IE11 forces Google.com into compatibility mode; Microsoft provides comment, fix

Microsoft released IE11 alongside Windows 8.1 but it appears that Microsoft may have goofed by forcing Google.com into compatibility mode which can cause rendering issues with search results. The issues have been reproduced by several users, ourselves included, and as you can see in the image above, the results are heavily skewed.

It's an odd issue but there appears to be a simple fix. The folks over at Winbeta noted that if you hit alt+x (while in IE) and uncheck 'Use Microsoft compatibility lists', the rendering issue will be fixed. What's odd here is that many might assume that Google is intentionally screwing with IE results as Google and Microsoft tend to throw mud at each other quite often. But, in fact, this is Microsoft's own fault and fortunately, there is a simple work-around.

This issue comes at a time when millions are likely upgrading to Windows 8.1 (read our review here) and with IE11 bundled with the OS, the skewed results could offer a negative first impression for some users. What’s odd is that these issues never showed up in the Preview versions of Windows 8.1 but there is clearly something amiss with the release version of IE11. 

A quick search on Twitter shows that many users are currently experiencing the issue with the browser too, so this is certainly not an isolated issue. Hopefully Microsoft will push out a fix soon before more users encounter the issue to avoid widespread negative connotation against IE11 and Windows 8.1.

[Update] Microsoft has provided Neowin with the following comment about the issue:

 "It appears Google made some changes to its search engine that temporarily impacted the way search results rendered for some browsers. We have already made the necessary adjustments to ensure customers using Internet Explorer are not impacted."

Thanks to Steven Bink for the tip!

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I wish MS would block google.com for just a day or two. Let them feel the heat a little. It works fine for me but I just avoid google as much as possible anyway.

Well it was b0rked for me yesterday, had to use chrome if I wanted to use google (chrome still sucks in Windows 8), but today google is working fine.

geez I had this issue since using 8.1 rtm, the leaked copy, , feels like months ago now, guess they never bothered to fix it until official release to the masses

Well, whatever they have fixed, it certainly hasn't reached my IE11 yet. Google is still severly broken - but as others have noted, it only google.com that's affected.

Interesting flip of facts...

The article is based on...
"Not Google's fault, Microsoft Screwed up."

However, as confirmed by Microsoft and as reported other places..
"Google made changes to cause the render issues."

Exactly, MS would have based the IE11 rendering engine on the one used by IE10 so any problems with rendering are problems with the webpage not the browser.

My guess is that Google did this deliberately to try and screw up the Windows 8.1 launch!!

There is no surprise for IE to have problem.
In the past when I developed web pages, I encountered a nightmare with IE since different IE versions (even minor versions) or Windows patches can render pages differently with malfunction on some javascript.

ray_bk said,
There is no surprise for IE to have problem.
In the past when I developed web pages, I encountered a nightmare with IE since different IE versions (even minor versions) or Windows patches can render pages differently with malfunction on some javascript.

With IE5,6,7,8 you have a point. When dealing with IE9 (sort of maybe) and with IE10 and IE11, just write freaking HTML5/CSS3 standards and don't worry about it being IE or NOT and it works.

Mobius Enigma said,

With IE5,6,7,8 you have a point. When dealing with IE9 (sort of maybe) and with IE10 and IE11, just write freaking HTML5/CSS3 standards and don't worry about it being IE or NOT and it works.

Why would IE11 be the problem when the rendering engine is based on the one from IE10. Any rendering issues are the website itself not the browser!!

Man, why won't IE die already? Been working with this browser supporting as a developer since IE6 and it never stopped being a pain. already uninstalled it from my personal pc for more than a year now.

Yes, if you like a constant memory hog.

Chrome is the biggest browser POS I have used. Open task manager and see how many instances of Chrome are running for ONE tab, each process gobbling 15-30MB apiece.

IE 10 & 11 are both much faster and cleaner.

antonmelode said,
In this case, yes of course. firefox and chrome would be more than enough for the free market.

Yet neither of them adhere to standards any more!!

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