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Microsoft tweaks IE11-Edge interoperability in Windows 10

Microsoft tweaks IE11-Edge interoperability in Windows 10

Will drop the pausing 'interstitial' page that now pops up when users switch between the two browsers

Microsoft yesterday said it will introduce changes in this summer's Windows 10 Anniversary Update to simplify switching from Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) to Edge, and back.

The changes will be aimed at enterprises, the only customer group Microsoft recommends running IE11 in the new operating system.

"We recognize that some enterprise customers have line-of-business applications built specifically for older web technologies, which require Internet Explorer 11," the company said in a Thursday post.

Previously, Microsoft included "Enterprise Mode" in Windows 10, a feature that lets an IT staff limit IE11's operation to specific legacy websites or web apps.

Starting with the Anniversary Update -- Microsoft's name for the one major upgrade it will deliver for 10 this year -- the "interstitial" page, one that pops up between running Edge and IE11 when Enterprise Mode kicks in, will vanish.

Currently, a switch from Edge to IE11 opens a page that states, "This website needs Internet Explorer 11" before IE11 fires up. With the Anniversary Update, the interstitial will no longer appear: IE11 will simply open atop Edge when the user steers to a site or app on the Enterprise Mode whitelist.

The same no-interstitial-page behavior will take place when a worker running IE11 types in an URL that is not on the list: Edge will open without a pause.

Microsoft will also introduce a new group policy for IE11 that will limit the browser's use to only those sites on the whitelist, barring users from running IE11 for the bulk of their browsing. "Enabling this setting automatically opens all sites that are not included in the Enterprise Mode Site List in Microsoft Edge," Microsoft said.

IE and Edge have a rapidly-shrinking share of the browser market, but the former will remain important to businesses with older apps and customized internal sites, which unless rewritten will require the older browser. Together, IE and Edge were run by 41.3% of the world's users in April, a new low that dropped Microsoft into second place behind Google's Chrome browser.

For all its emphasis on Edge, Microsoft has seen the new browser struggle to retain users.

Windows 10's Anniversary Update does not yet have a definitive launch date, but most expect it to ship this summer, perhaps on or near the July 29 one-year date of the OS's debut.

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