How to Enable Flash on the Microsoft Surface (IE 10)

While Microsoft did include Adobe Flash in the new Internet Browser 10 that comes on the Microsoft Surface, you may be left wondering why some websites are still asking you to install Flash. Well, as it turns out, even though there is Flash in the browser, Microsoft only allows specific websites to utilize it. Thanks to an XDA developer familiar with the workings of Windows 8, we’ve found the whitelist and know how to add any sites you need Flash for to it. Here’s how.
Also, this procedure should work for Windows 8 in general, not just the Microsoft Surface.

I. Stop Overwriting of the Whitelist by Microsoft

First you need to disable the updating of the whitelist by Microsoft. If you don’t any sites you add to the whitelist will be automatically erased upon reboot.

1. On your Surface or Windows 8 device, click on the Desktop tile on your Start screen to be taken to your desktop.

2. Open Internet Explorer in the Desktop.

3. Hold down Alt on your keyboard and click on the gear symbol at the top right of Internet Explorer.

4. When the options appear under the address bar at the top, click on Tools then click on Compatibility View Settings.

5. Uncheck the box at the bottom that says “Download updated compatibility lists from Microsoft”.

II. Add Your Sites to the Whitelist

1. On your Surface or Windows 8 device, click on the Desktop tile on your Start screen to be taken to your desktop.

2. Click on the File Explorer icon at the bottom of the screen.

3. Click on Computer in the left pane of the File Explorer Window.

4. Click on the search box at the top right and type “iecompatdata.xml” without the quotes and hit enter.

5. When it finds the file, right click it (using the mouse or by tapping and holding on the file with your finger) and select Edit.

6. When it opens it in Notepad, click on Edit at the top then click Find.

7. In the Find Window, type in “/Flash” without the quotations and hit enter.

8. Where it shows the highlighted /Flash section, copy the domain entry above it (highlight <domain></domain> or whatever the last domain name it shows).

9. Add a new line beneath that last domain entry and paste it there above the /Flash tag.

10. Now, change the domain itself within the domain tags to whatever website you want to add. (i.e. <domain></domain> changed it to <domain></domain>.

11. Repeat steps 8 through 10 to add as many websites as you want.

If this procedure helped you, please thank/donate to the original procedure developer.


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  • Jdogg

    I have tried what you outlined, however I can visit the site but there is still an issue with the site. For example, it wont let me open up certain things on the site.

  • Eleasar

    thanks for the guide – just to make sure: for there is no ALT key on e.g. Surface you have to tab on the gear item and hold it down. There comes a fly out menu where you have to check the “Menu Bar”. Then the compatibilty will show up.

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