Microsoft Edge is the default browser in Windows 10. If your users previously worked with Internet Explorer, you have to take a few things into account before you can move them to Edge.
Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

Edge vs. Internet Explorer ^

Of course, the first thing to do is decide whether you want to move from Internet Explorer to Edge in your network. Internet Explorer is still available in Windows 10, and perhaps you don’t want to force your users to learn how to use a new operating system and a new browser at the same time.

However, because Edge is the default browser in Windows 10, you will have to jump through a few extra hoops to get rid of Microsoft’s new Spartan web browser. I will cover this topic in a follow-up post.

You could also use this opportunity to move to another third-party browser such as Chrome or Firefox. Even though I don’t like to work with Internet Explorer myself (my favorite browser is now Safari), I don’t recommend replacing it with a third-party browser.

The costs associated with such a move usually don’t justify the benefits. You will always have to support Microsoft’s web browsers because they are part of the operating system, which essentially means that you would have to manage an additional application in your network if you deploy a third-party browser. Most users have very simple needs when it comes to browsing the web, and Internet Explorer or Edge is just fine for this purpose.

However, because the future of corporate Windows computers now belongs to Edge, it makes a lot of sense to move your users to the new default browser in Windows 10. An advantage of Edge over third-party browsers is that it uses the same password management system as Internet Explorer. If Internet Explorer was previously the default browser in your network, and your users stored credentials in the browser, those credentials should still work in Edge.

Importing Internet Explorer favorites to Edge ^

Favorites are a problem because Edge stores them at a different location than Internet Explorer does. However, users can easily import their Internet Explorer favorites to Edge. When they start the new browser the first time, Edge displays a welcome page with a huge link to a page that explains how to import favorites.

The Edge welcome page

The Edge welcome page

Users will learn that the Favorites bar in Edge contains a link that allows them to import favorites from Internet Explorer or Chrome. Even though the link on the welcome page can hardly be missed, the majority of users will just ignore it. Because the welcome page won’t be displayed a second time when the user opens Edge again, many users will consult with your help desk to get their old bookmarks back.

Import favorites in Edge

Import favorites in Edge

Importing favorites with PowerShell ^

If you want to avoid this, you can automate this procedure for your users. Essentially, two steps are required. You have to copy the shortcuts from the Internet Explorer’s favorites folder to the new location in Edge, and you have to delete the FavOrder Registry key.

The Internet Explorer favorites are located in %USERPROFILE%\Favorites, and the Edge favorites can be found here:

 %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe\AC\MicrosoftEdge\User\Default\Favorites.

After you have copied the shortcuts, you have to delete this Registry key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppContainer\Storage\microsoft.microsoftedge_8wekyb3d8bbwe\MicrosoftEdge\FavOrder

You will have to restart Edge to make imported favorites appear. Favorites that already exist in Edge will not be removed by this procedure.

To automate the task in your network, you could run Jorgen Nilsson's and Petrus Andersson’s PowerShell script when the user signs in to Windows 10 the first time:

########################################
##
## Copy Favorites from Internet Explorer
## to MicrosoftEdge.
##
## 2015-08-05
##
## Jorgen Nilsson, Petrus Andersson
## http://ccmexec.com
## Version 1.1 excluded Recycle.bin
##
########################################

## Get IE favorit path
[STRING]$IEpath = $([Environment]::GetFolderPath("Favorites"))


## MicrosoftEdge favorit path
[STRING]$EdgePath = $($env:LOCALAPPDATA + "\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe\AC\MicrosoftEdge\User\Default\Favorites")

## Favorder Registry path
[string]$FavOrder = "HKCR:\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppContainer\Storage\microsoft.microsoftedge_8wekyb3d8bbwe\MicrosoftEdge\FavOrder"

## Verify if path exits
IF((Test-Path -Path $IEpath) -and (Test-Path -Path $EdgePath)) {

        ## Copy Favorit from IE to Edge
        Copy-Item -Path "$IEpath\*" -Destination $EdgePath -recurse -container -force -Exclude "`$RECYCLE.BIN" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

        ## Get HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
        New-PSDrive -Name HKCR -PSProvider Registry -Root HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

        ## verify if registry key FavOrder is valid
        IF(Test-Path -Path $FavOrder)
	        {
		        # Delete Registry Item FavOrder   
		        Remove-Item -Path $FavOrder -Recurse
	        }

        ## Remove PSdrive
        Remove-PSDrive -Name HKCR
    }

## Script End

I’ve tried the PowerShell script and it appears to work fine. If you know a little PowerShell, you won’t have difficulties in reading the script. It does essentially what I described in the previous section.

Managing Internet Explorer compatibility with Group Policy ^

In the past, moving to another browser or even to a new version of Internet Explorer caused admins headaches if internal web applications used proprietary IE code. In Edge, things get even more problematic because the browser doesn’t support ActiveX controls or VBScript.

To ease the transition to a new Internet Explorer version, Microsoft introduced the compatibility view in Internet Explorer.

Edge doesn’t have a compatibility view, but it allows users to open a page with Internet Explorer.

Open in Internet Explorer

Open in Internet Explorer

In addition, admins can then enable the Enterprise Mode feature in Internet Explorer via Group Policy (Let users turn on and use Enterprise Mode from the Tools menu in Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer), which adds a new menu point to the tools menu in Internet Explorer. (Press ALT to make the menu bar visible in Internet Explorer 11.)

With the help of a centrally stored XML file, you can determine the Internet Explorer mode (IE5–IE11 document mode, IE7–IE8 enterprise mode) that the browser uses for certain web pages. You can generate the XML file with Microsoft’s free Enterprise Mode Site List Manager.

Enterprise Mode Site List Manager

Enterprise Mode Site List Manager

Edge also offers this feature. The only difference is that users don’t get an Enterprise Mode switch in the browser. You can still work with Enterprise Mode Site List Manager to generate the XML file.

Enterprise Site List XML file

Enterprise Site List XML file

However, you have to use the new Group Policy setting Allows you to configure the Enterprise Site List, which you can find in Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Edge. The policy exists for computer and user configurations. Note that, if you want to configure the policy on a Windows Server 2012 computer, you will need the Windows 10 ADMX templates.

You can store the XML file on a web server or use a network share.

The Group Policy Allows you to configure the Enterprise Site List

The Group Policy “Allows you to configure the Enterprise Site List”

If you work with this policy, users don’t have to manually open legacy pages in Internet Explorer. When a user opens a URL in Edge that you configured with this policy, Internet Explorer will pop up and load the web page in the corresponding IE mode. Edge will stay open in the background.

If the problematic web application or web pages only exist in your intranet, you can also work with the Group Policy Sends all intranet traffic over to Internet Explorer in Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Edge (computer and user).

The Group Policy Sends all intranet traffic over to Internet Explorer

The Group Policy “Sends all intranet traffic over to Internet Explorer”

The interesting question here is what counts as intranet. As far as I know, Edge only identifies a URL as an intranet address if it consists of a common name such as http://internal and not as a full domain name such as http://internal.com.

If you are sure that compatibility is not an issue in your network, you might want to uninstall Internet Explorer on your Windows 10 machines.

Which browser are you running on the Windows 10 computers in your network?

2 Comments
  1. Andrew S 5 years ago

    To add: Send all intranet sites to Internet Explorer 11 doesn't work if the URL contains an IP address as well.  Must be a host name

  2. Rahul Jindal 5 years ago

    Import from IE isn't working for me. I can see the favorites showing up under the default edge location in %Userprofile%, but the same doesn't reflect on the edge browser. Tried restarting the browser as suggested, did a log off\log in and a reboot as well.

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