Here's how to turn on Spartan's lightning-fast browsing engine in Windows 10

You can get the speed gains from the new browser even before it's released.

turn on spartan
Credit: Preston Gralla

You don't have to wait if you want to try out the fast browsing engine Microsoft is building into its new Spartan browser in Windows 10. Here's how to turn it on right now --- and what speed gains you can expect.

Spartan is the code name for the new browser that will replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10. In addition to having a much faster browsing engine than Internet Explorer, it will have many new features, including the ability to mark up and share Web pages with others.

Spartan wasn't included in the latest Windows 10 build. However, you can turn on its browsing engine with a few simple clicks, as detailed by Brett Howse in anandtech. Keep in mind, of course, that when you do this, you may run into browsing problems. But considering that all of Windows 10 is essentially in beta, why not try it?

To do it, type about:flags into the Internet Explorer address bar and press Enter. From the screen that appears, go to the Enable Experimental Web Platform Features setting and switch it to Enabled. Then click Apply Changes and restart Internet Explorer. At that point on, you'll be using the speedier browsing mode.

If you want you can also trick Web sites into thinking that the new engine isn't Internet Explorer at all. You might do this because when some Web sites detect Internet Explorer visiting, they display pages specifically designed for the old Internet Explorer. If you want to pull that trick, when you're making the change outlined in the previous paragraph, also set the Customer User Agent to Enabled.

Internet Explorer has long been a laggard, well behind Chrome and Firefox when it comes to browsing speed, and using the new engine makes a significant difference, anandtech testing reveals. The site claims, "The performance increase of the new Javascript engine is massive, and brings Internet Explorer basically up to par with Google Chrome for Javascript performance." It beats Chrome and Firefox in two benchmark suites --- Sunspider and Octane 2.0 --- although it lags behind in four others, Kraken 1.1, WebXRT, Oort Online, and HTML5Test. (In fairness, the old Internet Explorer also bested Chrome and Firefox on Sunspider.) On every test there were speed improvements, ranging from an 81.8% on Octane 2.0 to 1.5% on HTML5Test.

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