new features are HTML5 Sandbox and Enhanced Memory Protections. Security features introduced in earlier versions of IE, such as SmartScreen Protection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Filter, and Domain Highlighting are also available in both versions of IE10.
Manage your security settings on the Advanced tab on the Internet Options dialog box, pictured above.
NOTE: How-To Geek has previously shown you how to turn off or disable the SmartScreen Filter in Windows 8.
Session cookies are shared between the two versions of IE10. Persistent cookies are only shared between the two versions when the Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM) setting is the same for both versions. By default, the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 has EPM turned on and the Desktop version of IE10 has EPM turned off. If you want the persistent cookies, such as site login information, to be available in both versions of IE10, turn on the EPM setting as discussed in the previous section.
For more information about browser cookies, see our article.
Cookies can be deleted by opening the Internet Options dialog box, as mentioned earlier in this article. Click the Delete button in the Browsing history section of the General tab.
The Delete Browsing History dialog box displays. To delete all your cookies, select the Cookies and website data check box so there is a check mark in the box. You can also use this dialog box to delete your browsing history and download history, as well as other information IE10 stores.
When you visit a site, you are not necessarily only visiting that site. Some of the content, images, ads, and analytics on that site are provided by outside or third-party sites. This content may be useful, but these sites can also use this content to track your behavior as you surf the web. Tracking Protection allows you to control which sites have access to your information about your browsing activity.
Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) are like “Do Not Call” lists for third-party content on a site. Any sites listed in a Tracking Protection List will be blocked from gathering information about your browsing activity, unless you visit the site directly by clicking on a link or typing its web address.
Tracking Protection is turned on by default for both versions of IE10. Each time you open either version of IE10 and start a new browsing session, the Tracking Protection stays on until you decide to turn it off. Manage Tracking Protection by clicking the gear button in the upper, right corner of the IE10 (Desktop version) window. Select Safety | Tracking Protection from the drop-down menu.
To enable or disable a TPL, click Tracking Protection under Add-on Types and then click on the name of the desired list on the right. Click Enable or Disable as needed.
You can download premade Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs). To do so, make sure no list is selected in the list on the right by clicking anywhere off the list. The Get a Tracking Protection List online link displays in the bottom half of the dialog box. Click that link.
The Internet Explorer Gallery opens in IE10, displaying a list of websites offering premade TPLs. Click the Add button next to a site/list name to add the list to IE10.
NOTE: If the Add button doesn’t work (your Security permissions may not allow it), select and copy the URL displayed below the list name, open a new tab, paste the URL into the address bar, and press Enter.
As an example, we chose to download the Abine Standard TPL. Click the link or button on the webpage that allows you to Get the list.
NOTE: The site may say the list is for IE9, but it will work in IE10, as well.
The Add a Tracking Protection List dialog box displays, making sure you want to add the list to IE10. Click Add List.
The list is added to the Tracking Protection list on the Manage Add-ons dialog box. To view the contents of the list, select the list name and click the More information link in the bottom half of the dialog box.
The More Information dialog box displays the contents of the TPL. Click Close to go back to the Manage Add-ons dialog box.
When you visit a site that contains content that Tracking Protection is filtering, a blue Do Not Track icon displays in the address bar. Click the icon to turn off Tracking Protection or that site only.
For more information, and to download Tracking Protection lists, see Tracking Protection.
InPrivate Browsing prevents your browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and user names and passwords from being retained by the browser.
InPrivate Browsing is available in both versions of IE10. In the Desktop version of IE10, click the gear button in the upper, right corner of the IE window and select Safety | InPrivate Browsing from the drop-down menu (or press Ctrl + Shift + P).
NOTE: You can also start an InPrivate Browsing session from the New Tab page.
A new browser window opens. Any information about webpages you visit or searches you perform will not be preserved when surfing the web in this window.
In the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, you can open a New InPrivate tab by selecting the option from the … button on the Tab Switcher bar (discussed earlier in this article). Access the Tab Switcher bar by pressing Windows key + Z, or by right-clicking on the current web page (not on a link).
NOTE: Because the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 does not support more than one browser window, you can only use InPrivate Browsing on a new tab.
A new tab displays with a message that InPrivate is turned on and the bottom Navigation bar opens displaying the Pinned and Frequent sites and activating the Address bar.
To close an InPrivate Browsing tab, open the Tab Switcher and click the InPrivate Browsing tab you want to close. The InPrivate Browsing tabs are indicated with a blue InPrivate box.
NOTE: In the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, all InPrivate Browsing tabs must be closed in order to end your InPrivate session.
F12 Developer Tools
The F12 Developer Tools can be used to inspect page structure, improve design, debug scripts, optimize page and network performance, clear the browser cache and cookies, and much more. This feature is only available while browsing a website in the Desktop version of IE10. If you’re on a webpage in the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10 and you want to debug a website, for example, you can switch to the Desktop version by clicking the Page tools button on the Navigation bar and selecting View on the desktop from the popup menu (discussed in the Browser Launch Settings section earlier).
In addition to pressing F12 to access the Developer Tools, you can also click the gear button in the upper, right corner of the IE10 window and select F12 developer tools from the drop-down menu.
The Developer Tools panel opens at the bottom of the IE10 window. Use the menus to select your desired task.
NOTE: We discussed earlier how to delete all the cookies in IE10. The Cache menu in the F12 Developer Tools allows you to clear cookies only the cookies from the current session or clear cookies for the current domain. You can also clear the browser cache for all sites visited or only for the current domain.
For more information about the F12 Developer Tools, see Internet Explorer 9 Developer Tools Deep Dive — Part 1: Introduction.
Disable Modern UI/Metro Version of IE10
If you’ve decided that you don’t like the Modern UI/Metro version of IE10, you can disable it. To do so, press Windows key + W to open the Settings search and type “internet” (without the quotes). Click Internet Options in the list of results on the left.
The Internet Properties dialog box displays. Select the Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop check box so there is a check mark in the box.
NOTE: This dialog box is the same as the Internet Options dialog box.
Select Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop from the Choose how you open links drop-down list.
Click OK to accept your changes and close the dialog box. All links outside of IE10 and pinned sites on the Taskbar and on the Modern UI/Metro Start screen will now open in the Desktop version of IE10.
If you decide, even after learning all these tips and tricks, that you really don’t like IE10 and don’t want it wasting space on your hard drive, you can uninstall it from Windows 8. Give it a chance, though. You may grow to like it.