Alexander’s Blog

April 10, 2014

How to Enable Enterprise Mode in Internet Explorer 11

by @ 8:05 am. Filed under Articles, Browsers, Tips & Tricks, Windows 7, Windows 8

For those of you who are running Web apps that were written for older versions of Internet Explorer (IE), such as IE 7 or IE 8, Microsoft has introduced a new “Enterprise Mode” in Windows 8.1 Update and Windows 7 devices. This mode is a compatibility mode that allows Web apps written for older versions of IE to run in IE 11. However, this mode is not enabled by default but you can enable this mode using the Group Policy as described later in this article.

Some new features in IE 11 don’t play well with the older apps. For example, even though IE 11 gets a significant performance gain by using the new tab switching feature, this feature can potentially cause some navigation errors on older third-party toolbars. Therefore, IE 11′s Enterprise Mode turns this feature off.

According to Microsoft, the Enterprise Mode includes the following features.

  1. Tool-based management for website lists. You can use the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager tool to add individual website domains and domain paths and to specify whether the site renders using a modified browser configuration that’s designed to avoid the common compatibility problems. You can download the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager tool from the Internet Explorer Download Center.
  2. Improved app and web site compatibility. Through improved emulation, Enterprise Mode lets many legacy apps run unmodified on Internet Explorer 11, supporting a number of site patterns that aren’t currently supported by Internet Explorer 11 doc-modes.
  3. Centralized control. You can specify the websites or apps to interpret using Enterprise Mode, through either an XML file on a website or stored locally. Domains and paths within those domains can be treated differently, allowing granular control. Additionally, you can use Group Policy to let users turn Enterprise Mode on or off from the Tools menu, and whether the Enterprise browser profile appears on the Emulation tab of the F12 developer tools.
  4. Integrated browsing. When Enterprise Mode is turned on, users can browse the web normally, while the mode changes automatically.
  5. Data gathering. You can configure Enterprise Mode to collect local override data, posting back to a named server. This lets you spread out the compatibility testing, by picking key users and gathering their findings to add to the central site list.

There is much more to Enterprise Mode. For example, you can add Web sites to your site list, edit the compatibility mode for specific Web sites, or export your site list so you can transfer your data and contents to someone else. Microsoft has the following useful resources documented in this article. I am posting the links here because Microsoft frequently changes the URLs to the pages on its Web site without any redirection, which means you may not be able to find these links because they will be broken, as I pointed out in my article Lack of Proper Redirection of URLs on Microsoft Sites.

Turn on Enterprise Mode and use a site list How to turn on Enterprise Mode, using a site list.
Turn off Enterprise Mode How to turn off Enterprise Mode.
Turn on local control and logging for Enterprise Mode How to let your employee’s turn on Enterprise Mode locally and use Enterprise Mode as part of the F12 Emulation tools.
Fix font rendering problems by turning off natural metrics How to turn off natural metrics.
Add sites to the Enterprise Mode site list using the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager How to add websites to your site list.
Add multiple sites to the Enterprise Mode site list using a file and Enterprise Mode Site List Manager How to add several websites to your site list at the same time, using a text or XML file and the tool.
Edit the Enterprise Mode site list using the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager How to edit the compatibility mode for specific websites.
Export your Enterprise Mode site list from the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager How to export your site list so you can transfer your data and contents to someone else.
Import your Enterprise Mode site list to the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager How to import your site list to replace a corrupted or out-of-date list.
Delete sites from your Enterprise Mode site list in the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager How to delete a website from your site list.
Remove all sites from your Enterprise Mode site list in the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager How to delete all of the websites in a site list.


Enabling Enterprise Mode Using Group Policy

You can either use Group Policy Management Console in Windows Server to enable Enterprise Mode or use the registry. Even if you don’t have a Windows Server, you can enable this feature on your Windows client computer using the local Group Policy, as described below.

