Unicode in URL changes for IE11

I wrote a bit about Internet Explorer’s International Settings back in July of 2012. Internet Explorer 10 and 11 quietly brought some changes:


In IE10, the Use UTF-8 for mailto links option was removed.

In IE11, the misleadingly-named Send UTF-8 URLs option is renamed to correctly reflect its function (Send URL path as UTF-8) and it’s joined by two off-by-default options to Send UTF-8 query strings. We had considered adding these options in IE8 but ultimately decided that we didn’t have time and runway to introduce a potentially-breaking change to IE’s handling of non-ASCII query strings.

Unfortunately, as noted in this CONNECT bug, these new checkboxes don’t appear to work. Even when you tick both Send UTF-8 query strings boxes and restart IE, IE fails to update its behavior.

Consider the following URL:


On a US-English system, if you paste this URL into IE11’s address bar and hit enter, you can watch in Microsoft Network Monitor and see that the query string has been thunked down to ASCII with the three Unicode characters replaced by three question marks:


This problem only applies to the query string; Unicode characters in the path are still sent as %-encoded UTF-8.

In contrast, navigating via Chrome’s Address bar shows expected results:


-Eric Lawrence

Comments (6)
  1. Some discussion on how the querystring is encoded can be found here: stackoverflow.com/…/18220123

  2. Mikhail says:

    Thanks for the post. Will this bug be fixed in observed future?

  3. @Mikhail: As I don't work for Microsoft any longer, I can't answer that. I assume it will be fixed; follow the progress using the link to the Connect bug above.

  4. Kagami Sascha Rosylight says:

    I tried the link in the CONNECT bug and now I see the expected result, even without "Send UTF-8 query strings" option. It seems that this issue is half fixed.

  5. Kagami Sascha Rosylight says:

    Sorry, still being reproduced on my desktop. Hmm…

  6. Kevin London says:

    I can still reproduce this too. Hoping for a fix soon!

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