Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


Browse the web with Internet Explorer 11

Surface comes with two versions of Internet Explorer that share the same browsing history and settings.


Whether you choose to browse with touch, or browse from the desktop, surfing has never been easier. Just connect to the Internet or use your phone’s Internet connection, open Internet Explorer, and start browsing the web.

Touch-friendly Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 11 is optimised for touch. Tiles and tabs are oversized for easy tapping and appear only when you need them.

Modern Internet Explorer 11 on Microsoft Surface

Set your default browser

To get the new touch-friendly browsing experience, set Internet Explorer as your default browser. If Internet Explorer isn't set as the default, only the Internet Explorer for the desktop will be available on Surface. Here's how to set your default browser:

Step 1:  From the Start screen, enter Default Programs.
Step 2:  In the search results, tap or click Default Programs.
Step 3:  Tap or click Set your Default Programs, then tap or click Internet Explorer.
Step 4:  Tap or click Set this program as default, then tap or click OK.

Browse the web

Step 1:  From the Start screen, tap or click Internet Explorer.
Step 2: 

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen (if you’re using a mouse, right-click) to open the address bar.
Tiles for your favourite sites and open tabs appear above the address bar (scroll to see all the tiles).

Step 3:  Enter a web address or search term in the Address bar, or tap or click a tab, pinned or favourite web site.
Tips
  • Swipe across the screen to return to sites you’ve visited during a browsing session, or tap or click the address bar to see sites you visit often.
  • You can switch quickly between favourites and tabs by tapping or clicking the Favourites button Favourite button or Tabs button Tab button in the app commands. Tap or click the down arrow next to Favourites to switch between displaying your favourite sites. Pick between All, the Favourite Bar, or Pinned to Start.
  • Use the Share charm to share web pages with friends. For more info, see Share photos, links and more.
  • To learn how to change your home page, see Change your home page.
Notes
  • If a website doesn't display quite the way you expect it to, try adding the site to your Compatibility View list.
  • To change your settings, from Internet Explorer swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, then tap Options. (If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings, then click Options.)
  • Some settings are only available from the desktop version of Internet Explorer. For more info, see the Internet Explorer for the desktop section below.

Using multiple browsing windows

You can also open multiple windows in Internet Explorer 11, and view two of them side-by-side. To open a new window, press and hold (or right-click) the Internet Explorer tile on the Start screen, then tap or click Open new window.

You can view two windows side-by-side on your screen. Open one window and drag down from the top edge to the right or left side of the screen. Then, drag the other window in from the left side of the screen.

Navigate with tabs

To open a new tab or switch between tabs, swipe up from the bottom of the screen (if you’re using a mouse, right-click). The Tabs bar appears above the address bar, showing you a sneak peek of open web pages.

  • Tap or click a browser window to switch to it.
  • Tap or click the New tab button New tab button to open a new browser tab. Then, enter a URL or search term, or select one of your frequent or favourite sites.
  • Tap or click the three dots ( … ) to open an InPrivate tab or reopen a tab you’ve recently closed.

Your web favourites

You can pin sites to your Start screen or add sites to your browser favourites. To pin a site to Start:

Step 1:  Swipe up from the bottom edge (or right-click) to bring up the app commands.
Step 2:  Tap or click the Favourites button Favourite button , tap or click the Pin site button Pin site button, then tap or click Pin to Start.

To add sites to your browser favourites:

Step 1:  Go to a website you want to add.
Step 2:  Swipe up from the bottom edge (or right-click) to bring up the app commands, then tap or click the Favourites button Favourite button to show the favourites bar
Step 3:  Tap or click Add to favourites Add to favourites button, then tap or click Add.
For more info about this, see Add to, view and organise favourites.

Your browser favourites and history can be synced across Windows RT and Windows 8 PCs if you use a Microsoft account. For more info about this, see Sync your settings.

Reading clutter-free web content

When you’re flicking through your favourite online content, look for the Reading view icon Reading view button in the address bar. Reading view clears away the clutter—like ads—so stories are front and centre. Tap or click the icon to open the page in reading view. When you want to get back to browsing, just tap or click the icon again.

You can customise the reading view, including font style and text size. For more information, see Getting started using Internet Explorer 11.

Internet Explorer for the desktop

You can surf the web from the desktop using Internet Explorer for the desktop.

To start the Internet Explorer desktop app:

Step 1:  From the Start screen, tap or click Desktop (or press Windows logo key windows logo + D). If you don’t see the Desktop tile on the Start screen, swipe up and tap or click Desktop in the Apps list.
Step 2:  Tap or click the Internet Explorer icon on the taskbar.
Note
If a website you're visiting doesn't look the way you expect it to, you can try using compatibility view. For more info about this, see Fix site display problems with Compatibility View .

Change browser settings

To change browser settings, tap the Settings icon in the upper-right corner of Internet Explorer (desktop version), then tap or click Internet options. (If you need help with a setting, tap or click the ? in the upper-right corner.)

For example, to turn off the Pop-up Blocker:

Step 1:  Open Internet Explorer for the desktop.
Step 2:  Tap or click the Settings icon Settings icon, then tap or click Internet options.
Step 3:  Tap or click the Privacy tab, then clear the Turn on Pop-up Blocker check box.

Browser history

To see your browsing history:

Step 1:  Open Internet Explorer for the desktop.
Step 2:  Tap or click the Favourites icon Favourite button, then tap or click the History tab.

Add-ons, Flash and other multimedia content

Internet Explorer 11 is designed to provide an add-on free experience, and will play HTML5 and many Adobe Flash Player videos without needing to install a separate add-on.

Add-ons

Surface RT and Surface 2: Add-ons are not supported by Internet Explorer.

Surface Pro: If you want to use a browser add-on or toolbar, you’ll need to use the desktop version of Internet Explorer. For more info about this, see Manage add-ons in Internet Explorer.

Adobe Flash compatibility

Adobe Flash is supported for many websites on Surface.

Surface Pro: If you can’t view Flash content with Internet Explorer, switch to the desktop version of Internet Explorer.

Java and Silverlight compatibility

Surface RT and Surface 2: Java and Silverlight plug-ins are not supported.

Surface Pro: You can install Java or the Silverlight add-on with Internet Explorer for the desktop.

Streaming audio in the background

If you want to stream audio from a website while using other apps, either of the following:

  • Use the desktop version of Internet Explorer.
  • or
  • Snap the touch-optimised version of Internet Explorer next to the app that you’re using. For more info about this, see Use more than one app at a time.
Note

Music that you play by using the Xbox Music app continues playing when you switch apps and when the screen turns off. For more info, see Play music on Surface.



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