Microsoft dropped Internet Explorer from Windows 11, instead only making it accessible through ‘IE Mode’ on the new Edge browser. Now the company is preparing to remove it from some builds of Windows 10, too.
Microsoft confirmed again last month that the Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired on June 15, 2022 — two days from the publication of this article. The update will be rolled out to Windows 10 version 20H2 and later, but server and enterprise editions of Windows 10 are unaffected. Nothing will change for anyone still using Windows 8.1, 7, or earlier versions either.
So, what exactly is changing? Well, Microsoft says the Internet Explorer application “will be progressively redirected to Microsoft Edge over the following months.” Internet Explorer will still be present in the Start Menu, taskbar, and other locations, but clicking it will open Edge. Files that used to open with IE (like web shortcuts and HTML documents) will also redirect to Edge.
Eventually, IE will be permanently turned off with a future system update. Once that happens, all traces of IE will be removed entirely. Microsoft recommends using Internet Explorer Mode in Edge (which uses the IE engine) if you still need to access sites that don’t work in modern browsers.
Importantly, the embedded Internet Explorer engine in Windows (MSHTML) isn’t going away, just the desktop browser. The MSHTML engine powers embedded web views in many Windows applications, which is why it’s even included in Windows 11, and it’s used for IE Mode in Edge. Microsoft plans to continue supporting IE Mode in Edge until 2029 at the earliest.
The upcoming transition might have more of a historical impact than anything else. Internet Explorer was a fixture in the computer world for decades, and now it’s finally going away (as an independent application) on platforms Microsoft still supports. It’s the end of an era, and not one I think most people will miss.