Microsoft will force opening some sites in Edge instead of Internet Explorer

Edge instead of Internet Explorer
Written by Emma Davis

Microsoft developers continue to phase out support for the Internet Explorer, whose market share has not exceeded 5% for a long time, in favour for the new Edge browser on the Chromium engine. For example, the company said that soon more than 1000 sites will be impossible to open in the Internet Explorer: they will be automatically redirected to the Edge browser.

The developers have implemented and are testing this feature for some Windows users since the release of Edge 84 this summer. But soon, with the release of Edge 87 scheduled for next month, Microsoft plans to enable forced IE-to-Edge redirection for all users.

The list of non-IE-compatible sites already has 1,156 names, and you can see it here. These sites include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, VK, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, ESPN, StackOverflow, Yahoo Mail and so on.

The new feature was implemented through the ie_to_edge_bho.dll file, which was added to the Edge installations last summer and is a Browser Helper Object (BHO), essentially a browser plugin. The file was installed in the following locations:

  • C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Edge\Application\[Version]\BHO\
  • C:\Program Files(x86)\Microsoft\Edge\Application\[Version]\BHO\

Although the BHO file is stored in the Edge folder, via a registry key, it is loaded inside IE every time the user launches IE. BHO keeps track of the sites that the user is trying to access, regardless of whether he follows the link or enters the UR in the address bar.

Edge instead of Internet Explorer
As a result, starting next month, IE users will not be able to load sites from the aforementioned list: sites will automatically open in a new Edge window. In turn, a special page will be opened inside IE, explaining why the site cannot be loaded using this browser. In the meantime, there is no need to know about it.

Edge instead of Internet Explorer
Enterprise customers will be able to independently decide if they need IE-to-Edge functionality using Group Policy. If desired, user can disable forced redirection to another browser, or at least control some aspects of this feature.

It is also emphasized that the innovation is available only on systems where Edge and IE are installed at the same time. Administrators who run very old machines with only IE on board do not need to worry about forced redirects.

As a reminder, Microsoft announced about new 0-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer and there is no patch for it yet.

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About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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