  1. On Windows 8.1 left-click the Windows icon on the taskbar and select Run, type gpedit.msc and then press Enter. On earlier versions of Windows click Start, Run, type gpedit.msc and then press Enter. This starts the Local Group Policy Editor.
  2. Navigate to User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Internet Explorer.
  3. In the right hand pane locate Let users turn on and use Enterprise Mode from the Tools menu.
  4. Double-click the setting and select the Enabled radio button.
  5. In the Options area, type the location (URL) of your site list into the site list text box, e.g. “SiteList”=”http://localhost:8080/sites.xml”. For more information, check out the TechNet article Add sites to the Enterprise Mode site list using the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager. If you don’t type anything in the text box users will still be able to enable the Enterprise Mode, you just won’t get any reports (through post messages) about the Web sites for which users turn on Enterprise Mode using the Tools menu.
  6. Close the Local Group Policy Editor.
  7. At the command prompt type gpupdate /force to apply the Group Policy.
  8. Restart IE 11, or open a new IE 11 Window.
  9. On the main menu in IE 11 click Tools -> Enterprise Mode.
  10. To verify Enterprise Mode is enabled, you can go back to Tools -> Enterprise Mode. If there is a check box next to the Enterprise Mode option then the mode is enabled, otherwise it’s disabled.

Once the Enterprise Mode is available to users in IE 11, they can turn it on or off by simply going to the Tools -> Enterprise Mode and using it as a toggle switch.

Enabling the Enterprise Mode Using the Registry Editor

Another way to enable the Enterprise Mode is to use the registry editor. If you are not comfortable with modifying the registry, don’t use this method. Incorrectly modifying the registry can potentially be disastrous.

  1. From Start, Run type regedit.exe to start the registry editor.
  2. If you want only the current user to use Enterprise Mode, go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode registry key. If you want all the computer users to run Enterprise Mode, use the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\EnterpriseMode version of this registry key.
  3. Type the location for where you plan to store your Enterprise Mode site list file, e.g. “SiteList”=”http://localhost:8080/sites.xml”. As mentioned earlier, this step is optional and only applies if you want to get the reports. If you use this option, just make sure that all your managed devices have access to the location you enter, otherwise they won’t be able to access and use Enterprise Mode and your site list. For more information, check out the TechNet article Add sites to the Enterprise Mode site list using the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager.

Copyright ©2014 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.

October 12, 2013

How to Turn Off Hibernation on Windows Desktop Computers

by @ 8:43 am. Filed under Articles, Tips & Tricks, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista

The hibernation feature is normally used on Windows laptop computers but can also be used on Windows desktop computers, such as Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 clients or Windows Server 2008/2012, etc. The system creates a file in the root of drive C called hiberfil.sys. The size of the file is approximately equal to the amount of RAM in the system. When the computer uses the hibernation feature, it saves all the information that is in the computer memory into the hiberfil.sys file and then shuts down. When you power on the computer it uses the information in the hiberfil.sys file to start fairly quickly and all your applications are running exactly the way they were when you put your computer into hibernation. There are some advantages (mostly on laptops) and disadvantages of this feature but I won’t go into those details in this article.

If you are not using this feature, you should disable hibernation because it wastes a lot of disk space. For example, if you have 16GB of RAM in your computer, it will create approximately a 16GB hiberfil.sys file in the root of the drive where the operating system is installed (by default on drive C). I said approximately, because your mileage may vary. The size of the hiberfil.sys file is not always going to match with the amount of RAM on the newer operating systems, such as Windows 8. However, on Windows XP the size of hiberfil.sys file is very close to the amount of RAM.

For most users the hiberfil.sys file on the desktop computers is a junk file wasting disk space but you can’t delete the file unless you turn off hibernation. On Windows XP, you can simply turn it off on the Hibernate tab under the Power Options in Control Panel. However, even if you turn off hybrid sleep in the GUI on a Windows 8 computer, it doesn’t get rid of the hiberfil.sys file. You have to turn it off using the powercfg.exe command as described at the end of this article. The powercfg.exe command works on all Windows XP and later operating systems.

NOTE: Hiberfil.sys file is a system, hidden file. You need to display hidden files to view this file. On Windows 8/8.1 you can check the box for Hidden items on the View tab in Windows File Explorer.

