3 years ago i have posted about enabling Enterprise Mode in Microsoft browsers, when we were migrating to IE11 on my previous job. It helped a lot as we still needed to open a few sites with older IE version. There was also an option to make sites open in Edge instead (or if you open a site in Edge, to redirect to IE). To make it work you had to add a few registry entries and store an xml file with URLs and settings somewhere for browsers to read. Currently we are moving to Chromium Edge in our environment (as Legacy Edge soon will stop being supported) and we want to make it easier for our users to use this new browser enabling them to reach legacy systems and sites. There were a few changes and improvements in Enterpise Mode regarding Edge since my last post that i wanted to share.
During my recent tests i have found that it still works as it used before in IE11. But Edge now has different registry path and settings names. Probably because it is now possible to control Enterprise Mode via Intune (Microsoft Endpoint Manager). When you enable it for Edge there, it creates these registry keys, that you can also create manually or with a script or GPO.
You still need an xml file with URLs and settings. It is puzzling that they haven’t added an option to enter the list and options directly in Intune or GPO. But there is probably some technical reason behind that. They recommend to store this xml on a website (using https for security). For example on Azure Blob storage. But if you don’t have one, a simple network share should still work. Or you can store the file locally on the computer, so browsers can always reach it, and distribute new versions of this xml to machines using your software distribution system.
There is already a 12 version of Enterprise Mode Site List Manager tool. Which you don’t need and you can create and edit your site list xml file manually. But it is convenient to use it when just starting the list, when you change settings often while testing. And it also updates the version of xml file for you every time you save it. Otherwise you must remember to bump the version every time you edit that xml manually. The graphical tool also helps you see new features that are available. In new version of Edge (Chromium based) there is now a new IE Mode that lets it load a page inside the same tab using IE engine. So, no need to open a new IE window when accessing a legacy site from Edge browser. As shown in the screenshot above, it adds IE icon before the address bar, when page is loaded using this mode. Although there is an option to force such sites to open in a standalone IE window. And Allow redirect option will make a page open in desired browser/mode even if you are not naturally browsing to it or opening a link, but when it is loading because of some sort of redirect.
In Edge you can reach Enterprise and other compatibility settings by typing about:compat (or edge:compat) in the address bar. It still takes a minute or so for a browser to pick an updated version of xml file automatically. But now there is a “Force update” button that makes browser check for a new version of file and apply it immediately.
UPDATE 1: recently i have asked in MS Tech Community forums how often Edge checks for a new site list file (IE was only checking once after 65 seconds after browser start). Edge development team explained that Edge checks for a file immediately if there is no version cached yet. When some version of site list is cached, it will wait for 60 seconds before checking (i have noticed that when i started testing new registry path it read this file immediately, but not that fast when i was changing the file). Most importantly, differently than in IE case Edge will also check for a new file every 4 hours while running.
UPDATE 2: Microsoft actually added a way to manage site lists in M365 admin console.
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