How to enable 64 bit IE10 for the desktop in Windows 8

This post is intended to clear up some confusion we have seen on the web as well as in our forums/tip box.

When Windows 8 is launched to the general public on October 26th, Microsoft will offer both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the OS. Both versions will also come with the "Modern" (previously Metro) user interface as well as the more traditional desktop UI. 

Microsoft will also allow Internet Explorer 10 to run in both user interfaces. However, a recent report on the NGOHQ.com website claimed that Microsoft would not allow the desktop version of IE 10 to run in 64-bit builds of Windows 8 and that only the "Modern" UI version of IE 10 could run with the 64-bit version.

We reached out to Microsoft for clarification and received this response from the company's Internet Explorer spokesperson:

On 64-bit Windows 8, the browser frame process (both “modern UI” and Desktop) runs 64-bit. However, for compatibility with plug-ins, IE 10 on the desktop runs 32-bit tabs by default.  If the user turns on “Enhanced Protected Mode” in Internet Options, Advanced; they will have 64-bit tabs by default for IE 10 on the Desktop.

So there you have it. If you have the 64-bit version of Windows 8 and want to run IE 10 in desktop mode, you will have to go through a couple of extra hoops in order to enable it.

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I better Windows 8 story is maybe the patch i seen at MDL forums
that some user made to allow the Win 7 explorer to be used instead
and as a bonus it disables the Metro tile features.
I bet that is gonna wind up really popular lol

edit:
It still has ribbon functionality in explorer though.
too bad i'd like to see that gone too

Tried it - Enhanced protected mode is not compatible with Adobe PDF plugin, Oracle Java plugin, Lastpass plugin, etc. etc.

Flash seems to be the only thing that understands this mode.

64-bit is a bit unusable anyway - who has a browser process that consumes more than 2GB of RAM?

CasualViking said,
Tried it - Enhanced protected mode is not compatible with Adobe PDF plugin, Oracle Java plugin, Lastpass plugin, etc. etc.

Flash seems to be the only thing that understands this mode.

64-bit is a bit unusable anyway - who has a browser process that consumes more than 2GB of RAM?


Usually for HTML display, 64bit would be a perfomance loss.
However, on Win7.. hell even in Vista with IE8, the 64bit version of IE felt considerably faster and smoother then its 32bit brother.

CasualViking said,
Tried it - Enhanced protected mode is not compatible with Adobe PDF plugin, Oracle Java plugin, Lastpass plugin, etc. etc.

Flash seems to be the only thing that understands this mode.

64-bit is a bit unusable anyway - who has a browser process that consumes more than 2GB of RAM?

Improved security is one perk - larger amount of memory meaning that ASLR is a lot more effective.

Besides the differences on 32-bit and 64-bit, I wonder if the 64-bit version of IE 10 has latest version of JavaScript interpreter (compiler?) built-in? Last time I read an article that IE 9 32-bit has latest version of JavaScript interpreter while 64-bit doesn't.

We reached out to Microsoft for clarification and received this response from the company's Internet Explorer spokesperson

you didn't really need to ask Microsoft about that, as the subject has been covered last march on several MSDN blog posts:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ieinte...-cookies-metro-desktop.aspx

Also note that it is not possible to enable 64 bit IE without enabling enhanced protected mode, which is a good thing for security, but a bad thing for compatibility with 64 bit plugins like Silverlight that are not compatible with the Enhanced Protected Mode sandbox. However, flash player IS compatible with 64bit and the enhanced protected mode.

So it is a good idea to enable Enhanced Protected Mode on desktop IE to make it as secure as IE/Metro.

link8506 said,

you didn't really need to ask Microsoft about that, as the subject has been covered last march on several MSDN blog posts:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ieinte...-cookies-metro-desktop.aspx

Also note that it is not possible to enable 64 bit IE without enabling enhanced protected mode, which is a good thing for security, but a bad thing for compatibility with 64 bit plugins like Silverlight that are not compatible with the Enhanced Protected Mode sandbox. However, flash player IS compatible with 64bit and the enhanced protected mode.

So it is a good idea to enable Enhanced Protected Mode on desktop IE to make it as secure as IE/Metro.

+1 Smartest kid in class today...

**Maybe Neowin's idea of journalism and 'reaching out to Microsoft' is going to their web site and figuring out how to do a search. If so, should we tell them that Bing also works when doing undercover 'investigative journalism'?


This is odd, I cannot get the "Modern" UI version to run on my 64-bit machine. Anytime I click on the IE box it kicks me to the desktop version.

Klethron said,
This is odd, I cannot get the "Modern" UI version to run on my 64-bit machine. Anytime I click on the IE box it kicks me to the desktop version.

Make ie as the default browser and it will get into the modern UI.

ttterminator said,

Make ie as the default browser and it will get into the modern UI.

Depending on IE's configuraiton that is not enough.

