If you haven’t noticed yet, Windows 8 has two versions of Internet Explorer. Basically, two different Internet Explorers: one is the Metro IE and the other is the desktop IE. I have explained in a previous post the differences between Metro and desktop IE and why I think it’s probably not a good idea. Two separate versions of IE will mostly just confuse users and make them switch to alternatives like Chrome.
Either way, in this article, I’m going to help you understand how you can take control of IE 10 so that if you decide to use it, you can actually understand what’s going on rather than becoming frustrated. Once you understand for my previous post the difference between the two versions of IE, you can now get into controlling how you want links to open in IE and in which version.
Opening Links in IE 10
By default, if you open a link in a desktop program in Windows 8, it will open in desktop IE 10 and if you open a link in a Metro app (Windows Store), it will open in the Metro version of IE. You can change this behavior if you like. Here’s how. First we need to go into IE settings, which you can do by going to the Start Screen and typing launch.
Then go ahead and click on Choose how you open links. This will bring you to the Programs tab in the Internet Options dialog for IE 10. You can also get here by opening the desktop version of IE, clicking on the gear icon and then going to Internet Options and clicking on the Programs tab.
Now you can choose how links are opened. You can either choose Let Internet Explorer decide, which is the default action that I explained above or you can choose Always in Internet Explorer (Metro) or Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop.
Depending on what you choose, all links opened from Metro apps or desktop apps can be opened in either the Metro version or the desktop version. Underneath that option, there is a check box named Open Internet Explorer Tiles on the Desktop.
Let me explain what this option does. Let’s say you pin a site to the Start Screen from the desktop version of IE:
Now let’s say you pin a site to the Start Screen from the Metro version of IE:
Now if you go to your Start Screen, you’ll see the two sites pinned, but they look slightly different.
If you click on the one you pinned from desktop IE, it will open in desktop IE. If you click on the one from Metro IE, then it’ll open in Metro IE. Simple enough. If you check that box, clicking on any tile will open it in the desktop version. I’m not sure why there is not option to open all pinned sites in Metro IE, but it doesn’t exist.
IE 10 as Default Browser
In addition, there is an extra twist in the whole thing. If IE 10 is not the default browser, you can’t even open the Metro version of IE anymore. I’m not sure what the point of that really is, but this is how Microsoft annoyingly programmed Windows 8. So if you change the default browser and then go to the launch settings, you’ll see that the option to choose how you open links in IE 10 is greyed out.
You can read my previous post on how to change the default browser in Windows 8 to and from IE 10. Overall, I think having two different browsers for browsing the web is silly and annoying. They should have just created one browser with two interfaces or something like that. Opening links is just the touch of the surface. If you read my post on Enhance Protected Mode in IE 10, you’ll really be wondering how Microsoft could possibly think this is easier than having one version of IE. What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Enjoy!