Microsoft announced that it will be phasing out support for Edge Legacy and Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) web browsers. How the company is handling each phase-out differs. Here is what you need to know about Microsoft’s plans for these two browsers.
Microsoft introduced the Edge browser when it rolled out Windows 10 in July 2015. Several years later, the tech giant rebuilt the browser so that it uses the open-source Chromium engine, releasing it in January 2020. The company often refers to the Chromium-based web browser (version 79 and later) as the “new Microsoft Edge” and its predecessor (version 44 and earlier) as “Microsoft Edge Legacy”.
Microsoft will no longer support Edge Legacy after March 9, 2021. This means that the browser will not receive security updates after that date, leaving it defenseless against cyberattacks that exploit newly discovered vulnerabilities.
However, the new Edge will likely be on most Windows 10 computers long before March 9, 2021. Microsoft has been rolling it out through the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, which launched on May 27, 2020. This update automatically installs the new Edge on users’ computers, with several exceptions. It won’t automatically install the new Edge on managed devices or devices running the Enterprise, Education, or Workstation Pro Edition of Windows 10, according to Microsoft. This allows organizations using those devices to prepare for and control the installation of the browser.
When the new Edge is installed on a computer, it replaces Edge Legacy. This means users cannot revert back to the legacy version if they do not like the new Edge. Equally important, there is no option to uninstall the new Edge. “The new version of Microsoft Edge is included in a Windows system update, so the option to uninstall it or use the legacy version of Microsoft Edge will no longer be available,” stated Microsoft.
Not including an uninstall option has raised some eyebrows. However, other ways exist to remove it. Plus, if the new Edge hasn’t already been installed, businesses can use policies or the Blocker Toolkit to prevent its automatic installation on computers running the Home or Pro Edition of Windows 10.
IE 11 was rolled out through a Windows 8.1 update back in October 2013. Although this browser took a back seat to Edge when Windows 10 was launched, IE 11 has still been included and automatically kept up to date in the operating system. That is not going to change. “We want to be clear that IE 11 isn’t going away and that our customers’ own legacy IE 11 apps and investments will continue to work,” said Microsoft. “Customers have made business-critical investments in IE 11 legacy apps and we respect that those apps are still functioning.”
What is changing is customers’ ability to use IE 11 with Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) apps and services. Here are two important dates to remember if you are using IE 11:
- November 30, 2020. The Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support IE 11 starting on this date.
- August 17, 2021. The remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE 11 starting on this date.
Once these dates are reached, customers will be unable to use IE 11 to connect to many Microsoft 365 apps and services. If they are able to connect to a Microsoft 365 app or service, they will have a degraded experience. For example, they might find that new app features are not available or older features no longer work.
“While we know this change will be difficult for some customers, we believe that customers will get the most out of Microsoft 365 when using the new Microsoft Edge,” said the tech giant.
Is Your Business Still Using Edge Legacy or IE 11?
Big changes are coming soon for Edge Legacy and IE 11 users. If your business is using either of these web browsers, it is important to assess how the changes will impact your employees so you can plan accordingly. Contact us, we can help you with this assessment and work with you to come up with a strategy that ensures your business operations will continue to run smoothly.