Using IE 11? We Need a Patch!

If you’re running Internet Explorer 11, you may have noticed that your SharePoint environment isn’t responding in the way you have come to expect.  It turns out…wait a moment!  Didn’t we just write this a few months ago?

Last June we wrote an article entitled “Using IE10? You Need This Patch.”  In the article, we told how there are updates for .NET to provide compatibility for SharePoint with the IE10 browser.  It turns out that the browser definition file controlling how the environment interacted with the browser stopped at IE9.

As a result, SharePoint treated the IE10 browser as if it was IE6 and prevented SharePoint (along with CorasWorks v11) from operating in a modern manner.  There were a pair of hot fixes supplied updating .NET to account for newer browser types.  Once the .NET update was installed, SharePoint could supply to the browser the appropriate script files.

This worked well, until IE11 was released within Windows 8.1.  IE11 users are noticing that SharePoint is treating their browser like IE6 again.  For example, multiline text columns are missing their editing toolbar.  As before, the issue again is with SharePoint not recognizing this browser type.  Although the results are the same, the reason for this behavior is different.

With the IE11 release, Microsoft has changed the formatting of the browser’s user agent.  In short, the user agent is used by the web server to determine what type of browser it is working with.  Unfortunately, SharePoint (more specifically .NET 4) cannot understand the changed format of IE11’s user agent and treats the browser as if it was an old browser.  This blog entry has a partial listing of what users are seeing.

In the long run, the updating of the user agent format is a positive step.  In the short term, we appear to be waiting for Microsoft to issue another .NET patch to accommodate IE11.  To work around this limitation, enable compatibility mode for IE11.  Entering into compatibility mode is tougher than in the past, though.  This blog entry from Windows IT Pro explains how to enable it for IE11.

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