As I noted here, IE11 will get an update soon that incorporates a new feature called, Enterprise Mode for IE (EMIE).

The basics are this: EMIE allows IT Pros to centrally manage web site compatibility lists to ensure older-coded web sites (IE8 compatible) work across the entire IE11 estate.

When the update for IE11 is made available, EMIE is turned off by default, so it will need to be turned on using a Group Policy that modifies the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode

The key accepts one of two Name values to turn Enterprise Mode on and off:

  • Enable
  • Disable

When the feature is enabled, end-users can force pages into Enterprise Mode when there are compatibility problems. There is also a Data value (REG_SZ) component to this entry. If the Data value is configured with a valid URL and port number, when end-users select pages for compatibility, the action is recorded at that URL. So, in effect, the entire end-user population can be used to crowd-source compatibility, allowing IT Pros to glean information and update the central list for everyone.

EMIE is managed through a central XML list or group of lists. Not yet available for download (I'll update this post when the download is live), a new Enterprise Mode Site List Manager tool will be offered that allows IT Pros to manage the lists where they'll permanently reside, preferably on a web-enabled server.

UPDATE: the tool is now live here:  Enterprise Mode Site List Manager

For Enterprise Mode to truly work, the lists must be maintained and the client-side must be aware where the managed lists exist.  This is done by setting another Group Policy that effects the following registry key:

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode

Name: SiteList

Type: REG_SZ

Data value: = {File or URL}

The Data value can be either an URL (web server location), or a file sitting on a server.