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HowTo: Use Silverlight-enabled website in Microsoft Edge Chromium

Let’s see how we can use a Silverlight-enabled website in Microsoft Edge Chromium

1) When we visit the site we’ll see a “Click now to install” button that used to download and install Silverlight, but that recently stopped working. Even before though, it wouldn’t work with Edge Chromium after installation, but show everytime the same download prompt

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2) Press “…” button at top-right and select “Settings”

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3) Pick Appearance at the left sidebar and scroll down on the right to “Internet Explrorer mode button”. If the switch to turn it on is disabled (grayed out), then press the link “allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode”

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4) This will take you to edge://settings/defaultBrowser, where you should change “Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode” from “Default” to “Allow”. After that press the “Restart” button shown.

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5) Now if you go back to Appearance, you can turn on the “Internet Explorer mode button” option

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6) Now if you go back to the website, you’ll see a button at top-right allowing you to open the page in Internet Explorer mode. The same action is also available on the “…” menu, but having it as a button too can prove handy.

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7) If Microsoft hadn’t broken the direct Silverlight download links, then from this point you would be set and could use the respective website by first installing the Silverlight ActiveX control. But instead you’ll get:

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8) Luckily archive.org has cached the last Silverlight releases (you can also check them on virustotal.com after downloading if you wish) and hope they will keep them, since they’re the most trustworthy alternative source for those installers (after Microsoft of course). Ignore the “Developer” versions and just get the x86 (Silverlight.exe) or x64 (Silverlight_x64.exe) version, depending on your Windows installation

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9) Since they keep various versions archived, make sure you get the latest available one from there.

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10) After the download completes you will be able to run the downloaded installer

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11) When the installer starts, uncheck the options “Make Bing my search engine” and “Make MSN my homepage” if you don’t wish to do those actions. Then press Install now and after it downloads and installs, select “Enable Microsoft Update” (suggested) and press Next and then Close.

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12) Now if you visit the Silverlight-based website again you will see the Download Silverlight prompt, but if you press the “IE mode” button on the Edge toolbar (or do the same action from the “…” menu), you’ll see the Silverlight application loading (could show some animation there or some percentage – depends on the application).

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13) You will see a popup open up where you can select the Edge should remember the current url and open it in Internet Explorer mode next time too (if you press Manage on that popup you can see those sites which are remembered for 30 days). Those are at edge://settings/defaultBrowser

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14) after that the website open up with a small warning bar at the top that you can close with the [x] button on its right

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15) And presto, you can see below ClipFlair Studio (http://studio.clipflair.net) working fine in Microsoft Edge Chromium via Internet Explorer mode and the Silverlight ActiveX Control.

Wish Microsoft wouldn’t make lives of users that hard. Not all sites are backed by multi-dollar companies to be rewritten from scratch with HTML-based technology that still strive to support what Silverlight was offering with ease (btw, if you’d care to sponsor Clipflair Studio’s future evolutions, can donate via the respective button at https://github.com/zoomicon/clipflair)

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In the case of ClipFlair, apart you’ll need to do the final steps of this process for these URLs:

http://studio.clipflair.net

http://gallery.clipflair.net/activity

http://gallery.clipflair.net/video

http://gallery.clipflair.net/photo

HowTo: Open page from Internet Explorer (Metro) app into desktop IE

The Windows 8/8.1 app version of Internet Explorer is also known as IE Metro because of the “Metro” codename (inspired by navigation signs in public transport] of the Modern UI design language promoted by Microsoft).

However that version isn’t the full Internet Explorer, in that it is unfortunately not supporting extensibility via plugins in the form of ActiveX controls as the classic (desktop version) of IE. It is only embedding the Flash player engine directly in its codebase, but not Microsoft’s own Rich Internet Application (RIA) rendering engine aka Silverlight, nor Unity or other VRML/X3D, QuickTime/QuickTimeVR etc. plugins.

Browser pages cannot detect the difference between running IE on the desktop or as an app, there is however a workarround for webpage authors or webadmins to force the app version of IE to show a prompt to the user that allows the opening of a page in the desktop version of Internet Explorer. There is also a way for System Administrators to set specific sites to open in the desktop version of IE without the user seeing such prompt.

At https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ie/hh968248.aspx, Microsoft mentions:

As a web developer, you can enable the requiresActiveX feature switch either by using this HTTP header:

X-UA-Compatible: requiresActiveX=true

Or by using this meta element on each affected webpage:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="requiresActiveX=true"/>

 

I just added the meta tag inside the <head>…</head> block of the Amnesia of Who web version that uses Silverlight and here is how it shows in the IE Metro version (note that Silverlight IS installed in that Windows 8.1 machine, it’s just that it’s not available in that browser, that’s why the Silverlight installation prompt is also shown):

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When the user presses the default button “Open on the desktop”, the OS switches to classic desktop mode and shows an Internet Explorer window with the Silverlight application starting fine (or if Silverlight is not installed it will prompt and allow the user to install it – note that Silverlight ActiveX control’s installation doesn’t need administrator permissions since that installation doesn’t affect other users, nor requires any elevated rights in the system to work).

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I hope that Microsoft, apart from keeping on supporting this workarround, will do a clever move this time and embed Silverlight too (apart from the Flash engine that was in IE Metro) in the Spartan browser that it prepares as the Windows 10 default touch browser. And why not, provide some extensibility method for it, since HTML5 cannot become a huge, impossible to implement beast, that covers every future conceived functionality for the web.

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