Internet Explorer Still Does Not Go Away Today


June 15, 2022; 0 Comments

At the start of 2016 I wrote Internet Explorer Does Not Go Away Today because back then IE up to version 11 was being retired. But not Internet Explorer 11.

A warped light blue circle representing an E with deep molten gashes and fire spilling out and engulfing the bottom and right quadrants; the gap where the bowl of the E sits has a vague appearance of an eye. I asked an AI (Neural Blender) to give me a picture of the Internet Explorer logo on fire. It’s almost as if the AI was delighted to.

Today Microsoft will stop providing tech support and security updates for Internet Explorer 11 in some contexts. This doesn’t mean that the copy of IE11 on your client’s computer will suddenly uninstall itself. It marks an important milestone in the demise of Internet Explorer, but not the true end of its life.

Here is Microsoft’s original announcement (emphasis theirs):

…Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will be retired and go out of support on June 15, 2022, for certain versions of Windows 10.

Note: This retirement does not affect in-market Windows 10 LTSC or Server Internet Explorer 11 desktop applications. It also does not affect the MSHTML (Trident) engine. …

The future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 is in Microsoft Edge, May 19, 2021

Note that carve-out. Here is what instances of IE11 are excluded:

Out of scope at the time of this announcement (unaffected):

  • Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer platform (MSHTML/Trident), including WebOC
  • Internet Explorer 11 desktop application on:
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU)
    • Windows Server SAC (all versions)
    • Windows 10 IoT Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) (all versions)
    • Windows Server LTSC (all versions)
    • Windows 10 client LTSC (all versions)

[…]

In-market Windows 10 LTSC and Windows Server are out of scope (unaffected) for this change. Windows Server 2022 and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021 are also out of scope.

Internet Explorer 11 desktop app retirement FAQ, May 19, 2021, captured after the May 25, 2022 update

For Windows 10 IE11 users who are not in those carve-outs, the Windows Update process will disable those installations over time.

Microsoft is clear that you should not uninstall IE11 yourself. Edge relies on an IE11 mode for rendering sites that do not work in modern browsers (think corporate intranets), and removing IE11 will break that feature in Edge.

IE11 mode in Edge gives us insight into how long some aspect of IE11 will persist in the Windows ecosystem (emphasis mine):

Support for IE mode follows the lifecycle of current and future Windows client, Windows server, and Windows IoT releases (including Windows 11) at least through 2029.

Internet Explorer 11 desktop app retirement FAQ, May 19, 2021, captured after the May 25, 2022 update

What You Should Probably (Start/Continue to) Do

I am not advocating supporting IE11 specifically. If you are already building your sites in a progressively enhanced way then you are probably in good shape anyway. Maybe consider this approach for now:

Oracle VM Virtual Box with an IE11 Virtual Machine in the queue.

  1. Check the browser stats for the sites you support (don’t rely on global stats).
  2. Grab the free Internet Explorer 11 virtual machines that Microsoft provides for testing.
  3. Use those to support the browsers still coming to your site.
  4. Don’t be a jerk about IE11 users; many genuinely have no control over it.

Note that Gov.uk still saw half a percent of its traffic coming from Internet Explorer in May 2022, or roughly one-third of all its Firefox users. Your site is probably catering to a different audience, but it is illustrative to see how many IE users might still be in the wild.

Tags

browser, internet, Internet Explorer, rant, standards

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Earlier post: Keyboard-Only Scrolling Areas



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