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TL;DR: Microsoft is permanently scrubbing Internet Explorer from Windows 10 and the disinfection starts today. As highlighted in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 11 desktop app retirement FAQ, IE11 will be permanently disabled on certain versions of Windows 10 through an update that starts rolling out on February 14. It will take a few days for the update to propagate but once finalized, it is… well, final.
Microsoft notes that users will not be able to reverse the change. Trying to load the desktop app after the update will simply redirect users to Microsoft Edge. Favorites, passwords, browsing history, cookies and other browser data will automatically be transferred over to Edge and can be further managed in the browser's settings.
Any visual remnants of IE11, like icons on the Start Menu and taskbar, will be removed as part of the June 2023 Windows security update due out on June 13.
The change will impact most (but not all) versions of Windows 10. IE11 will remain in-support Windows 10 IoT long-term servicing channel (LTSC), Windows 10 client LTSC and Windows 10 China Government Edition (apparently that is a thing).
According to StatCounter, 68.75 percent of desktop Windows users are still running Windows 10. Despite the high market share, most users have likely already moved on from IE11 to something newer like Edge or one of several other alternatives.
Redmond did not ship a version of Internet Explorer with Windows 11 so if you are already running Microsoft's latest operating system, don't expect any changes. If you recall, Microsoft officially retired IE11 last year but is only now putting the final nail in the coffin.
It is worth mentioning that Microsoft Edge has a built-in compatibility mode for legacy sites and apps that still rely on Internet Explorer, and has committed to supporting IE mode until at least 2029. We have a full guide on how to set up and get the most out of IE mode in Edge should you need it.
Image credit: Philipp Katzenberger, Denny Muller