Open "Control Panel \ Internet Options | Programs"

Under "Choose how you open links."

Set to "Always in Internet Explorer"

Uncheck "Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop" if its checked.

Why is this so hard for Microsoft? Safari has been 64-bit for years now and it's able to run 32-bit plugins just fine.

.Neo said,
Why is this so hard for Microsoft? Safari has been 64-bit for years now and it's able to run 32-bit plugins just fine.

Good question. IE uses ActiveX for it's plugins. ActiveX is based on COM. COM is able (via IPC) to load 32bit DLLs into a 64bit Application (and I think it even works vice-versa [on a 64bit OS]). But for whatever reason they say that due to plugin incompatibilities one should not use the 64bit version....

.Neo said,
Why is this so hard for Microsoft? Safari has been 64-bit for years now and it's able to run 32-bit plugins just fine.

things like hardware acceleration (that safari still doesn't use as much as IE) are much more important than running the rendering engine in 64bits.

the performance benefit of 64bit in a web browser is pretty low.

Concerning the fact that IE64bit doesn't run 32 bits plugins, it's because of compatibility. BHO wouldn't work in separate process, and many activeX plugins (equivalent to safari's NPAPI plugins) may break.
Furthermore, wrapping plugins in a separate 32bit process may cause performance issues, especially with multimedia plugins.

At least on IE we can play flash videos without causing the CPU fan to run as maximum speed, unlike safari/osx.

.Neo said,
Why is this so hard for Microsoft? Safari has been 64-bit for years now and it's able to run 32-bit plugins just fine.

Probably for enterprise clients I guess?

Let's face it a massive amount of businesses still use IE6 / 7 because their internal sites / programs are incompatible with IE9. Making 64bit the default just adds one more layer of incompatibility.

To be honest, I haven't noticed a real reason for a 64bit browser. Sure you may get a tiny performance boost but its hardly noticeable and in some cases buggy. Chrome is still 32bit only on Windows (and on OSX too I think). Opera's 64bit is still very much a beta and not really all that good. Not too sure about FF since I stopped using it a long time ago but I highly doubt the 64bit one is massively better than the 32bit. One program that I firmly believe should be 64bit by default is WMP since there's no real reason to have a 32bit version.

Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who strongly believes MS should stop selling 32-bit Windows and move completely over to 64bit.

I just don't understand why Microsoft makes these things so hard. Apple managed to come up with Universal Binaries that can contain PPC and Intel code in both 32-bit and 64-bit: One package that runs on everything. Microsoft keeps dicking around with separate versions for just about everything: ARM, Intel, 32-bit, 64-bit, Metro, Desktop. It's confusing as hell.

.Neo said,
Why is this so hard for Microsoft? Safari has been 64-bit for years now and it's able to run 32-bit plugins just fine.

When Safari is run in 64 bit mode, plugins run in a separate process. When in 32 bit mode, plugins run inprocess. This has caused problems for Safari, according to TUAW there are a number of 32 bit plugins that do not work in 64 bit Safari because of missing features (no support for Input Managers, for example) but when run in 32 bit mode, those plugins work but the 32 bit version of Safari is not as stable.

When doing the remoting between 32 and 64 bit programs on Windows, which would be necessary if plugins were run out of proc, there are problems when thunking between 32 and 64 bits. An old holdover from GDI is that graphic handles cannot be passed between processes. Because all graphical based plugins would no longer work (since they are GDI based) this would not be possible. There are also performance issues with running out of proc on all platforms, not just Windows. Data needs to be passed back and forth using a RPC mechanism which has a lot of overhead. If you mix 32 and 64 bit apps, then this perf hit becomes more noticeable since you need to down or up cast from 32 to 64 bit data and pointer structures - which could also result in data loss. Suppose a 64 bit plugin tries to pass a 64 bit int to a 32 bit int in Safari, data is lost.

But mostly I assume that it is compatibility. Safari became 64 bit in 2009, and they have a much, much lower marketshare than IE. Apple has also had a spotty record in compatibility between versions. If Apple were to break a few plugins, it is up to the developer to fix their problems and Apple doesn't worry too much. IE has had plugins for years and a much larger marketshare, and are concerned with compatibility between version (look at how they remove a 15 year old feature, they are criticized, Apple no longer supports my 4 year old Mini, and it shouldn't be a big deal). If Microsoft were break a few plugins because of an architectural changes, many more people would be screaming because more people's code would be broken. It is easier to just leave the rendering engine as 32 bit and keep compatibility for everything.

.Neo said,
Why is this so hard for Microsoft? Safari has been 64-bit for years now and it's able to run 32-bit plugins just fine.

This is FALSE, sorry to burst your bubble.

Go search for people switching back to the 32bit version of Safari because 32bit plug-ins are NOT COMPATIBLE with the 64bit version. The only reason you 'might' think 32bit plug-ins run on Safari is because the 32bit and 64bit versions are bundled in one package.


