Internet Explorer 10 x 2 = ?

Here’s something else to bear in mind for people trying out Windows 8 and the two different versions of Internet Explorer 10.

If you don’t know already there are two versions of Internet Explorer 10: the Metro-style app and the traditional desktop app. More confusingly, these two instances of Internet Explorer 10 are not named any different however their capabilities do differ significantly in that the desktop app will function as we have come to expect while the Metro app is incapable of using plugins (as that seems to be incompatibile with the way Metro apps are sandboxed under Windows 8).

So why is this a big deal?

Well, a user visiting a site requiring Flash in IE10 Metro will be prompted to download and install Flash. However, once installed and you try and view Flash content in IE10 Metro it still won’t work despite installing Flash. What has actually happened is that Flash has been installed for the desktop instance of IE10 and not the Metro instance (which can’t support it, yet). The other thing to consider is this is for Windows 8 installations on a traditional PC or tablet with an Intel compatible CPU in it. If you are running a tablet with an ARM CPU in it then Flash won’t install anywhere until Flash releases a version specific for Windows 8 on ARM.

ARM aside, I can only think about the support nightmare that this might create for helpdesks trying to help customers understand the difference and why IE10 Metro is more limited than its traditional desktop counterpart. It’s also something handy to keep in mind for when you start using Windows 8 for real.

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