Why does Internet Explorer 10 open only in desktop and not in Metro version?


Microsoft Windows 8 comes with the latest version of Internet Explorer, i.e., IE10. In the Metro UI of Windows 8, you’ll notice the tile for Internet Explorer 10. However, many users find that when they tap or click the Internet Explorer tile, it opens only in the desktop, and moreover, this desktop version of Internet Explorer looks more like IE9 (though it is IE10). Why does it happen? Well, it happens if you’ve installed some other browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox on your computer and set such other browser as your default browser. When Internet Explorer is not set as the default browser, tapping or clicking on Internet Explorer 10 tile will open only the Desktop version of IE, instead of opening its Metro version in the immersive browser. To remedy this, you can again set Internet Explorer as your default browser which will ensure that it would not open in the desktop version by default.

It appears that Microsoft has designed the browser experience in this manner deliberately. For example, White papers for Windows Store apps (Windows) on the Microsoft website describes a White Paper which deals with the following issue:

“In Windows 8, the browser that the user sets as the default for handling web pages and associated protocols may be designed to access both the new experience as well as the traditional desktop experience. This type of browser is called a “New experience enabled desktop browser”.”

Thus, it is clear that when you set a browser as the default browser, only that browser will be able to make use of both the traditional desktop experience as well as the new experience (i.e., the Metro UI experience). Thus, if you’ve set another browser such as Google Chrome as the default browser, then Internet Explorer 10 can open only in the desktop mode version (which looks similar to IE9, even though it is actually IE10) and it cannot open in the Metro version.

When Internet Explorer is not the default browser, the IE tile will have a smaller “e” and the expression “Internet Explorer” will appear over it. On the other hand, if Internet Explorer is the default browser on your Windows 8 computer, then the IE tile will have a larger “e” and the expression “Internet Explorer” will appear under it; and, in this situation, Internet Explorer will open in the new immersive browser, i.e., in the Metro version.

How to set Internet Explorer 10 as the default browser?

So, the question is how to set the IE10 as the default browser on your Windows 8 computer, so that it opens in its Metro version or in the immersive browser? Well, here is how to do it:

(1) Open the Start screen in Windows 8. This is the opening screen itself. If you’re on some other page/screen, you can open the Start screen by pressing the Windows key.

(2) On the Start screen, simply start typing Default Programs (you don’t have to wait for any search box to start typing; the search box will appear automatically with the words typed by you appearing in it) and then select the Apps filter. See the following screenshot:

Type Default Programs and apply the Apps filter in Windows 8

(3) The search results will appear on (left side of) the screen. Tap or click Default Programs in these search results.

(4) Tap or click the Set your Default Programs from the next screen (see following screenshot):

Tap or click the Set your Default Programs - Windows 8

(5) Select Internet Explorer from the list that appears on the next screen.

(6) Choose Set this program as default, and then tap or click OK button. Therefore, close the Set Default Programs.

Now, Internet Explorer 10 will be set as your default browser. It can now be opened in the Metro version as well as in the desktop version.

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