Microsoft Is Retiring Internet Explorer on Windows 10 Next Year

Internet Explorer 11, the final version of Microsoft's venerable Internet browser, will fall out of support next year for select Windows 10 editions.

Microsoft announced last week that IE 11 will hit its end on June 15, 2022 for Windows 10 versions 20H2 and later, as well as on Windows 10 IoT versions 20H2 and later. The browser won't be removed by Microsoft, but no updates or security patches will arrive after that date, making it potentially insecure. Moreover, the IE 11 browser on those Windows 10 versions will "redirect to Microsoft Edge" after the June deadline, according to Microsoft's FAQ.

Even before the June 15, 2022 deadline for IE 11 on those Windows 10 versions, organizations and individuals will lose IE 11 support when the browser gets used with "Microsoft 365 and other apps." Issues will start to appear on Aug. 17, 2021, according to this Microsoft timeline:

[Click on image for larger view.] Desktop IE 11 end-of-support timeline for Windows 10 versions 20H2 and later. (Source: Microsoft's "Windows experience" blog)

IE 11 End-of-Support for Other Windows Versions
The general rule of thumb for IE's product lifecycle has been that that its support was tied to the underlying Windows lifecycle. Microsoft appears to be sticking with that theme.

For instance, the June 15, 2022 end-of-support date for IE 11 does not apply to the following Windows products:

  • 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)

Users of those Windows operating systems can continue to use IE 11 until the OSes fall out of support. For both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 ESU users, Windows end of support will occur on Jan. 10, 2023. Windows LTSC users will lose OS support on Jan. 9, 2029.

Switch to Edge or Another Browser
Organizations and individual are being encouraged by Microsoft to switch to the Microsoft Edge browser before IE 11's end date.

The Chromium-based Edge browser is said to provide a so-called "modern browser" experience, while also enabling IE Mode for backward capability. IE Mode emulates IE behaviors within Edge and can support Web apps that are still dependent on the older technologies, Microsoft contends.

If app compatibility issues remain when using Edge with IE Mode, Microsoft offers its App Assure service to resolve the issues. The App Assure service is free, but just for organizations with 150 or more licenses (Windows 10 or Microsoft 365).

Microsoft is actually aware that organizations are still dependent on Web apps that use older IE technologies. The announcement cited a Forrester Consulting survey that found "enterprises have 1,678 legacy apps on average."

IE Mode will be supported in Edge "through at least 2029," the announcement indicated. Microsoft's Trident engine in IE 11, called "MSHTML," will continue to be supported through that same period as it is part of IE Mode.

According to Microsoft's FAQ, there won't be any support exceptions offered when IE 11 reaches its end of life. Microsoft is planning to give a one-year advance notice of the browser's end.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.