Microsoft will start automatically redirecting Internet Explorer users to its Edge browser over the next few months. Internet Explorer is being retired today, and consumers or businesses still using the browser will start to see a prompt soon that will redirect them to Microsoft Edge instead.
The prompt and redirect is the first step in fully removing Internet Explorer from existing PCs, and Microsoft plans to issue an update that will disable the aging browser in the future. “Eventually, Internet Explorer will be disabled permanently as part of a future Windows Update, at which point the Internet Explorer icons on their devices will be removed,” explains Sean Lyndersay, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise.
The redirect process to Edge will bring over data like passwords, favorites, and settings from Internet Explorer, and a “reload in IE mode” option will be presented in the toolbar to make it easy to access the special mode that Microsoft has built into Edge. IE mode supports older ActiveX controls that many legacy sites still use.
All currently supported versions of Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, Education, and IoT will be impacted by the Internet Explorer retirement today. Windows 11 already ships without Internet Explorer. “Internet Explorer will not be immediately removed on all these versions today but will be progressively redirected to Microsoft Edge on all these devices over the next few months,” says Lyndersay.
There will be a key exception, though. “For certain versions of Windows currently in-support and used in critical environments, we will continue to support Internet Explorer on those versions until they go out of support,” reveals Lyndersay. “These include all currently in-support Windows 10 LTSC releases (including IoT) and all Windows Server versions as well as Windows 10 China Government Edition, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 with Extended Security Updates (ESUs).”
Future versions of these editions of Windows won’t include Internet Explorer, and the underlying MSHTML (Trident) platform and COM controls in Windows will continue to be supported on all Windows platforms. Microsoft is also planning to support IE mode in Microsoft Edge “through at least 2029.”
Internet Explorer might technically live on for a little while longer, but the message from Microsoft is very clear: “the future of Internet Explorer is in Microsoft Edge.”