Manage legacy web apps with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

Compatibility issues are one of the foremost reasons why enterprises don’t easily migrate to the latest OS. Apart from that, time and cost are the other two factors keeping the enterprises away from migrating legacy web apps to modern standards. Despite the fact that most of the desktop apps on older versions of Windows (Windows 8.1 and Windows 7) would run on Windows 10 without any issue, the Legacy web apps don’t run on the modern web browsers like Microsoft Edge.

Another thing to note is that rewriting the legacy web apps to modern standards is a totally time-consuming and expensive process. To make sure that these Legacy apps do not block the Windows customers as they adapt to the newer versions of Windows; Microsoft has decided that Windows 10 would include both Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge. This will ensure that there is a consistent and predictable level of compatibility with all the existing legacy applications.

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

Managing multiple browsers for large organizations with a considerable number of internal sites can become a difficult task. Microsoft has released a new web tool called the Enterprise Mode Site List Portal to help manage dual-browser experience. This web tool is specifically targeted towards larger organizations.

Edge is the future

Microsoft has made it very clear that Edge is the future, but what would happen to the Internet Explorer? The availability of Internet Explorer 11 in conjunction with Edge is to help the enterprises upgrade their web apps on their own schedule. However, Microsoft would continue to support Internet Explorer 11 until the life expectancy of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

Determine your dependency on legacy technologies

Knowing the exact number of internal sites and web apps in your company is possible, but again this is dependent on many factors. Also to add, as the organization grows, the number of web apps also grows proportionally making it difficult to control. Hence modernizing web apps becomes an inherent problem for many organization. To determine how dependent an organization is on the legacy technologies, they first need to identify all the sites that require testing and learn their optimal configuration. Microsoft listed some ways to do this:

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

  1. F12 developer tools

This is the most manual approach, with the F12 developer tools in Internet Explorer 11 emulate any site with diverse Document modes and Enterprise Modes. With the different options, you can determine the appropriate compatibility setting. This approach doesn’t require a lot of configuration but does need some training to understand the technology behind the process. F12 developer tools allow you to build a list of sites one-by-one along with the legacy technologies they require.

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

  1. Enterprise site discovery

Enterprise Site Discovery is a more automated approach, this one automatically collects inventory data on any set of designated computers. This tool captures data like URL, domain, document mode, browser state reason, and a number of visits any time a user browses the web, this information helps the organization to build a list of websites used by them and the same can also be scoped to particular domains and zones for privacy.

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

  1. Windows Upgrade analytics

This one is the most scalable solution, it is a free service which helps IT departments easily analyze their environment and upgrade to Windows 10. It does this through the Operations Management Suite. The organization can collect the same site discovery data as a part of this solution and this can also be scoped for privacy. This tool is one step further than the others, as it automatically analyses the raw inventory data and generates snapshot reports.

Configure your enterprise browsing environment

The Edge and IE11 work better together on Windows 10. After you determine your dependency on Legacy technologies there are several options from which you can choose to configure your enterprise browsing environment. Microsoft listed a few options in their blog post, choose the best one that suits your requirements.

  • Use Microsoft Edge as your primary browser
  • Use Microsoft Edge as your primary browser and use Enterprise Mode to open sites in IE11 that use IE proprietary technologies
  • Use Microsoft Edge as your primary browser and open all intranet sites in IE11
  • Use IE11 as your primary browser and use Enterprise Mode to open sites in Microsoft Edge that use modern web technologies
  • Use IE11 as your primary browser

Managing the dual-browser experience

Let’s see how Microsoft defines the experience of using the modern browser yet maintaining the compatibility with the older apps.

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

Enterprise mode site list

Enterprise Mode Site List is an XML document where the list of sites, their compact mode, and their intended browser can be specified. This schema allows you to automatically launch a page in a particular web browser. Microsoft has specified two tools to make this complex process easier.

  1. Enterprise mode site list manager

This tool is best for those who have a relatively small size list. It is one of the easiest ways to manage your Enterprise Mode Site List. It helps to create error-free XML documents, with simple n+1 versioning and URL verification. It has two versions:

  1. XML schema – For old
  2. XML schema – For new

Microsoft points out in the blog post that this tool is not suitable where the site list is large or where more than one user manages the site list.

  1. Enterprise Mode Site List Portal

Enterprise Mode Site List Portal is a new web tool released by Microsoft. This tool helps to manage dual-browser experience. This web tool is specifically targeted towards larger organizations. The Enterprise Mode Site List Portal helps-

  1. Manage site lists from any device supporting Windows 7 or greater
  2. Submit change requests
  3. Operate offline via an on-premise solution
  4. Provide role-based governance
  5. Test configuration settings before releasing to a live environment
  6. Have access to the same operations as the client tool, ideal for smaller lists

Unlike the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager this new tool allows managing the Enterprise Mode Site List, hosted by the app, with multiple users.

Microsoft illustrates a range of options that would help to manage legacy web apps in the enterprise efficiently. To learn more about managing web browsers in the enterprise visit

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Ankit Gupta is a writer by profession and has more than 7 years of global writing experience on technology and other areas. He follows technological developments and likes to write about Windows & IT security. He has a deep liking for wild life and has written a book on Top Tiger Parks of India.