How to: Force IE to open in Desktop Mode on Windows 8

If you’ve used Windows 8 for any length of time, you’ve probably clicked on a link to open a website in an email or document and it’s opened in the “UI that was formerly known as Metro” version of IE.  It may not have rendered correctly – which you rectified by opening up the site in “Desktop Mode” of IE.



Joey shared this Tidbit of information recently as we were hosting The Edge Show.  It will force all links to open in Desktop Mode IE instead of “the modern interface browser”.

Open Desktop Internet Explorer.

Go to Internet Options

Click on Programs

Select “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop” for How you Open Links

That’s it!!! Solved a bunch of “compatibility issues” with various family members and support professionals I talk with.

I decided to go one step further and figure out if this was a policy setting that could be configured via Group Policy. Turns out – IT IS…. you can set this up in a GPO that affects Windows 8 systems today in your Group Policy Editor…


I hope this helps with your browsing pleasure on Windows 8.

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Just what I was after. I have been playing around with IE10 and the Metro app seems to cause functionality problems and errors with some e-commerce sites I tested it with.

    I will do a YouTube walkthrough of this on my YouTube channel if you don’t mind?

  • I do not know if it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your site. It appears like some of the text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.

    • I haven’t heard anything from anyone as of yet that there is a problem. Can you give me some more specifics as to the issue? Which posts and possibly a screenshot?


  • thanks a lot man! (actually i was looking to do the complete opposite coz strangely the IE 10 app always opened in desktop mode for me….)

  • I want to relaunch IE in Windows8 mode, but its opening in Desktop mode, so please give the steps to change it… 😮

    • @Santi, If you are using the GroupPolicy editor – you set the option to ENABLED and then the dropdown box should be changed from “Always in Internet Explorer in desktop mode” back to the default of “Let Internet Explorer decide”. If you are editing this from within Internet Explorer settings – just switch it back to “Let internet explorer decide”.

      It’s that simple – no steps required. 😉

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