The Internet Explorer 11 desktop app will be permanently disabled when one of the following Windows updates is installed on devices*:
- (Optional) January 2023 Pre-insecure (“C”) version of Windows scheduled for January 17, 2023
- February 2023 Windows Security Update (“B”) scheduled for release on February 14, 2023
Since Windows updates are cumulative, Windows updates after February 2023 will also disable IE11.
Microsoft first introduced Internet Explorer on Windows in 1995. The web browser has enjoyed a life of over 25 years since then. The end of that life was marred by a gradual decline in its user base over the years, due to the slow evolution of being overtaken by that of its competitors. Microsoft had seen it coming a long time ago and therefore decided to make Microsoft Edge its primary web browser and Internet Explorer was reduced to a compatibility solution for Microsoft users.
In June, Sean Lyndersay, General Manager, Microsoft Edge Enterpriseannounced that the browser was no longer officially supported:
What does this mean for everyday users?
Since that announcement and over the following months, opening Internet Explorer gradually redirects users to the new Microsoft Edge browser with IE mode. Users still see the Internet Explorer icon on their devices (like in the taskbar or Start menu), but if they click to open Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge will instead open in Easy Access IE mode. Eventually, Internet Explorer will be permanently disabled as part of a future Windows update, in which case the Internet Explorer icons on users’ devices will be removed.
As part of this redirection process, users will see their data such as bookmarks, passwords and settings imported from Internet Explorer. According to Microsoft, this will help make the transition to Microsoft Edge familiar and simple. If a user wants to delete or manage their data at any time later, they can always do so in Microsoft Edge from the Settings menu.
Example message informing users that they are being redirected to Microsoft Edge
Some websites only work with Internet Explorer. These websites may be built on older internet technology and may not function properly with a modern browser. Realizing this, the publisher developed Microsoft Edge with IE mode.
To help users get started with IE mode, the redirect process will add a Reload IE mode button to their Microsoft Edge toolbar. That way, if they come across a website that might not work properly, or if they visit a website that asks them to open the page using Internet Explorer, they can easily click the button to open the page in IE mode. Microsoft Edge will even ask them if they want the page to automatically open in IE mode next time! Microsoft Edge will check with the user every 30 days to make sure they still need IE mode for the site. As more and more sites are updated to modern standards, users will need to use less IE mode and more modern renderer.
The refresh button in IE mode on the Microsoft Edge toolbar
Companies can automate IE mode for their users
If you’re an IT professional and your organization uses legacy sites as part of your normal business processes, you can easily automate IE mode so that these pages automatically open in IE mode for your users.
The June removal covers all currently supported versions of Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, Edu and IoT (Internet Explorer has already been removed from Windows 11). Internet Explorer was not immediately removed from all these versions, but gradually redirected to Microsoft Edge on all these devices over the following months (both professional and consumer) to give users time to find the sites they want. After this redirect phase, Internet Explorer will be permanently disabled on devices in February 2023 via a Windows update.
For some currently supported versions of Windows used in critical environments, Microsoft will continue to support Internet Explorer on those versions until they are no longer supported. These include all currently supported versions of Windows 10 LTSC (including IoT) and all versions of Windows Server, as well as Windows 10 China Government Edition, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 with Extended Security Updates (ESU). Future versions of these editions will not include Internet Explorer. Developers who support the underlying MSHTML (Trident) platform and COM controls on Windows will also continue to be supported on all Windows platforms.
And of course, Microsoft has committed to supporting IE mode in Microsoft Edge until at least 2029.
As a business, you can configure IE mode to use a site list, where you can catalog pages that require Internet Explorer and automatically load them in IE mode. You can save this list of sites locally or in the cloud through the Microsoft 365 admin center, and all sites in the list will be loaded for your users in IE mode. This is the recommended approach if you are a company that manages your own devices and has legacy requirements.
Panic in Japan
When Microsoft ended support for its browser, it caused a bit of a scare among businesses and government agencies that built internal systems around the unpopular browser.
Japan is perhaps the country most affected by this decision, as a survey conducted in March found that 49% of businesses in the country still use IE. Of these, the most common use was for internal management, data exchange and accounting systems. All of these should have been updated or moved to different software since Microsoft announced its plans to retire IE a year ago, but Nikkei reports that many organizations have been overlooked.
Businesses across the country must now act quickly to ensure they are still able to perform operations that previously relied on applications built on Microsoft’s legacy browser.
The Japanese love security. The bigger the organization, the more reluctant they are to migrate,” said Tetsutaro Uehara, a professor at Ritsumeikan University. The biggest problem is that when it comes to government websites, only a limited number of vendors can implement such large systems.
In the survey, the results of which were published in March of this year, more than a fifth of respondents had no plans to leave the now-unsupported browser. Respondents said the browser was used for employee attendance management, expense reimbursement and other internal tools. In some cases, they have no choice but to use Internet Explorer because of the customer systems used to manage orders. More than 20% of these respondents did not know or did not understand how to switch to other browsers after the retirement of Internet Explorer.
Since April, Tokyo-based software developer Computer Engineering & Consulting (CEC) has been inundated with requests for help. These customers are primarily government agencies, financial institutions, and manufacturing and logistics companies that operate websites that are only compatible with Internet Explorer.
Can you do something so we don’t have any problems? , one customer asked.
They are updated [de la suppression progressive] for a long time, but had to delay taking action, said a CEC official on condition of anonymity, who expects the chaos among lingering customers to last several months.
Government agencies are particularly slow to respond. The site of the portal for information on public contracts and calls for tenders passed on Thursday, June 16, its recommended browsers Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. But for the Japan Pension Service, web application notifications must be viewed in Edge’s Internet Explorer mode. The website of a government-supported mutual aid society for private schools still listed Internet Explorer as the only recommended browser.
The Information Technology Promotion Agency has asked Internet Explorer users to switch to other browsers and quickly review the content.
What do you think about the Internet Explorer 11 recall and deactivation announced by Microsoft?
Have you ever tried IE mode in Edge? How do you comment?
Are you using Microsoft Edge or rather another browser (if so, which one)? What motivated your choice?