Disabling Hibernation

  1. Start Command Prompt as Administrator and type the following command.
    powercfg.exe /hibernate off

Enabling Hibernation

  1. Start Command Prompt as Administrator and type the following command.
    powercfg.exe /hibernate on

When you turn of the hibernation, the hiberfil.sys file is immediately deleted from the hard drive. Turning it on will create the file.

Copyright ©2013 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.

May 1, 2013

Microsoft’s Billion Dollar Products

by @ 1:24 pm. Filed under Dev, Microsoft Office, News, Office 365, SharePoint, SQL Server, Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP

Microsoft has several products that are generating good revenue for their business. Mary Jo Foley recently published this article that has more details. Most of the heavy hitters are big names but SharePoint definitely stands out.

There are over dozens products in this select group that generate over a $1 billion a year in sales for Microsoft, including the following products listed in alphabetical order.

    1.  Azure
    2.  Developer Tools
    3.  Dynamics (ERP & CRM)
    4.  Office
    5.  Online display and search advertising.
    6.  SharePoint (crossed the $2 billion mark in 2012)
    7.  SQL Server
    8.  System Center
    9.  Unified Communications
    10. Windows
    11. Xbox

    SharePoint is supposedly the only product that have crossed the $2 billion mark. If I am not mistaken, SharePoint was also the first product to cross the $1 billion in sales. You can bet all the tea in China that Office365 will be added to this list shortly.

    For more information on this topic, check out Mary Jo Foley’s article. She also has some other interesting stuff in her article.

    March 3, 2013

    Unable to Turn on Network Discovery on Windows 7 or Windows 8?

    by @ 11:47 am. Filed under Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8

    Here’s a scenario that several people have run into, both on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Hopefully the following solution will help.


    On your Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer you go to Control -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change advanced sharing settings. You expand the private section by clicking on the down arrow. You check the box “Turn on network discovery” and then save the changes. You assume the changes are saved but if you go back to verify, the settings are reverted back and the network discovery is turned off.


    1. Ensure the following services are running and are configured to start automatically in the services Console (services.msc):

    2. If you are still having problems, repeat the above steps for SSDP Discovery and UPnP Device Host services to ensure they are running and configured to start automatically.

    You should now be able to turn on network discovery for your Private network. For security reasons, do not turn on network discovery for Public networks. After you save the changes, go back and verify that it stays turned on. There is no need to reboot your computer after you start the above services but in some cases you may have to turn your firewall on first, make the above changes and then start the firewall if necessary.

    November 11, 2012

    How to Find the Largest Files on Your Windows Computer

    by @ 12:16 pm. Filed under Articles, Scripting, SharePoint, SQL Server, Tips & Tricks, Tools/Utils, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows 7, Windows 8

    When working with Windows computers, especially Windows servers, I often run into situations where the hard drive is running out of disk space. In fact, I have often seen drives literally have no available space on a SharePoint or SQL server. There are too many reasons why a drive can run out of space, or continue to run out of space even if you keep freeing more disk space. In this article I won’t be going into the details of the reasons why drives run out of space but I can tell you that trace logs, SharePoint_Config_log.ldf file on SharePoint 2010, and cache files in %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache folder on the server and PST files, temporary files, and thumbnails, eating up the disk on the workstation are a few common reasons. I have also blogged about other reasons in the past. The purpose of this article is to show you how to find out the size of some of the largest files on your computer so you can take action and delete them if they are not needed.

    Not all large files are needed. If they are not needed then there is no sense in keeping them on your computer. Obviously, you can delete a lot of small junk files but The question is how to find out which are the largest files. A simple way to find out the size of the largest files is to write a PowerShell script. You can then pipe the results of the script to a file and look at them one by one. Here’s a sample script that will display in GB the 5 largest files on your server or workstation. You can change the number 5 at the end of the script to display more or fewer large files.

