Internet Explorer 11 was officially retired on June 15, 2022, with Microsoft asking people to use IE Mode in Microsoft Edge if they still need access to older pages. Microsoft has now confirmed when the regular Internet Explorer app will be (almost) completely removed.
Microsoft announced a multi-stage plan for Internet Explorer’s removal on Windows 10 earlier this year. Windows 11 never shipped with the browser, and Windows 8.1 isn’t in mainstream support anymore, so it’s only receiving critical security patches. The first part in the plan for Windows 10 was redirecting Internet Explorer functions to Edge — for example, IE is still present in the Start Menu, but clicking it opens Edge instead.
The next stage in the plan will start with the February 2023 security update for Windows 11, which is currently scheduled for February 14, 2023, and a preview build will be available on January 17. With that update, Internet Explorer icons on the Start Menu and taskbar will be removed, and any files or shortcuts that open in IE will be opened with Edge instead.
Even though the Internet Explorer application will become nothing more than a redirect, the browser’s engine is sticking around in all versions of Windows, since many applications use it to load embedded web content. Microsoft previously said it would support IE Mode in Edge until 2029 at the earliest, and there’s no timeline for the removal of the IE engine in Windows.