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PowerShell – Add websites to the Flash whitelist for Internet Explorer 10 (Metro – Modern UI)

[EDIT] 09-04-2013 : As described in my blog post, this script has become unnecessary for most people. This is because Microsoft to allow almost every Flash site by default. [EDIT]

[EDIT] 13-01-2013 : Apparently for Windows RT, the script doesn’t seem to be working yet. Unfortunately I have no Windows RT to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. [EDIT]

Windows 8 and Windows RT include support for Flash in Internet Explorer 10.

In Windows 8 there are however two version of Internet Explorer 10 that handle flash websites differently. First there’s Internet Explorer 10 Desktop, which is similar as the Internet Explorer you’ve been used to with previous versions of Windows. Then there’s also Internet Explorer 10 (non Desktop), which is the Internet Explorer in the new modern/Windows interface (Metro) that is full screen.

Internet Explorer 10 Desktop allows Flash for all websites. Internet Explorer 10 (Metro) only allows Flash for websites that have been whitelisted.

Especially for Windows tablets, Flash support can be a selling point because most other tablets don’t have Flash support. It is however confusing for regular consumers that not all their websites will work. By example a friend of mine who’s a hairdresser, uses http://www.kapperssite.nl to show her customers hair models and their haircuts. The site is however completely in Flash and that it is not working by default is very annoying.

The websites that have been whitelisted are defined in your local appdate folder. By example: “C:\Users\Bjorn\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml”. This file also contains information about websites and which compatibility mode should be used for each. The segment between <flash> and </flash> contains the websites that have been whitelisted for flash. You can manually modify this file as described here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1961793

Basic steps include:
  1. Modifying the iecompatdata.xml to add the websites you want to whitelist for Flash. Wildcards don’t work unfortunately.
  2. Open Internet Explorer 10 Desktop, press ALT, Tools, “Compatibility View setting”. Then Disable “Download updated compatibility lists from Microsoft”. This way Microsoft won’t overwrite the updates you’ve made in step 1.
  3. Delete the IE10 browser history. The disadvantage of this method however is, that you won’t be taking advantage of future compatibility updates because you’ve disabled the update functionality. Leaving it enabled however means that you you would have to keep re-adding sites you want to whitelist for Flash.

As a workaround, I’ve created this script that will automatically perform these tasks:

  1. Disable “Download updated compatibility lists from Microsoft”
  2. Close all internet explorer processes.
  3. Download the latest iecompatdata.xml to the appropriate folder. Currently the latest version is: https://iecvlist.microsoft.com/ie10/201206/iecompatviewlist.xml
    The script however will dynamically look for the latest versions by modifying the date in the url.
  4. Combine the data from the latest iecompatdata.xml with websites you want to whitelist for Flash (specified in “C:\Users\Bjorn\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\flashsitestoadd.txt).
  5. Backup the original iecompatdata.xml and store the modified iecompatdata.xml
  6. Clear the Internet Explorer browsing history.

Because automatic downloading of updated compatibility lists has been disabled, I advise to schedule the script to run on a regular basis (by example monthly). For instructions read this blog post: http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2012/08/11/weekend-scripter-use-the-windows-task-scheduler-to-run-a-windows-powershell-script.aspx Keep in mind that this will clear your Internet Explorer browsing history though.

 

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Microsoft Surface Pro coming in early 2013. Starting at $899

Microsoft just released some more information regarding the Microsoft Surface Pro. It is coming in early 2013 and its price is starting at $899 for the 64GB standalone version with a pen, but without a Touch Cover ($120) or Type Cover($130). The standalone 128GB version will be $999.

For more information about the Surface Pro, check the Microsoft website and this blog post:

If you want to know more about Windows RT tablets (b.e. Microsoft Surface) and Windows 8 tablets (b.e. Microsoft Surface Pro) read my previous blog post. It describes how both differ from each other, but also how they differ from Android and iOS (Apple) tablets.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Hardware, ICT, Microsoft, Tablet, Windows 8, Windows RT

 

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Windows 8 available today, check out limited time offers including free stuff

Introduction

Even though Windows 8 has been available for quite some time for IT pros and developers, it is now available for the general public as well.

