What Is Microsoft Internet Explorer?

Although discontinued, IE is still a browser that gets used

Internet Explorer was for many years the default web browser for the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems. Microsoft has discontinued Internet Explorer and still maintains IE 11. Microsoft Edge replaced IE as the Windows default browser beginning with Windows 10, but IE is still a popular browser for people running older versions of windows.

About Internet Explorer

Microsoft Internet Explorer contains various internet connection, network file sharing, Active Scripting, and security settings. Among other features, Internet Explorer supports:

  • Proxy server configuration
  • VPN and FTP client capabilities
  • Remote administration

Internet Explorer received much publicity for several network security holes that were discovered in the past, but newer releases of the browser strengthened the browser's security features to fight phishing and malware. Internet Explorer was the most popular web browser in use worldwide for many years — from 1999 when it surpassed Netscape Navigator until 2012 when Chrome became the most popular browser. Even now, it is used by a lot of Windows users, though less than Microsoft Edge and Chrome. Because of its popularity, it is a popular target of malware.

Later versions of the browser were criticized for slow speed and stagnant development. 

Internet explorer icon

Microsoft

Versions of IE

A total of 11 versions of Internet Explorer were released over the years. IE11, which was released in 2013, is the last version of the web browser. At one time, Microsoft made versions of Internet Explorer for Mac's OS X operating system and for Unix machines, but those versions were discontinued as well.

FAQ
  • Can I still use Internet Explorer?

    Yes. The end-of-life date for Internet Explorer is June 15, 2022. After that, Microsoft will continue to support Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge through at least 2029.

  • Should I uninstall Internet Explorer?

    No. Removing Internet Explorer may cause problems with Windows. You can disable Internet Explorer by turning it off through the Windows Features settings.

  • Why does Internet Explorer open when I click a link in Chrome?

    Certain links will open in Internet Explorer if it is set as your default web browser. To make Chrome the default, open Chrome and select Menu > Settings > Default Browser > Make Google Chrome the default browser.

  • How do I change the default web browser in Windows?

    From the Windows Start menu, search for Default apps. Under Web browser, select the current default, then choose a new default browser.

Was this page helpful?