Microsoft has provided detailed plans to eliminate Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) from Windows 11 and Windows 10. Despite being overshadowed by Microsoft Edge, IE11 has managed to hold on, but its days are numbered. The software giant aims to bring an end to the browser's lingering presence, ensuring users have a more secure and supported browsing experience.
According to an official announcement by Microsoft, the retirement of IE11 began on February 14, 2023, with a Microsoft Edge update that permanently disabled the out-of-support browser on certain versions of Windows 10. While previous attempts had disabled IE11 in favor of Microsoft Edge, remnants of the browser remained in the operating system. This latest update marks a significant step towards completely eradicating IE11 from Windows.
Redirects to Microsoft Edge
The announcement assures users that any remaining consumer and commercial devices that were still utilizing IE11 were redirected to Microsoft Edge with the update. The redirection is now an integral part of all future Microsoft Edge updates, leaving users unable to reverse the change. By seamlessly transferring browsing data from IE11 to Microsoft Edge, users can continue their online activities uninterrupted.
Organizations, based on customer feedback, will retain control over determining the timing to remove IE11 user interface (UI) elements from their devices. For those who have not done so already, IT teams can remove IE11 visual references on Windows 10 devices using the Disable IE policy. Microsoft acknowledges that a small subset of exceptional scenarios where IE11 is still accessible will be redirected to Microsoft Edge in the coming months, ensuring a supported and secure browsing experience. The company writes in an announcement:
Users can Choose when to Remove IE11-Remnants
Microsoft's decision to allow customers to choose when the final remnants of IE11 are removed from their devices comes after warnings issued in June and December 2022 regarding the browser's impending retirement. By offering control over the removal of IE11 visual references, Microsoft aims to facilitate a smooth transition for organizations.
The retirement of IE11 has been a long time coming. Microsoft first announced in August 2020 that support for IE11 would be dropped in Windows 10 and Microsoft 365. However, it was only in May 2021 that an official retirement announcement was published. Since then, Microsoft has actively encouraged users to migrate to Microsoft Edge with IE mode, which provides compatibility with legacy IE-based sites and applications.
Despite the retirement of IE11, the legacy browser will still be available on Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU), Windows 8.1, and all versions of Windows 10 LTSC, Windows Server SAC, and Windows 10 IoT LTSC. However, Microsoft emphasizes that Microsoft Edge with IE mode offers a faster, more secure, and modern web experience compared to Internet Explorer.
As Microsoft Edge takes center stage as the primary browser, it becomes clear that Internet Explorer's journey is drawing to a close. The retirement of IE11 is a significant milestone for Microsoft and signals a shift towards a more streamlined and innovative browsing experience for Windows users.