Announcing the Enterprise Site Discovery Toolkit for Internet Explorer 11

October 24th, 2014

Today, we’re announcing a new capability in Internet Explorer 11 that allows IT Pros to discover which of their Enterprise line of business applications are truly critical and used by their users. Together with Enterprise Mode IE, this toolkit helps simplify Enterprise upgrades. Download the Enterprise Site Discovery Toolkit for IE11 today and learn more about it on Technet.

Upgrading to the latest version of Windows typically requires Enterprises to do full line of business app compatibility testing with the latest version of Internet Explorer. What makes this a difficult task for most Enterprises is that they often do not know which of their catalog of internal line of business applications are critical and used by their employees. Often times this leads IT Pros to test all of their internal apps, even ones that may not be used, which can be a costly and time consuming process. In addition to testing, it can be difficult to mitigate compatibility issues without knowing more about how the application is built.

The Enterprise Site Discovery Toolkit provides a way for an IT Pro to better understand how their users are browsing with Internet Explorer 11. This toolkit enables collecting information from Internet Explorer 11 about all sites that are visited by Enterprise users to build an inventory of sites used in the Enterprise. This information will help IT Pros prioritize which applications they should focus their app compatibility testing with Internet Explorer. This toolkit also provides additional information on how the site is designed and used by Internet Explorer and that information can then be used to populate the Enterprise Mode site list, mitigating compatibility issues of critical sites.

What information is collected?

By default, the data collection is turned off. When collection is enabled, data will be collected from all sites visited by users with Internet Explorer 11. Data is collected during each browsing event and is associated to the browsed URL, shown here. This data collection has a negligible impact on Internet Explorer performance.

Data collected during each browsing event

Data point Description
URL URL of the browsed site, including any parameters embedded in the URL.
Domain Top-level domain of the browsed site.
ActiveX Control GUID The GUID of the ActiveX controls loaded by the site.
Number of visits The number of times a URL has been visited.
Doc mode Doc mode used by Internet Explorer for a site, based on page characteristics.
Doc mode reason The reason why a Doc mode was set by Internet Explorer.
Browser state reason Additional information on why the browser is in the current state. That may be also referred to as Browser Mode.
Hang count Number of visits to the URL when the browser hung.
Crash count Number of visits to the URL when the browser crashed.
Most recent navigation failure (and count) Description of the most recent navigation failure (like, a 404 bad request or 500 internal server error) and the number of times it happened.
Zone Zone used by Internet Explorer to browse sites, based on browser settings.

By default, Internet Explorer will not collect this data; you have to enable collection if you want to use it. Once enabled, data will collected on all sites visited by Internet Explorer 11 except while browsing in an InPrivate browsing session. Additionally, this data collection is silent and there is no end user notification that information is being collected. You must make sure that you ask the necessary consent and comply with all applicable local laws and regulatory requirements before enabling this in your deployment of Internet Explorer 11.

How does the data collection work?

As users browse the Web, the above information is collected locally in a WMI class. Once the data is present in the WMI class it can then be queried by System Center Configuration Manager or other tools and aggregated with data from multiple users to form a data driven picture of Internet Explorer usage.

What can I do with this data?

The Discovery Toolkit provides IT Pros with clear picture about how IE is being used in their deployment based on actual user data. With this many questions can be answered. Some are:

  • What sites are users going to the most?
  • What document mode does the page load in, and how was that document mode chosen?
  • On what sites are ActiveX controls being used and how often?
  • Which sites are crashing or hanging when users visit them?
  • Are there any sites in the Trusted Sites list that should be moved off?
  • Are there any sites that should be added or removed from the Enterprise Mode site list?

How can IT Pros get started using this site Discovery Toolkit?

We’re excited about this toolkit and encourage to take the toolkit for a spin, try out the data collection functionality and put it through its paces! Let us know your feedback via @IEDevChat or on Connect.

— Deen King-Smith, Program Manager, Internet Explorer