Microsoft removed Internet Explorer from Windows 11 and instead only made it accessible through “IE Mode” in the new Edge browser. Now the company is also preparing to remove it from some versions of Windows 10.
Microsoft confirmed again last month that the Internet Explorer 11 desktop app will be retired on June 15, 2022, two days after this article was published. The update will roll out to Windows 10 version 20H2 and later, but Windows 10 Enterprise and Server editions will not be affected. Nothing will change for anyone still using Windows 8.1, 7 or earlier.
So what exactly is changing? Well, Microsoft says that the Internet Explorer app “will be progressively redirected to Microsoft Edge over the next several 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 (such as web shortcuts and HTML documents) will also be redirected to Edge.
Eventually, IE will be permanently shut down with a future system update. Once that happens, all traces of IE will be completely removed. 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.
It’s important to note that Windows’ built-in Internet Explorer engine (MSHTML) isn’t going away, just the desktop browser. The MSHTML engine powers built-in web views in many Windows apps, which is why it’s even included in Windows 11 and used for IE mode in Edge. Microsoft plans to continue supporting IE Mode in Edge until 2029 at the earliest.
The upcoming transition could have more of a historical impact than anything else. Internet Explorer was a fixture in the computing world for decades, and now it’s finally going away (as a standalone application) on platforms that Microsoft still supports. It’s the end of an era, and I think most people won’t miss it.