Microsoft is ending Internet Explorer support in Windows 10 on June 15

It's the end of an era you probably won't miss.

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YICHANG, CHINA - MAY 22, 2021 - An Internet Explorer browser interface is displayed on a mobile phone in Yichang, Hubei province, China, May 22, 2021. Microsoft has announced that it will stop supporting its Internet Explorer browser. (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Internet Explorer is bowing out just short of its 27th birthday. As revealed last May, Microsoft will no longer support the Internet Explorer 11 desktop app for Windows 10's usual Semi Annual Channel as of June 15th. You'll still receive IE11 support if you're using Windows Server 2022 or an earlier OS release with a long-term service extension, but this marks the effective end of software updates for most people. Windows 11 doesn't include an IE desktop app.

The Edge browser's IE Mode will still receive support through 2029 or later, so you won't be stuck if you just need compatibility with the older web engine. Microsoft won't be subtle in pushing you toward its newer browser, however. The company will "progressively" redirect users from IE to Edge in the next few months, and will permanently disable the old software through a Windows update.

The deadline marks the end to a bittersweet chapter in Microsoft's history. Internet Explorer launched alongside Windows 95, and offered a first taste of the web to many people who hadn't already used early browsers like Netscape Navigator. It played a key role in popularizing the internet, and for some became synonymous with going online — it had 95 percent of usage share by 2003, and wasn't eclipsed by Edge until 2019.

However, Internet Explorer was also closely linked to some of Microsoft's worst practices. While bundling IE with Windows helped web newcomers, it also stifled competition. The US' 2001 antitrust case against Microsoft revolved around accusations that the company abused IE restrictions to maintain Windows' market dominance. The browser also developed reputations for poor security (particularly through ActiveX controls) and non-standard rendering that frequently forced website creators to optimize for IE. Microsoft eventually addressed some of IE's most glaring flaws, but the slow pace of that turnaround helped browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox rise to prominence — there's a reason why the current Edge browser is based on Chromium rather than in-house tech.

You probably won't miss IE much as a result. It's still hard to ignore the program's impact, though, and its flaws ultimately led to more browser choices as well as a shift toward true web standards. IE's legacy may persist for years to come.

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