Internet Explorer backtrack means users can choose when final features are removed

Internet Explorer logo on a smartphone with a Microsoft logo in the background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Microsoft has revealed that users will be able to choose when they remove final Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) features from their devices. 

In an update this week, the tech giant said that IE11 visual references, including IE11 icons on the start menu and taskbar, will not be removed automatically in a forthcoming Windows update. 

Microsoft told users previously that an update scheduled for 23 May would remove all visual references as part of a security release. 

The backtrack means that users will be able to “maintain control” over when visual references will be removed, placing greater flexibility for this process in the hands of users. 

“Based on customer feedback, IE11 visual references, such as the IE11 icons on the Start Menu and taskbar, will no longer be removed by Windows update as previously communicated,” the firm said. 

“Organizations will continue to maintain control over determining the timing to remove IE11 visual references from their devices, if they have not already done so, by using the Disable IE policy.”

Changes to “exceptional scenarios” for Edge redirects

As part of its announcement, Microsoft also confirmed that it plans to implement changes preventing scenarios where IE11 is still accessible to the Edge browser. 

The move, expected to be made “over the next coming months”, will be explained fully in upcoming Windows and Edge release notes, Microsoft said. 

“Changes will be made over the next coming months to redirect a small subset of exceptional scenarios where IE11 is still accessible to Edge,” the firm said in its update. 

“This ensures users access a supported and more secure Microsoft browser. Details will be available in the Windows and Microsoft Edge release notes.”

Microsoft’s Edge push

Internet Explorer 11 has been officially out of support since June 2022 and was permanently disabled in a security update in February this year. 

Microsoft has been intent on pushing Microsoft Edge, the successor browser to IE for several years now, framing Edge as a browser that offers a “faster, more secure, and more modern web experience”.

IE11 still remains supported for some selected OS versions, including: 

  • 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)
  • Windows 10 China Government Edition
Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

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