Fire IE, Run Internet Explorer compatible sites in Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 29, 2012
Updated • Sep 22, 2012
Firefox, Firefox add-ons, Internet Explorer

If you are working in an environment where some websites or services are only accessible in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but work with Firefox as your main browser, you have basically two options to access those sites: you can obviously fire up Internet Explorer on your system to load those services and sites in the browser directly, or, you can integrate Internet Explorer's rendering engine right into the Firefox web browser.

Fire IE is a relatively new extension that offers a comfortable option to integrate Internet Explorer's rendering engine into the Firefox web browser.

Once you have installed the extension in Firefox you will notice a new icon at the right of Firefox's address bar that acts as an indicator of the rendering engine used for the page, and as a control to switch engines and access the extension's options.

To switch engines, you simply left-click on the icon to do so. When you do, the page gets reloaded with no noticeable delay other than the time it takes to reload the page contents.

firefox internet explorer

Before you start using the extension to switch to Internet Explorer's rendering engine, you may want to take a look at the options the extension provides. You may for instance want to change to another rendering engine available. On my test system, Internet Explorer 7 was selected by default, and switching to Internet Explorer 9 really improved compatibility and performance.

If you prefer, you can also hide the icon in the browser's address bar and use the Alt-c shortcut to switch rendering engines instead. Alternatively, you can also define rules to automatically load select sites and services with the IE rendering engine.

Fire IE supports both rule subscriptions and custom rules. The browser ships with a default set of rules, which you may want to disable, especially in environments where you need full control over the feature. Custom uses make use of regular expressions. At the very basic level, you can simply enter a web address that you always want to load using Internet Explorer's rendering engine.

internet explorer firefox

Fire IE makes sure that cookies are automatically synchronized when rendering engines are switches in Firefox. Most keyboard shortcuts that you are familiar with will continue to work when the engine is switched.

If you are looking for an extension that has been in development for a longer period of time, you should take a look at IE Tab Plus instead.


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  1. b003 said on July 3, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I use IE VIEW right click opens the page in another browser.

  2. Jonathan said on July 2, 2012 at 5:03 am

    I just tried to use it, only to be informed that it only works on 32 bit windows :( I am using Waterfox on a 64 bit system.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 2, 2012 at 8:19 am

      It worked fine on my 64-bit version of Windows. Are you using a 64-bit browser perhaps?

  3. GiddyUpGo said on July 2, 2012 at 3:28 am

    I agree with Bob’s third option. I use ff, always updated.
    I have not used IE for years except for MS Update Patches.
    For any site that has to use IE only there usually is a site just as good…or better, that will use other browsers.
    As always, Martin has good advice for those that use IE.

  4. Karl Gephart said on June 30, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I really like the add-on “Open With.” Can use as a button on the toolbar to open any browser you want. Great for web design!

  5. Bob said on June 30, 2012 at 12:01 am

    There is a third option. Just don’t use the app or website if it isn’t going to support other browsers.

    1. Nikhil said on August 30, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Dear Bob,
      If you are working in a corporate company whose websites are ie only compatible,(75% is like that)
      dont use is a not a thrid option, its not a third answer also.

  6. Mark said on June 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I usually use User Agent Switcher extension to browse IE only compatible sites with FF.

  7. BGM said on June 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I wonder why the addon authour decided to make this when IE Tab(and ID Tab 2) have been around for so long. I use IE Tab 2 all the time and it works very well. I have an occasional crash, but I can’t complain too much.
    It doesn’t look like this new addon does anything new.

    What WOULD be new is if IE Tab honoured commands from other Firefox addons and buttons. For example, in IETab, the scroll-to-top and scroll-to-bottom buttons don’t work, likewise, refresh-without-cache doesn’t do anything. Sometimes refresh doesn’t even work. The reason is because IE Tab prefixes its urls internally with “chrome://ietab2/content/reloaded.html?url=”, which causes other firefox functions not to recognize the string as a url.

    1. JohnJ said on June 30, 2012 at 3:20 am

      I’ll have to look for those issues; I haven’t encountered them yet.

      I’m using latest FF, btw, and for those that wonder, IE TAB 2 works just fine. No compatibility issues.

  8. Gabe said on June 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    It this extension FF 64bit compatible? IE Tab if found a working one in the comments, otherwise it wasn’t.

  9. Jonathan said on June 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Is there much difference between FireIE and IETAB? Last I had checked IE Tab was not compatible with the newer FF versions.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      I do not see much of a difference functionality-wise. While IE Tab may not be compatible, the linked IE Tab Plus is.

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