Microsoft officially retired Internet Explorer 11 last year, ending support for the final version of the company’s original web browser. But now the company has gone a step further and “permanently disabled” the browser on many Windows 10 systems that still had it installed.
An update to Microsoft’s documentation for the IE11 retirement plan indicates that this update is rolling out via an update to Microsoft Edge, the company’s current web browser.
Anyone who tries to launch Internet Explorer after they’ve received the update will instead be redirected to Edge, and Microsoft says “users will be unable to reverse the change.”
The move makes sense from Microsoft’s perspective. The company was no longer providing feature or security updates for Internet Explorer, which means that continuing to use the browser could put users at risk of unpatched vulnerabilities.
But it’s also likely to pose problems for individuals and businesses that have been relying on legacy apps and services designed for Internet Explorer.
For example, I’d been using a copy of QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2016 for accounting purposes and hadn’t felt the need to upgrade to a newer version, especially after Intuit scrapped standalone license for QuickBooks and now requires users to pay for a subscription. But the version of QuickBooks I had been using required IE11 for some functionality and refuses to install on a system that doesn’t have Microsoft’s no-longer-supported web browser installed.
So when I bought a new computer last year I switched my accounting system from QuickBooks to the free and open source GnuCash. I’d been meaning to do that anyway, but had been putting it off due to a bit of a learning curve. So, thanks Microsoft?
Anyway, the new change probably won’t affect too many people. Internet Explorer’s market share has been shrinking for years, and Microsoft never even included the browser in Windows 11. So most people who have bought a new Windows computer in the last year and change probably don’t have the browser installed at all.