Why Microsoft has blocked hundreds of sites in Internet Explorer

Microsoft is "encouraging” users to abandon Microsoft’s legacy browser and adopt Edge instead.

Credit: Dreamstime

If Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser fails to open your favorite sites soon, there’s a reason: Microsoft will block those sites from opening in Internet Explorer, and will require them to be opened in Edge instead.

Although Microsoft has long tried to get rid of Internet Explorer for years for security’s sake, the ancient browser clings to 5 percent of the worldwide browser market. Preventing sites from opening within Explorer is a new way for Microsoft to “encourage” users to abandon Microsoft’s legacy browser and adopt Edge instead. The change, however, doesn’t actually mean that you have to stop using Internet Explorer; you just have to stop using the Internet Explorer browser. (We’ll explain.)

Microsoft described the changes in a support document, and indicated that the change in behavior will roll out in Edge version 87, scheduled to be released on or about November 19. If an IE user tries to access a blocked site after the update, they’ll see the warning below. There are a ton of sites that will be affected; you can simply click the link and search for your favorites. (Microsoft isn’t specifically saying how these changes will be made to Internet Explorer, or if the changes are being pushed to Edge.)

need edge dialog large Microsoft

Once the site is actually redirected, Microsoft will also show a small banner indicating what steps have been taken, with the notice that “some websites no longer work with Internet Explorer.” There’s also a link to a supplementary webpage that offers just a brief explanation, as well as a link to running Internet Explorer within the new Microsoft Edge. 

Microsoft need edge banner redirection Microsoft

At this point, you have two choices: Import your browsing data from Internet Explorer into Edge and begin using it as your default browser, or enable Internet Explorer Mode within Edge. (Even though Microsoft makes the claim that some websites won’t work with IE, Microsoft seems to be implying that IE Mode will, in fact, work.)

How to enable Internet Explorer Mode within Edge

IE Mode may not be a full replacement for Internet Explorer, but Microsoft makes it available specifically for businesses that run legacy websites that depend upon Explorer. IE Mode can be turned on via Edge’s settings.

In the address bar for Microsoft Edge, type edge://settings/defaultbrowser and click Enter. Slide the Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer toggle to on. You’ll need to restart your browser.

There’s one big gotcha here: To launch the site in IE Mode, you’ll first need to visit it within Edge, as you would any other site. Then you’ll need to click the three-dot menu in the upper right, navigate down to More Tools, then click Reload in Internet Explorer Mode.

The catch, of course, is that you’ve already loaded it within Edge, and the Edge UI...so why reload it in Internet Explorer? Microsoft hopes you’ll use this “why bother?” approach to ditch IE altogether. 

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Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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