Windows 8 IE 10 – Desktop Version

Windows 8 Internet Explorer 10Windows 8 IE 10 Metro Version

There are two versions of IE 10 in Windows 8, the new Metro-style UI version, and the traditional ‘desktop’ browser.

The main purpose of this page is to explain how you can configure the IE 10 Metro tile so that you get the traditional Microsoft Internet Explorer, and not Microsoft’s new locked-down version.

Configuring IE 10 in Windows 8


Windows 8 IE 10 Metro – The Default

When you launch IE 10 from the Metro interface you get a special new version, which is very secure and protective, but hard to change.  That is the ‘problem’ I am going to solve.

Incidentally, I have not found a way to add an IE 10 tile to the Metro interface that mimics the desktop version of IE 10.

Windows 8 IE 10 Desktop – The Traditional ControlsWindows 8 IE 10 Desktop Version Configuration

If you are at the Metro UI, then click the desktop tile.  Now launch IE 10 from the taskbar (key point), what you get is the full traditional Internet Explorer, it looks like an upgrade from IE 9.

Now here is the trick for getting the Metro UI version to behave in the manner of a traditional IE browser. 

  • With the desktop version of IE 10 open, click on the familiar cog top-right.
  • Select: Internet options
  • Click: ‘Programs’ tab
  • Tick: ‘Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop’, see screenshot below.

Windows 8 Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop

Note 1: The key point is ‘Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop’.  (What you select under ‘Choose how you open links’ is not critical.)

View on the Desktop from IE 10 MetroWindows 8 IE 10 View on the Desktop

There is an alternative, – some say better – method of getting the configurable form of IE 10.  Let us assume that you have already launched Microsoft’s browser from the default Metro tile.  Right-click in the IE 10 interface, and you should see control icons at the bottom of the screen.  Select the Wrench, then ‘View on the Desktop’. (If no bar appears try WinKey +z)

The difference is that now you will see the traditional Internet Explorer and crucially, that cog at the top where you can make your internet options.

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IE 10 Design and Performance

Naturally, IE 10 supports HTML 5 standards and CSS3 features such as text shadow.  What pleases me most with viewing my own sites in IE 10 is that it renders the text more crisply especially at 150%; in particularly the Milonic JavaScript menus are clearer.  Others webmaster report that their animations are smoother because they now run at about 40 frames per second.

IE 10 also brings autocorrect; apparently spellchecking regularly makes the top 10 of wish lists for browsers.  In March 2012, this will only work if you have Windows 8, but it will work from Windows 7 when you upgrade its browser to IE 10.


Note 2: It’s frustrating if you don’t have IE 10 because autocorrect doesn’t work and nothing happens.

Note 3: As a web author, I was thwarted when I realized that IE 10 was not going to correct typos in my published text.  The spell checker only operates on stuff readers’ type in input boxes!

Tip: Control Your IE 10 Font Size
You can easily increase or decrease the font size; press Ctrl + (plus key) for larger sizes, or Ctrl – (minus key) to get more text per line.

Microsoft’s IE 10 Metro Design Philosophy

Microsoft has designed IE 10 Metro to not only be self-sufficient, but also to be devoid of plug-ins, which could sap battery life, or compromise security.  Indeed, I haven’t found a way of introducing my favourite add-ons to this Metro UI view of Microsoft’s browser.Microsoft's IE 10 Metro Design Philosophy

Microsoft describes IE 10 as ‘Fast and fluid’, and their developers have designed a browser for touch as well as mouse use.  I must admit, it’s not easy to remember that the address bar is at the bottom of the screen rather than at eye-line as in other browsers.

The Metro version of IE 10 places the emphasis on the websites themselves, Microsoft has removed all the tabs and Window management menus and buttons, and it’s rather like being fitted with blinkers to make you concentrate on the website information.

When you need the controls to navigate, then right-click with mouse and use the ‘+’ at the top, or one of the tools such as ‘Pin’ at the bottom.  You can see in the screenshot how IE displays frequently visited sites next to those that you have pinned to the Start screen.

If you want to print from the Metro UI, then try the old keyboard favourite: Ctrl +p.  Alternatively, call for the faithful ‘Charms’ with WinKey +c and click on ‘Devices’.

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Yet perhaps the killer reason why people use LEM is for its compliance capability, with a little help from you, it will ensure that your organization complies with industry standards such as CISP or FERPA.  LEM is a really smart application that can make correlations between data in different logs, then use its built-in logic to take corrective action, to restart services, or thwart potential security breaches – give LEM a whirl.

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IE 10 Metro – Pin to StartMicrosoft's IE 10 Pin to Start

Only in the Metro version of IE 10 can you ‘Pin to Start’.  I see this as an alternative to ‘Add to favorites’.  However, even I realize that you have to use this selectively else you will soon have a Metro screen with nothing but internet shortcuts.

How to Disable the Enhanced Security in Windows Server

To prevent malicious server attacks, browsers are discouraged on servers.  Yet there are situations when I find it useful to troubleshoot a server problem by consulting my favourite websites. See how to disable the Windows Server 2010 ESC.

More Windows 8 How To Articles

See more on the Windows 8 Metro UI »

Summary: How to Control the Desktop Version of IE 10

In Windows 8 there are two versions of the IE 10 browser; when you click on the IE tile on the start screen you get the default Metro browser.  However, if you prefer the traditional desktop version of Internet Explorer, then it’s possible to change the behaviour of the tile on the (Metro) start screen.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Config Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Windows 8 Metro-style UI  • Windows Application Monitor  • Free Config Generator

Windows 8 Performance Monitor  • Windows 8 Desktop  • Log Event Manager  • Windows Server 2012

Windows 8 Configuration  • Windows 8 Reliability Monitor  • Windows 8 Metro Tile  • Windows 8 Shutdown