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Warning: The retired, out-of-support Internet Explorer 11 desktop application has been permanently disabled through a Microsoft Edge update on certain versions of Windows 10. For more information, see Internet Explorer 11 desktop app retirement FAQ.


When users install Windows Internet Explorer 8, they have a choice about opting in to a list of sites that will be displayed in Compatibility View. Compatibility View helps make Web sites that are designed for older browsers look better in Internet Explorer 8.

Note Sites are listed on the Compatibility View list in response to feedback from other Internet Explorer 8 customers. Specifically, the feedback is based on the high-volume sites for which other users clicked the Compatibility View button. This list updates automatically and helps users who are not Web-savvy have a better experience with Web sites that are not yet Internet Explorer 8-ready.

To obtain the Compatibility View list, visit the following Microsoft Windows websites:

More Information

The sites on the list are based on objective criteria that are applied to telemetry data and to product support channels. For example, in addition to the top sites worldwide, we determine high-volume on a market-by-market basis. The top sites in one region of the world might be very low on the worldwide list of top sites. But the sites are important to include for those customers in that region.

We collect the following data from Internet Explorer 8 Beta users:

  • The top level domain of the Web site

  • Whether the users chose Compatibility View while they are visiting that site

For more information, see the Internet Explorer 8 Privacy Policy. We will regularly reassess whether to offer this list to users at all.

We reach out to those sites on the list to make sure that the site administrators know the experience that their Internet Explorer 8 visitors have by default and that the site administrators know what steps the sites can take to improve the experience. We also tell the site administrators that, in the meantime, we are adding their site to this Compatibility View list, and we provide instructions on how the site can opt out. If a domain notifies Microsoft that it is opting out, we remove the site from the list at the next scheduled list update.

Users can make a selection about the list during the first run experience of Internet Explorer and also in the Compatibility View Settings dialog box. By default, during the first run experience, neither the Express option nor the Custom option is selected, and the user must select one of these options. The Compatibility View Settings dialog box reflects the user's choice, and the user can turn on or turn off updates to the list at any time.

List updates are available as Windows Update packages, exactly like Internet Explorer security updates. The product includes a blank list. The list package is separate from the security updates, but the release of the list package update has the same schedule. Typically, the list is updated every two months. Our goal is to provide predictability by following a regular, known update release schedule.

New client installations receive the list during Internet Explorer setup. By default, a check box is preselected, and this selection controls the schedule for the download of updates. This schedule for download makes sure that Internet Explorer has the latest and greatest bits on first run. In Internet Explorer 8, this feature downloads and installs both the security updates and the Microsoft compatibility list update. After the installation, Internet Explorer clients receive updates to the list, based on the Windows Update settings on the client. The update package is classified as "Recommended" on Windows Vista and "Low Priority" on Windows XP. Users who cleared the Install updates check box during Internet Explorer setup receive the Microsoft list only through Windows Update. In either scenario, the updates are only made available when the "Install updates" feature is enabled. Again, the Install updates check box is in the first run dialog or in the Compatibility View Settings dialog box.

Enterprise customers who run Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and other management software can control the download and installation of these packages. Enterprise customers can also use Group Policy settings to provide their users an additional list of sites that should be displayed in Compatibility View. Additionally, other customers can control the download and installation of these packages by choosing to install only Internet Explorer updates that are marked as "Critical."

When the user browses to a Web site, and this list is active, Internet Explorer checks the list to determine whether the site should be shown in Compatibility View. If the list includes the site, Internet Explorer uses Compatibility View, as if the user had clicked the Compatibility View button. If the list does not include the site, Internet Explorer uses whatever setting the site indicates in its content. And, just as with Web sites on the user-populated Compatibility View list, the presence of a <META> tag / HTTP header takes precedence over the Compatibility View mode. For example, consider the following scenario:

  • A site is originally included on the Compatibility View list.

  • The site does great work and takes advantage of Internet Explorer 8 capabilities.

  • The site now wants Internet Explorer 8 to use the most standards-compliant mode.

In this scenario, the site can specify that it wants to use the most standards-compliant mode, and the site can override the Compatibility View list.

Also, the Compatibility View Settings dialog box shows only the entries in the user-populated list. To see the contents of the active list, users can browse to the following file from the Internet Explorer address bar:



For more information about the Compatibility View list, or to request that your site be removed from the current list, see the "Understanding the Compatibility View List" document. To do this, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

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