Difference between Internet Explorer app and Desktop version in Windows 8

As we had mentioned earlier, there are two versions of Internet Explorer in Windows 8. One with the Metro UI app and the other, the Desktop version. It is the Metro version of IE 10 that is the default browser on Windows 8. You can however, of course change your default browser to IE 10 desktop version if you wish.

Internet Explorer 10 Metro is more suited for touch devices and is rather a stripped-down bare-bones version. It does not support add-ins or plug ins. IE 10 Metro is optimized to give a clean secure user experience on your touch devices.

If you are on the Windows 8 start screen, and you click on the IE tile, Internet Explorer 10 will open with the Metro UI. On this Metro version, you will find many features and functionalities, which you may be used to, missing! For instance, some of the add-ons or plugins just will not work. Java and Flash may not work too.

If you are on the Windows 8 desktop and click on the IE icon, the desktop version of Internet Explorer 10 will open.

Difference between IE app and Desktop versions

User Interface

Metro IE10 offers a bare-bones UI, optimized for fast browsing and touch devices and runs in the Enhanced Protected Mode, by default.

Desktop IE10 is what you have always been always familiar with!


Metro IE10 does not support plugins. While it may give you a faster browsing experience, you may miss the features and lose out on the functionalities of the plug-ins. The Internet Explorer 10 Metro experience is optimized for a clean and secure user experience and only supports plug-ins in Internet Explorer for the desktop.

Pinned sites

Internet Explorer 10 extends the site pinning capabilities of Windows Internet Explorer 9. In addition to the taskbar site pinning functionality of Internet Explorer for the desktop that uses jump lists and thumbnails, websites can also be pinned to the Start menu in the Metro style UI.

F12 Developer Tools

F12 developer tools is a desktop Internet Explorer 10 feature that is only accessible while browsing a website in Internet Explorer for the desktop. Internet Explorer 10 Metro UI will not offer it.

These are the basic differences between Internet Explorer 10 Metro version and Desktop version.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

One Comment

  1. Alan

    can not help thinking windows 8 my turn out be the biggest loss making operating system in Microsoft history

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