A side note, since you are taking a shot at Windows, even though you were basing it on an ignorance of facts, let's talk about 64bit technology support...

Until OS X Mountain Lion shipped (this year), a significant portion of OS X still was running in 32bit mode, even when the kernel was flipped to 64bit mode.

Even with Mountain Lion defaulting to 64bit and 'breaking' support for older Macs that lack 64bit drivers, it still has a lot of core and upper layer 32bit code that 64bit processes like Safari are still depending on.

Today's OS X is reminiscent of OS/2 2.x that was called a 32bit OS, but was filled with 16bit drivers and code, except Apple has been fraudulently calling Macs 64bit desktop computers for years even when it couldn't run ANY 64bit code.

Even with the push to full 64bit with 64bit driver requirements, sadly OS X is still not technically a full or native 64bit OS, especially with regard to the 64bit CPU features their application frameworks expose.

So while you are boasting about Safari defaulting to 64bit and 'magically' doing something can't do, Apple still hasn't got OS X itself to be fully 64bit.

Unlike Windows, which was running as a hybrid 32bit/64bit OS nearly 20 years ago on Alpha, and was released as a full 64bit OS in 2001, and is very much a full 64bit OS with a lot of 64bit specific technology optimizations that OS X has yet to implement.

Apple has conned you...

.Neo said,
I just don't understand why Microsoft makes these things so hard. Apple managed to come up with Universal Binaries that can contain PPC and Intel code in both 32-bit and 64-bit: One package that runs on everything. Microsoft keeps dicking around with separate versions for just about everything: ARM, Intel, 32-bit, 64-bit, Metro, Desktop. It's confusing as hell.

Compatibility. There's a lot of legacy code and APIs simply because if Microsoft were to get rid of them it would break god knows how many programs.

Like take UAC for example. Before Vista programs coded for Windows were usually just coded to use APIs that were normally reserved for admin / system, even though they didn't need it. You had games claiming that you need to be an administrator for the game to run for the only reason that the devs were lazy. That's one of the reasons why UAC went haywire on Vista, all those programs kept trying to use restricted APIs and so UAC popups.

Hell even though 7 is so popular now you still have some compatibility issues with new programs. Look at league of legends, for one the installer won't let you install it to program files because its "write protected", and then when you launch the game it requires admin privileges. Programs don't need admin privileges to write to the folder they created in program files, but due to shoddy coding LoL requires it.

And businesses are even slower to upgrade to new technologies. Their reasoning is hey well our internal software suite works fine on XP and IE6, why should be spend money upgrading it so it works on 7 and IE9?

-Razorfold said,

Probably for enterprise clients I guess?

Let's face it a massive amount of businesses still use IE6 / 7 because their internal sites / programs are incompatible with IE9. Making 64bit the default just adds one more layer of incompatibility.

To be honest, I haven't noticed a real reason for a 64bit browser. Sure you may get a tiny performance boost but its hardly noticeable and in some cases buggy. Chrome is still 32bit only on Windows (and on OSX too I think). Opera's 64bit is still very much a beta and not really all that good. Not too sure about FF since I stopped using it a long time ago but I highly doubt the 64bit one is massively better than the 32bit. One program that I firmly believe should be 64bit by default is WMP since there's no real reason to have a 32bit version.

Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who strongly believes MS should stop selling 32-bit Windows and move completely over to 64bit.

The bugginess comes from the plug-in developers themselves not truly optimizing their existing x64 browser plug-ins (and how many ActiveX controls are x64?) - the Adobe Flash plug-in for Waterfox is, unfortunately, a prime example.

-Razorfold said,

Compatibility. There's a lot of legacy code and APIs simply because if Microsoft were to get rid of them it would break god knows how many programs.

Maybe it's time Microsoft took a more aggressive stance towards developers who refuse to update their software. Seems to be working for Apple.

.Neo said,

Maybe it's time Microsoft took a more aggressive stance towards developers who refuse to update their software. Seems to be working for Apple.

They'd end up losing a lot of their enterprise / business customers.

Not to mention look at how many people are still running XP. Some people (for better or for worse) just refuse to accept change or something new and just like the way things are.

Apple can make drastic changes and still survive because:

1. They're a hardware company, that's where most of their revenue and profits come from.
2. OS X doesn't have the userbase / enterprise customers that Microsoft does.

If MS dumped x86 and went completely x86-64 and removed a whole ton of legacy code all that would happen is people would stay on XP and 7 for a long time. And that would mean Microsoft would end up losing a ton of money.

.Neo said,
Why is this so hard for Microsoft? Safari has been 64-bit for years now and it's able to run 32-bit plugins just fine.

IE was the first browser to be 64bit?
Why want to run 32bit addons in a 64bit browser, partially defeats the purpose of running the browser in 64bit....

Ontopic, IE10 desktop runs 64bit? Theres no 32bit behind the application in taskmanager like with any other 32bit application.