IE Enterprise Mode in a Nutshell

Note: This document is based on the March 2015 and April 2015 versions of Enterprise Mode.


  • Compatibility mode introduced in IE11 in 2014.
  • Has priority over Compatibility View List and X-UA-Compatible meta tag.
  • Controlled through GPO and/or registry.


  • Can be configured through the following keys - priority from top to bottom:
    1. HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
    2. HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
    3. HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
    4. HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
  • Higher priority wins.
  • Configuration files are not merged.


  • Add one of these two registry keys:
  • Enabling allows access to the menu option Tools --> Enterprise Mode.
  • Setting the value to a URL enables logging.


  • Can centrally log when users turn EM on or off manually and for which web sites.
  • Sample ASP logging site EmFeedback.aspx

    Response.AppendToLog("EMIEAutoFeedback:" + Request.Form["URL"] + "=" + Request.Form["EnterpriseMode"]);

  • Adding prefix "EMIEAutoFeedback" allows for easier sorting and filtering.
  • Sample output:

2014-04-16 09:20:12 ::1 POST /EmFeedback.aspx
50144 - ::1 Mozilla/5.0+(Windows+NT+6.3;+WOW64;+Trident/7.0;+rv:11.0)+like+Gecko - 200 0 0 60

  • Locate IIS log file here: %SystemDrive%\inetpub\logs\LogFiles\
  • Locate IIS Express log file here: %USERPROFILE%\Documents\IISExpress\Logs\

Site list


  • After modifying the site list, change the version number in the file.
  • Restart Internet Explorer and wait for 65 seconds.
  • Check this registry key: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode
  • It should contain a key called CurrentVersion with the same value as the version of the modified site list file.
  • This confirms that the file has been loaded and parsed correctly.

Document Mode (DocMode)

  • Like using X-UA-Compatible meta tag.
  • Overrides X-UA-Compatible meta tag.
  • EM7/8 offers higher fidelity emulation than DocMode 7/8. EM7 mode can be used to eliminate CV list.

Behavior of EM modes


  • Fallback to quirks if no DOCTYPE.
  • Sends UA-string for selected document mode.
  • Only "Default" and "Enterprise Mode" honor Compat View List and X-UA-Compatibility meta tag.
  • X-UA-Compatibility meta tag has priority over Compat View List.
  • Iframes inherit document mode (e.g. IE9, IE10, etc.) from parent, but can be in standard (edge) or quirks mode regardless of the parent itself being in either standard or quirks mode.
  • * F12 Developer Tools may display Edge or 10 document modes, respectively, even though the page is rendered in quirks mode.
  • EM7 mode is equivalent to EM8 mode + Compatibility View settings.


  • * F12 Developer Tools may display Edge or 10 document modes, respectively, even though the page is rendered in quirks mode.

Compatibility View List

Comments (13)

  1. Jason says:

    Some of our test users go between a local (test) version of the XML, and the Production version, which is enforced by GPO. The test script copies down the test XLM and sets the IEEM Policy keys in the HKLM (to the local path) and HKCU (to an old version number). Just recently we updated  the production version to version 9, and our test clients refuse to update to the latest XML and version. Their HKU key stays at the old version (7).  Is there another key that regulates when the client thinks it needs to update?

  2. Luis Cantero says:

    @Jason: No, there is no other reg. key. Use the Task Manager to make sure that all instances of iexplore.exe are gone, then start IE and wait for 65 sec as explained above. If the CurrentVersion still does not match, there might be an error in the XML file. On the download page for the List Manager you can download an .xsd schema file that you can use to validate the XML file. There are tools for this and you can also do it using Visual Studio (instructions on the internet). If the file is correct, pls. do not hesitate to contact our support.

  3. neopath_seitz says:

    What is the recommended solution if I want to have a local site list in addition to the site list given by GPO?

    I used to use local site list file.  Recently, our company started including a site list via GPO.  As a result, it appears my local site list is being ignored.

    From your article, it looks like this is expected behavior ("•Higher priority wins.", "•Configuration files are not merged.").

    So is there any workaround so that I don't have to keep manually selecting "Enterprise Mode" from the Tools menu for sites that are not included on the GPO site list?

  4. Mikhail Rodionov says:

    Just wondering: if I have site list configured and enabled what is the default mode for sites not included in the list?

  5. neopath_seitz says:

    My experience is that sites not included on the list come up with Enterprise Mode disabled.

  6. Eric Michaud says:

    I have read a number of blog posts and TechNet articles and still I am unable to find the answer to a question I have.  What does Internet Explorer do differently (or doesn't do differently) for a website that is configured in the Enterprise Mode Site List to launch in "IE 8 Enterprise Mode" as opposed to launching in "IE 8 Document Mode".

  7. D.Ecke says:

    Avoid the following when entering URLs as they break parsing:

    ◦Ports, e.g. localhost:8080

    ◦Protocols, e.g. http://, https://:


    ◦IP addresses

    ◦Ampersands (&) in query strings

    …so, how do you enter IP addresses and ports then?

  8. D. Ecke says:

    @neopath_seitz: there is no workaround. You need to request adding your sites to the global site list.

  9. neopath_seitz says:

    @D. Ecke:  Thank you!

  10. Ricky H says:

    @Eric Michaud – If the websites declares IE8 as a DOC TYPE (within header of html page) it will render as IE8 but if there is no DOCTYPE declared, it will fall back to IE5 (aka Quirks).  That is what the 'behavior of EM modes' table above tries to depict.

  11. Vitaly says:

    Could somebody describe strange behavior of IE in EM? i am using IE8 EM for intranet site main Link opens in ie8 em but if you go deeper sites switching to ie5 em (even if i put this full link in IE8 em mode).

    1. Luis Cantero says:

      @Vitaly: That will happen if the page does not have a DOCTYPE header, as explained in the table “Behavior of EM modes” above.

  12. Kat says:

    Thanks, this concisely describes a lot of missing info from the TechNet site.

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