If you’ve been using your Surface for any length of time, you’ve probably run into instances where web pages aren’t looking or working the way they should and you’ve probably been a little frustrated with Internet Explorer as a result.
Believe it or not, and despite some opinions you’ve probably read, it might not be Internet Explorer’s fault. Sometimes, the web page is really old or the developer was developing the site so it would look best with a different browser.
Microsoft is aware of this and actually maintains a list of incompatible sites that IE can download so that it can automatically pick the settings needed to display the site correctly.
So, if you keep running into sites that don’t work properly, here are some tricks and tips using IE Compatibility mode that might help you out.
Enable IE Compatibility Mode
- Open IE in the desktop (Sorry, you can’t do this in Metro).
- Press and hold the Address bar and then select Menu bar (or press the ALT key if you have a keyboard attached).
- Tap Menu Bar.
- Tap Tools then Compatibility View settings.
- Ensure the “Download updated compatibility list from Microsoft” box is checked.
That’s it, your computer will download the compatibility list from Microsoft but you may need to give it a few minutes and restart IE before it takes effect.
If it doesn’t fix a problem you’re seeing with a website, read on.
Add a Site to the IE Compatibility List
It’s possible that Microsoft hasn’t yet added the site you’re looking at to the list. In that case, you’ll have to add it manually. Fortunately, it’s very easy. Just follow the above steps to get back to the Compatibility View Settings screen.
- Once there, simply type the URL of the website in the “Add this website” field and tap Add.
- Repeat as necessary to add all the sites you need to.
- Check the “Display all websites in Compatibility View” box.
That’s it. Doing this won’t solve all of your web browsing problems but it will help with some. If a website is just poorly coded, hacked, or designed to specifically work with another browser (like Firefox) then it’s really the fault of the designer and there’s not much you can do to make it work better with IE (though if you have a Surface Pro you could always load a different browser).
You can get some more information about Compatibility View from Microsoft at this link: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg699485(v=vs.85).aspx
I hope this helps improve your browsing experience with your Surface and please let me know if you have questions.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.