Internet Explorer Always Opens in Desktop Mode

Internet Explorer Always Opens in Desktop Mode

Has this happened to you? You are using your Surface as a tablet and you tap on Internet Explorer from the Start Menu but, instead of opening IE in Modern (Metro) mode, it takes you to the desktop version.

Now, the desktop version of Internet Explorer is a decent browser but it kind of sucks for touch. So, what happened and what can you do about it?

Internet Explorer Always Opens in Desktop Mode: What Caused This?

I don’t have any hard proof as to the cause but, anecdotally, it seems to happen if you install a different browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.) then set the default browser to the new browser then try to switch it back to Internet Explorer at some point.

For some reason, it defaults back to the desktop version when you do this.

Internet Explorer Always Opens in Desktop Mode: How Do I Fix It?

The first thing to try is to simply tell Internet Explorer to open in Modern mode. To do this, just do the following…

  • Attach a keyboard (or switch your on-screen keyboard layout to Querty)
  • Make sure Internet Explorer is the active window and hit the Alt key
  • Next, select File then Open in Immersive Browser

Internet Explorer Always Opens in Desktop Mode - Immersive Mode

This will cause Internet Explorer to re-open in Modern mode. Unfortunately, this might only fix the problem for this one session and next time you hit the Internet Explorer tile from your Start Screen, it may again open in desktop mode.

Fortunately, I came up with a way to (hopefully permanently) fix this problem; it results in the Start Screen tile opening the Modern version and the desktop shortcut opening the desktop version, as you would expect…

  • Make Sure you are logged in with administrator rights
  • Go to Control Panel then Programs
  • Select Turn Windows Features On or Off

  • Uncheck the Internet Explorer 11 box

  • When you uncheck the box, you’ll get a warning like the one below. Tap or click Yes to continue

  • Restart your Surface
  • Go back to Windows features
  • Recheck the Internet Explorer 11 box

  • Restart your Surface

After your Surface restarts, it should behave the way it should.

If you’ve been putting up with this annoying behavior, I hope this article solves your problem and makes you even happier with your Surface.


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