Metro / ModernUI Internet Explorer missing

Posted: July 29, 2014 in Solved, Windows8
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Have you noticed that the Metro / ModernUI Internet Explorer has gone missing or only starts the desktop version?

If you don’t like the “full-screen” Metro / Modern UI version of Internet Explorer, then this post is for you.

If you do like it, then this post is for you also.

I for one do like the ModernUI version of IE, both on the desktop and on my Surface. On the desktop I mostly use it when reading news sites and such, but it still serves a purpose for me.

Today I noticed it wasn’t working anymore. When I click the big ‘e’ icon on the Start Screen it would switch over and start the desktop version. I tried doing a search on my desktop for Internet Explorer, but still, only the desktop version would appear. Most peculiar.

After a bit of digging around I found the following option to “Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop” under the IE options Programs tab, but it was greyed out and I couldn’t change it. Most peculiar


So what’s going on here?

It turns out this happened after I had installed Google Chrome and set it as my default browser. when IE is no longer the default program for HTTP actions it disables the ModernUI version of IE and only opens in desktop mode.

You can check this setting by going into “Control Panel >  Programs > Default Programs > Set Default Programs > Internet Explorer > Choose Defaults for this program”


Changing the default for either HTTP or HTTPS will apply the same setting for both automatically.

If you want to “re-activate” the ModernUI version of IE, HTTP needs to be set back to use Internet Explorer as the default program.

Once set as the default, IE will now show the following options for when it will start in ModernUI or desktop mode. Setting the option for “tiles on the desktop” is where the magic happens. This is where you can change IE’s behaviour if you don’t like the ModernUI to always open on the desktop.


As an extra bonus note, the option above is defined in this registry key. Note however that changing this key has no effect if the option is greyed out in IE, so you can’t “override” the setting and have another browser as the default 😦

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\ApplicationTileImmersiveActivation

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