Microsoft has decided to allow customers to choose when the last bits of Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) will be removed from their devices.
This comes after IE11 was disabled across some Windows 10 platforms when installing a Microsoft Edge update released on February 14.
It also follows previous warnings from June and December 2022 that the legacy web browser would be permanently disabled via a Windows update.
“Organizations will continue to maintain control over determining the timing to remove IE11 visual references from their devices, if they have not already done so, by using the Disable IE policy,” Microsoft said today.
“Over the coming months a small subset of exceptional scenarios where IE11 is still accessible will be redirected to Edge, ensuring users access a supported and more secure Microsoft browser,” the company added.
Microsoft previously planned to remove all IE11 visual references (including icons on the taskbar and the Start Menu) with the May non-security preview release scheduled for May 23.
Since the February 14 Edge update removed IE11, users are being told that “The future of Internet Explorer is in Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer (IE) has been retired and is no longer supported.”
Microsoft first announced that IE11 support would be dropped in Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 in August 2020. The company only published an official retirement announcement almost a year later, in May 2021.
IE11 has been automatically launching Microsoft Edge when visiting incompatible sites starting in October 2020.
The complete list of incompatible sites includes 7,604 web domains belonging to many online platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Drive, and many more.
Even though it no longer ships with Windows 11 and has been officially retired from multiple Windows 10 versions on the semi-annual channel (SAC) servicing channel, the legacy IE11 browser will remain available on Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU), Windows 8.1, and all versions of Windows 10 client LTSC, Windows Server SAC, Windows Server LTSC, and Windows 10 IoT LTSC.
Microsoft has been urging customers to make the switch to Microsoft Edge with IE mode for years, as it enables backward compatibility and will receive support until at least 2029.
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