Microsoft has also released its own Windows RT based tablet (Microsoft Surface) in some countries and is expected to release a Windows 8 based tablet (Microsoft Surface Pro) within the next three months. For more information about Windows tablets and the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8, read my previous blog post.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 26, 2012 in ICT, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

 

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Windows 8 tablet considerations including Windows RT and Windows 8 comparison

[Update 14-12-2013]

It’s been more than a year since my initial post, so here are some updates from my point of view:

  • Tablets and ultrabooks are coming closer together due to all the available form factors. Tablet, clam shell, slider, convertible, dockable / detachable, etc. This provides more choice, but makes it also harder for people to choose the device that is most appropriate for them.
  • Cheaper Windows 8.1 based tablets (based on the new Intel Atom processors) have become available that make it a more viable alternative to Android and iOS based tablets.
  • Windows tablets based on AMD processors seemed interesting to me last year because of their added graphical power, but they didn’t seem to get any traction up until now.
  • High end Windows based tablets (Intel Core i5/i7 based) are still relatively expensive.
  • Many companies that previously produced Windows RT tablets, stopped making them (Asus, Samsung, HP, Lenovo, HTC. The only companies that are still producting Windows RT tablets are Microsoft, Nokia (largely backed by Microsoft) and Dell.
  • Rumours are floating around that Microsoft will be reducing the number of Windows versions and in my opinion it would make sense to get rid of Windows RT.
  • The new and improved Intel Atom (quad core processors) are making ARM based Windows RT devices even less interesting because they provide better performance and use less energy than the previous versions while allowing people to run x86 programs.
  • Windows tablets have become available in smaller sizes (8 inch) and Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 have updated to better work with this.
  • Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 have been released and many minor adjustments made it more tablet optimized.
  • Most major apps have been released as a “Metro”/Modern app for Windows 8 / Windows RT, but it’s still lagging behind Google’s Play Store and the Apple App Store.
  • The graphical performance included in processors is increasing, reducing the need for seperate GPUs for generic use and bringing more options for apps.
  • Google Android based tablets are still going strong and provide a lot of bang for buck. Also the Android OS is still getting many useful updates. Security and OS version sprawl is still an issue though, especially in the enterprise. Also there’s a big gap in user experience because there are still very cheap tablets with lots of disadvantages, while the normal and high end models are very good in general.
  • The Apple iPad (hardware) and operating system (iOS) received updates and they’re still doing very well what they’ve always done while providing great stability and improving battery time and performance. To me however it’s more of the same without much added value over previous versions. I’m curious to see if, how and when Apple will make their devices more popular for people that want to be able to do more. Maybe some kind power tablet running OS X with touch and iOS options ?

If you have something to add or if you think something that’s incorrect, please leave a comment.

[Update 14-12-2013]

Since I’m seriously considering buying a Windows based tablet, I’ve been very closely following all developments. Even though a lot of information has become available, it’s often spread across many different websites and articles and is often incomplete in my opinion. Since the Microsoft Surface RT tablet is available for pre-order and will be sold when Windows 8 will be available on the 26th of October I decided to write this article.And even though a lot of people have complained about this on various sites, most sites don’t have one article that covers all the things to look out for. In this post I try to do just that. One of the most useful resources I’ve used are the articles from Paul Thurrott on his website supersite for windows.

Also it’s not just consumers that are having trouble understanding / explaining the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets though, Microsoft employees are also still being trained to properly handle questions.

In this post it’s important to realize that Microsoft Surface RT is not the same as Windows RT, Microsoft Surface RT is a tablet from Microsoft (hardware) that runs Windows RT (software). Microsoft Surface Pro is another tablet from Microsoft (hardware) that runs Windows 8 (software).

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Windows 8 – GUI (Graphical User Interface) help

For those people unwilling to read the entire post, here’s a direct link to my own list of operations and a description of how to perform them using specific input methods.

Context

In the past the Windows user interface has been changed. In hindsight I would classify these changes as evolutionary (Windows 95, 98, XP, Vista, Windows 7). I did however notice that a lot of people still had and many still have trouble working with it. Most people however are currently able to perform those things they want to be able to do. With Windows 8 however, a lot has changed and people need to re-learn how they can do what they want to do. I think this will be intimidating for many people and will probably also prevent people from upgrading for some time. This video should give new users an idea of what the new interface looks like. You can also check other links on this page. Also check this video to get an even better feeling of how to use the new user interface. If you are willing to spend some more time on getting used to Windows 8, you can also check the videos from Lynda.com Windows 8 Consumer Preview First Look. With this blog post I hope I can:

  • Help people understand what has changed without going in too much detail.
  • Provide insight in what options there are to fully leverage potential/productivity.
  • Provide practical tips and tricks to help people enjoy using Windows 8.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 14, 2012 in ICT, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

 

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