Microsoft is finally ready to kill off Internet Explorer once and for all... for most people

Microsoft Edge on laptop and smartphone

Internet Explorer may be a stalwart of the world of web browsers, but it has also been an object of ridicule and derision for pretty much its entire life. Since the emergence of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, the writing has been on the wall for the browser just about everyone loves to hate, but IE has been lingering for longer than many people would have expected.

But now Microsoft is finally ready to pull the plug. Sort of. The company has announced that "the Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support on June 15, 2022, for certain versions of Windows 10". But what does this mean in practice, and will you be affected?

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For anyone who relies on Internet Explorer, there is little reason to panic. The end of support for Internet Explorer is still over a year away. But even when the big day rolls around, there is still Edge's IE Mode to fall back on -- something that will remain important for a still-large, but shrinking, number of organizations that are reliant on legacy apps and websites that need Internet Explorer.

Writing on the Microsoft Experience Blog, Sean Lyndersay says:

The future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 is in Microsoft Edge. Not only is Microsoft Edge a faster, more secure and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it is also able to address a key concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications. Microsoft Edge has Internet Explorer mode (“IE mode”) built in, so you can access those legacy Internet Explorer-based websites and applications straight from Microsoft Edge. With Microsoft Edge capable of assuming this responsibility and more, the Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support on June 15, 2022, for certain versions of Windows 10.

The company has unveiled a brief timeline of events. Following the announcement, Microsoft 365 and some other applications will stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 as of August 17 this year. But it is June 15, 2022 that is the important cutoff date; this is when the desktop application is officially retired.

The company is quick to point out that "this retirement does not affect in-market Windows 10 LTSC or Server Internet Explorer 11 desktop applications.”

Microsoft provides the following list of the platforms that will be affected next year

In scope at the time of this announcement (will be retired):

  • Internet Explorer 11 desktop application delivered via the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC):
    • Windows 10 client SKUs (version 20H2 and later)
    • Windows 10 IoT (version 20H2 and later)

Out of scope at the time of this announcement (unaffected):

  • Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer platform (MSHTML/Trident), including WebOC
  • Internet Explorer 11 desktop application on:
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU)
    • Windows 10 Server SAC (all versions)
    • Windows 10 IoT Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) (all versions)
    • Windows 10 Server LTSC (all versions)
    • Windows 10 client LTSC (all versions)

More information is available in an FAQ.

Image credit: DANIEL CONSTANTE / Shutterstock

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