After nearly three decades, Microsoft has officially retired its operating system, Internet Explorer (IE), once a gateway to the internet.
In 1995, IE gave the world unrestricted access to a web of global information with the simple click of a mouse and a modest wait time.
But on Wednesday, Microsoft announced it will no longer support the application on certain versions of its Windows 10 operating system. The Redmond, California-based company explained updating the system periodically simply did not make good business sense.
Instead, Microsoft is encouraging users to switch to Microsoft Edge with Internet Explorer mode (IE mode). Microsoft Edge has IE mode built in, so users can access legacy Internet Explorer-based websites and applications straight from Microsoft Edge.
Sean Lyndersay, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, frames the change as a move from the 20th century to the present.
“Not only is Microsoft Edge a faster, more secure, and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, it is also able to address a key concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications,” Lyndersay wrote in a May 2021 blog post.
The platform was once the leader among internet browsers, debuting as an add-on to the Windows 95 Operating System. In the early 2000s, IE commanded over 90% of the browser market. That number now sits at 2.15%, after the rise of Safari, Firefox, and Google Chrome.
Fast forward to the June 15 blog post, and the company claims Microsoft Edge is the best browser for Windows — designed for today’s rapid internet versus the days of slow and loud dial-up, and a “faster, more secure and modern browser” that incremental improvements to Internet Explorer were incapable of matching.
The company wants a smooth transition for users making the move from Internet Explorer to Microsoft Edge IE mode.
Microsoft will disable Internet Explorer permanently via future Windows updates. As part of the redirection process, users will have their data, like bookmarked websites, passwords, and settings, imported from Internet Explorer.
“This will help make the transition to Microsoft Edge both familiar and simple,” said Lyndersay. “If a user wants to delete or manage their data at any point after, they can always do so in Microsoft Edge from the Settings menu.”
While the company retired the old operating system, Microsoft said it will support the Microsoft Edge IE mode applications feature until 2029, giving users seven years to make the upgrade from the original IE to the new, enhanced version.
A list of Windows operating systems impacted by the change can be found here.