Internet Explorer 11 Compatibility View debacle

When IE11 was released for Windows 7, I jumped right on it, just to soon realize that IE did not work with many sites anymore. No worry, this happened with IE10, so I looked for the "torn page" icon in the address bar, so I could toggle between native and comp modes, but alas, the button wasn't there. I then added the sites using the Compatibility View Settings, and named sites started working again.

A little more googling, err, binging, revealed that this was a design decision by the IE team.

1. The assertion from the team is, that the compatibility toggle only shows up in the address bar if the page needs it. Therefore, if the icon does not show up, there is no problem with the page, and you don't need it. The extent of hubris of statement alone is astounding. Has anyone on that team browsed any site other than Microsoft's own? I can't begin to name the sites I had to add manually to Compatibility View Settings, all of which according to Microsoft should work just fine because, hey, the button didn't show up. Problems range from pages not loading at all (blank pages or mostly blank pages) to pages loading just fine, but unable to login. One example is, not some obscure backwards hobby page, but an international organization which uses Microsoft's own I can click on the login button until I'm blue in the face, but nothing happens until I manually add the page to the ever growing list of incompatible pages that according to Microsoft aren't.

2. Which brings me to the second issue, which is the volatile nature of the Compatibility View Settings: all added sites disappear as soon as you clean browsing history. That's right, after all, these sites couldn't have been incompatible anyway since the button didn't show up, so we'll just wipe them off the list as soon as you clear history. And of course, there is no more "display all sites in compatibility view" option, only for intranet sites.

So, no matter how much I like IE 11 (it appears to load faster, I like the revamped developer tools, etc. etc.), after only a couple of weeks, I'm ripping it out of my system. What a shame. Because of the arrogance of a few, this thing is going to die, which I believe is only a matter of time until users and website owners realize that the problem isn't with the site, but the browser. Unless of course the team swallows their pride and adds the toggle back in, allows per-site compatibility sittings to persist, and adds the "display all sites in compatibility view" option back in.

Bye-bye IE11, we barely knew you. Come back when you're grown up.

Having some fun with this post, but I'm really frustrated and annoyed.

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Thanks for the heads up on the Compatibility debacle.  This may explain many problems others are experiencing, mine included.  From what I've been able to surmise from reading forum complaints and answers: Internet Explorer 11 is the worst release Microsoft has produced to date; it is fraught with many problems, and many end users are sorely mad.

I'm getting blank pages when I try and load the pages from major sites (such as

I've been forced to install Google Chrome to be able to carry on browsing.

This is not good. Who needs Google when Microsoft seem perfectly capable of scroogling themselves?

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! so! it wasn't me. it wasn't my pc, it wasn't anything weird I did! I can't even begin to tell you how that knowledge has made me feel a lot better about all the broken-ness of IE11. I actually ended up getting to this discussion because I just put in a new hard drive and have had to install a lot of the basics. THE THING IS THIS: my windows UPDATER (and I use that term loosely now) keeps hitting on me to install IE11 as an "important update"! huh? how's that happen? since when is a new version of IE an "IMPORTANT UPDATE". I feel like they've gone about it in a bit of a sly sort of way because even though it claims to be an "IMPORTANT UPDATE" the box is actually not checked! ( hmmm, is this one of those "your silence gives consent" situations?)

I came looking because I WAS running IE 11 on my PC by what I like to call a "Microsoft accident". I was running IE10 and then one day (when all the problems started) I realized I had somehow had IE11 up and "running" (well, sort of running anyway) I can see by the way it's in my "IMPORTANT UPDATE"er, that this is how it got onto my pc in the first place (probability that the present is pretty much what happened in the recent past for this "IMPORTANT UPDATE"? = 98.99999%)

I'm being kind, I feel, by trying (he-he) to give them the benefit of the doubt that they DIDN'T "intentionally" (please say they wouldn't lol)  step on my rights by loading up the version of IE that they feel I should be running on my Win7 OS without my ACTUAL knowledge. It's possible that my trusting nature, (meaning: I trusted Microsoft to ONLY give me truly important updates that my pc NEEDS), saw that empty check box under that so important "important update", thought it was a glitch or "oops" of some sort, and proceeded to click on it to allow the "important update" to update. I can only say this as a reminder to all and sundry: READ BEFORE you hit that "install important updates" button. In any case... this time around I decided I would make sure I read and understand what things are being updated and to help Microsoft out by making SURE that I KNOW what's being put into my hard drive. I really didn't / don't WANT IE11 so decided to see what others have to say and I can safely say that I want it even less after doing this research. So here's my important question about this "important update": how can I get it off that list? how do I make the IE11 update downgraded to what it is, it's a RECOMMENDED update and NOT an important one. not in my opinion anyway, and since it's my pc, that should settle that yes? How do I get it off that list though? thanks for any help. I hope my experience helps someone.

We should not bother to re-write history since we have the power to write the future! Leowahine
Thank goodness for this discussion board.  I was starting to think it was my computer.  I cannot get IE 11 to load anything - it is just a dead space and will not load any web pages even the ones I put in the compatibility settings - Under internet options everything is greyed out other than compatibility settings - Now, after I first installed IE 11 everything worked fine - something happened and now it is unusable and I have switched to FireFox -

I love microsoft and have everything microsoft in desktops, laptops since the early days - this is very discouraging to have to resort to the Old Netscape platform -


Lynn M. Myrick
Grants Pass Oregon

Uninstalling worked like a charm. Hint: you have to "View installed updates", and Internet Explorer 11 is listed (all the way down in my case) as one of the updates  under "Microsoft Windows",

Good luck!

Once you have IE10 back, go to "Tools | About Internet Explorer" and uncheck "Install new versions automatically". That may have done you in the last time. You can also hide the IE11 (or any other) update from Windows Update.

Thank you!  I now understand why I keep getting the message that I need to update my browser when I have the newest browser; what a mess!

@ DivBy0:


Thanks a million. Saved me too! 

unable to login. One example is

I don't have an account there but just clicking the Login button shows that they are switching to Document mode: 7   Why would they need to do that?  The only option that you have then is Edge or 7.  Use the Developer Tools, Emulation tab to see this.  (F12, Ctrl-8)  Perhaps you could get better results by starting with a different User-Agent string?

I don't have an account there but just clicking the Login button shows that they are switching to Document mode: 7   Why would they need to do that?  The only option that you have then is Edge or 7.  Use the Developer Tools, Emulation tab to see this.  (F12, Ctrl-8)  Perhaps you could get better results by starting with a different User-Agent string?

Hi Robert,

Thanks for taking a closer look. As a developer, I agree that this is an interesting intellectual exercise, but not practical in day to day browsing, considering the sheer number of websites that are not working with IE11. As a user, I don't really care how a website is constructed when I simply want to view content (myself and others have observed that some sites simply don't load at all), or login an account. The point is, that these sites work in compatibility view as they should, and they work in all others browsers I have used (Firefox and Chrome) without having to jump through any hoops or tinkering under the hood.

The point is, that Microsoft has made an arrogant design decision: if IE does not think think there is a compatibility issue with the site, it won't display the Compatibility View "torn page" icon in the address bar because "it's not needed period". That of course doesn't explain why they still let you accomplish the same thing using a 4-step process (instead of the 1-step process in IE10), because it it's not needed it's not needed, right? But then cleaning browser history blows away the saved compatibility settings, so you have to start all over again. Anyway, I'm back to IE10 (my primary browser at work), and at home, I primarily use Firefox anyway, and never installed IE11.

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Last updated August 4, 2020 Views 20,602 Applies to:

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