If Internet Explorer (IE) wasn’t dead before, it most certainly is now. Microsoft is releasing a new Edge update that will permanently disable the older browser on most versions of Windows 10.
The following changes will go live as the patch rolls out over the course of the week. Visual references to Internet Explorer, like icons in the Start menu and taskbar, will remain for now. However, if you try to launch IE, the Edge browser will appear in its place alongside a new window informing you of the changes.
Be aware Microsoft plans to scrub Windows 10 clean of those references in an upcoming Windows security update scheduled for June 13 on Patch Tuesday. If you want to get rid of those references even earlier, you can download the preview “C” release scheduled for May 23. And if you’re worried about losing data, don’t be. In the Tech Community post announcing these changes (opens in new tab), all browsing data will automatically move over to Edge.
Permanently killing off Internet Explorer will undoubtedly have widespread ramifications for companies slow on the uptake. To help them out, Microsoft is asking those organizations to open a support ticket (opens in new tab) and check out the Internet Explorer Retirement Adoption Kit (opens in new tab).
All is not lost as the spirit of Internet Explorer will continue to live on. Of course, Microsoft Edge has IE Mode so users can visit legacy websites that won't function on newer browsers; although that feature also has an expiration date. Support for IE Mode (more specifically, the MSHTML rendering engine) is slated to end in 2029, so there’s still a while left to go. The company states it’ll remind people that the feature is ending in 2028 to give users enough time to prepare.
Specific versions of Windows 10 will continue to house Internet Explorer. Just to name a couple, you have the Chinese Government Edition and Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, which coincidentally just had its end-of-service date set for May 9.
With that, we think it's safe to finally say goodbye to Internet Explorer after nearly two years of doing so – barring very specific versions that continue to shamble on. It’s hard to say exactly how many people will be affected by the sudden switch-off as Microsoft doesn’t publish those numbers. Looking at recent numbers from Stat Counter (opens in new tab), Internet Explorer makes up less than a percent of the total browser market share worldwide.
Yes, that is still millions of people, but by and large, the world has moved on. The browser was great when the internet was young but it wasn't built to last or be used forever.