    @echo off
    Powershell -noexit “Get-PSdrive  | where { $_.Used -gt 0 } | foreach { Get-ChildItem $_.Root -recurse -force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue | Select Name,DirectoryName, @{Label=’Size’;Expression={($_.Length/1GB).ToString(‘F04′)}} | Sort Size -descending | select -first 5}”

    1. Paste the above script in Notepad.
    2. Save the file as a batch file (File, Save As, change “Save as type” to All files, click Save). Give it a name like Top5largestFiles.bat. Make sure you use the .bat extension, otherwise it will not execute as batch file.
    3. Start the Command Prompt as an Administrator.
    4. Go to the folder where you saved the batch file.
    5. Type the name of the batch file (e.g. Top5largestFiles). It’s optional to type the .bat at the end of a batch file because the system automatically knows that it’s an executable file.
    6. Wait a while because the batch file needs to go through every file on your computer. The results will be displayed in GB.
    7. You can also pipe the results into a text file if for some reason you want to save the results as a reference for future use. For example, type
      5ToplargestFiles > largefiles.txt
      This will send the results into a text file called largestfiles.txt.
    8. Once you know which files are the largest files you can go through them and see if some of them can be deleted. Obviously, you have to have certain level of knowledge to understand which files are safe to delete.

    As an example, on a SQL Server 2008 R2 if you run out of disk space, you can delete the file that ends with _blobs.bin (e.g. a368b368b28d9265_blobs.bin) in the %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache folder. According to Microsoft, this file is used by Windows Update mechanism and it is safe to delete this file. However, do not delete or mess with any other files in the WinSxS foder. Even if you delete all the files in the ManifestCache folder, they may appear later after a Windows Update or a reboot but will likely be not as large. Just keep an eye on these files and deleted them when necessary. Here a post from Joseph Conway on TechNet that describes in detail what the WinSxS folder is all about. Unfortunately, there is no known solution to this problem of Windows servers and workstations running out of disk space. Until Microsoft comes up with a solution, here’s a workaround.

    Here’s how you can delete files in the Windows\WinSxS\ManifestCache folder.

    1. Run the above batch file to find out the top 5 largest files.
    2. If the files in the ManifestCache folder are among the largest files then use the following commands.
    3. Run Command Prompt as an Administrator.
    4. Run the command “net stop trustedinstaller” without the quotes to stop the Windows Modules Installer service. If your OS is running this service then make sure you wait for it to stop, if it’s not running and you get the message “The Windows Modules Installer service is not started” then go to the next step.
    5. Type EXIT to get out of the PowerShell command and run the command “takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*” without the quotes at the Command Prompt to take the ownership of the folder. This step is necessary because you must take ownership of the folder before giving the Administrators proper permission.
    6. If you get an error it’s likely because you ignored the first part of the previous step and ran the command inside PowerShell (if your prompt starts with PS then you are in the PowerShell command). If you run the command in PowerShell you will get the message “ERROR: The system cannot find the path specified.”
    7. Run the command “Icacls %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\* /grant Administrators:f” without the quotes to grant Administrators Full Access permissions to the folder.
    8. The last step is to delete the files in the ManifestCache folder. Run the command “del /q %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*” without the quotes.
    9. Restart the Windows Modules Installer service by typing “net start trustedinstaller” without the quotes.

    Scheduling Cleanup of ManifestCache folder

    The ManifestCache folder will continue to grow in the future but you can create a batch file to cleanup the content occasionally. I would recommend that you clean up the folder only if you need disk space because the cache files will improve performance. This solution is for people who are in desperate need of additional disk space. Here’ a batch file that I use on my SharePoint 2010 server and my SQL Server 2008 R2 server. I saved the content of this batch file in Notepad and named the file CleanManifestFolder.bat. I run this file at the elevated Command Prompt.

    @echo off
    net stop trustedinstaller
    takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*
    Icacls %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\* /grant Administrators:f
    del /q %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*
    net start trustedinstaller

    You can also schedule to run this file with Task Scheduler if necessary.

    Disk Cleanup Tool

    At this point you may want to go through additional files and delete them if they are safer to delete. On some operating systems, such as Windows 7, you also have the option Disk Cleanup on the drive properties. However, this tool is designed to delete only certain types of files that are safe to delete, such as downloaded program files, temporary Internet files, setup log files, temporary files, thumbnails, etc. It won’t find other files that can be very large and often useless. I still encourage you to go through these and delete them. Especially, the temporary files and thumbnails. I noticed that on my PC, the thumbnails were 79MB but the temporary files were a whopping 13.7GB. Your mileage may vary but the results may surprise you.

    Copyright ©2012 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.

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