Earlier this week, I was in a meeting and switched to desktop mode Internet Explorer on my Surface. I do this sometimes, if I want to be logged into two different Gmail accounts, I open one in Modern mode and one in Desktop mode. To my great surprise, I could not get to any websites in Desktop mode. All that would load was the homepage.
OK, that’s odd – I thought, but quickly got distracted by something else and forgot about it.
It wasn’t until the next day that I took a look at the problem and it turned out that I could not go to any websites directly. But if I set Google as my homepage, I could search and get to websites that way. So, clearly there was something weird going on with Internet Explorer in Desktop mode; in Metro mode everything worked fine.
Below are the steps I took to fix the problem but the same steps should work to resolve most weird IE problems on your Surface. I recommend that you try these in the same order:
1. Reboot your computer. This one should be obvious but I can’t tell you how often I have to tell people to do this and it does in fact work most of the time. It did not work for me.
2. Log in to your Surface as another user and see if the problem still exists. If it does, then the problem is Surface-wide and you may need to try one of the fixes that Tim outlined in his post on Fixes for Issues with Your Surface Tablets. In my case, the problem went away when I logged in with another account.
3. Delete Cache, temp files and history. If the weirdness goes away in step 2, then the problem is clearly related to your account profile. Log back in as yourself and try the steps in our post on Clearing Browser History – this still did not fix my problem.
4. Delete any weird add-ons. You can check for any weird add-ons under Settings \ Manage add-ons. But if you have a Surface 2, you should not have anything odd installed because you are only able to install from the Windows Apps Store. So, this was of no help for me.
5. Reset Internet Explorer to defaults. Note that you will lose your homepage settings with this option but not your bookmarks. This finally fixed my weird Internet Explorer Problems.
Here is what you do:
- Go to Desktop and open Internet Explorer
- Under Settings (gear icon in top right), choose Internet Options
- Click on Advanced tab
- Click Reset button at the bottom
6. Recreate your profile. If you are still having problems after resetting Internet Explorer, you may need to do this. There are other more advanced things you can also try but most of them cannot be done without hacking the registry. So, your only viable option may be to simply create a new user profile and copy your settings into it. I’ll describe how to do this in another post.
I hope you find this helpful. As always, please share with us any other fixes you found that worked on weird problems with Internet Explorer on your Surface. We appreciate it, as do your fellow readers of this blog.
You may also like our other Tips and Tricks.
Joanna is a former IT Director for a major public university, who gave up a high paying career to blog full time. She is proud to be a professional geek. Joanna loves all things technology and Surface tablets are her passion. She and Tim created LoveMySurface.net to help others be more productive using these awesome tablets.