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

05 Jan

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

  1. QuazL

    January 8, 2013 at 16:31

    I tried running this on RT but it had an error of:

    Cannot Invoke Method

    It looks like it doesn’t like the webrequest

    Have you ran it on Surface RT by chance?

    Like

     
    • Oliver

      January 21, 2013 at 19:45

      Re Windows RT:

      Quoting “whyjoe” on http://jeffwouters.nl/index.php/2012/10/windows-rt-has-powershell/:

      “Say you want to parse some XML in Powershell on Windows RT. You can, but you end up naturally using .NET methods without realizing it. You can load XML into a $variable, and drill down into it ($variable.nodeone.subnode). But you can’t .CloneNode, .AppendNode, etc. Heck you can’t even .ToString. You’ll get the following error, “Cannot invoke method. Method invocation is supported only on core types in this language mode.”

      Bjorn, do you think there is any way to get that running for RT?

      Thanks,
      Oliver

      Like

       
      • Bjorn Houben

        January 21, 2013 at 20:09

        The problem is that I have no RT to test with. You could try excluding the auto download of the latest xml and downloading it manually.

        Like

         

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