Internet Explorer 8 and what you need to be aware of regarding the Compatibility View sites list

I want to spend a few minutes discussing an issue I suspect may have some folks scratching their heads. So, what is the Compatibility View list and why do you care? You can read up on the feature in this blog .... Go ahead... I'll wait...

Ok, so when browsing the web with IE8, users who experience display issues or other problems may find their sites work after adding the site to the compatibility view list. After adding a site to the list however, the next time a user browses to the site they added, the site may no longer display in compatibility mode.

Why? The list is linked to the browsers history so if a user clears the browsers history, the compatibility view sites list is cleared and sites that were added no longer function as expected. Now, keep in mind, this list is generated by users and does not affect the list managed by Microsoft.

The history in IE is cleared for a number of reasons; most likely it will be cleared as a troubleshooting step. The sites added are sites visited and therefore a part of the browsing history. As part of the privacy promise in IE8, we want to be very up front about what data is stored by IE regarding user’s browsing, how that data is used by IE, and how to clear it. It follows then that the natural step to removing a list of web sites you’ve visited is via deleting the browsing history.

Additionally, by default IE8 will display sites in the most standards compliant way it can. Though it is important in the short term for users to have a mitigation option, i.e. compatibility view, to handle sites that haven’t yet updated to support IE8 Standards, it is more important in the long term to have clients be in IE8 mode all the time. To help facilitate this return to IE8 Standards Mode we offer several ways to “undo” the button press on the client – by pressing the Compatibility view button again, by editing the list manually via the Compatibility View Settings option under Tools, and by deleting browsing history.


  • User visits a site and has a compatibility failure and presses the clip_image003 button.

  • Site later updates to support IE8 and deprecates support of IE7 entirely

  • User calls help desk because they cannot use the site any longer

  • User deletes browsing history per a help desk troubleshooting step

  • User can now access site.

Well that's it for now.  I hope this information was useful. I’ll be back again soon to discuss other IE topics.

This post was brought to you by one of our IE Senior Escalation Engineers, Aurthur Anderson.


The IE Support Team

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