Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is finally reaching the end of the line tomorrow, June 15, with Microsoft retiring its legacy browser and urging users to migrate to Microsoft Edge. The company also offers an IE mode which allows you to run old websites and applications that necessarily need IE11 to function correctly.
Now, the results of a recent survey have surfaced, claiming that a whopping 47% of Windows 10 enterprise PCs "will" be affected by the retirement of IE11. This claim comes from Lansweeper, an IT asset management firm, which audited 9 million devices across 33,000 organizations.
Although Lansweeper says that 47% of Windows 10 PCs will be affected, it is important to clarify what the term "affected" means. In this case, it doesn't necessarily refer to Internet Explorer usage, it simply measures the share of supported versions of Windows 10 in enterprise environments, which will be affected in any use-case involving IE11 moving forward.
It definitely does not mean that 47% of Windows 10 PCs use IE11 right now. As such, we believe the terms "could" or "may" rather than "will" would make this claim more accurate.
The 47% figure simply comes from adding the version distributions of supported variants of Windows 10 in enterprise environments - the corresponding graphic from Lansweeper can be seen below. It is calculated by adding up 21.37% (21H2), 16.87% (20H2), and 8.06% (21H1).
Interestingly, only 21% of the Windows 10 PCs have the latest feature update installed, with version 2004 - released in May 2020 - leading the pack with a 29.67% share. If you're wondering why only three versions of Windows have the icon indicating "affected by IE11 End of Life", that is because other versions of Windows 10 have already run out of support.
Lansweeper's Chief Strategy Officer Roel Decneut had the following to say about the findings:
From our perspective, it's not a complete surprise that only a fifth of the Windows 10 devices are on the latest version, or that Internet Explorer EOL will affect so many.
There could be many reasons for organizations to delay upgrading, including being more conservative, having more pressing issues to deal with, or simply having no visibility into the version of operating systems they’re running. Organizations will need an overview of each device they own when Internet Explorer 11 support finally ends. Without this data, they’ll remain vulnerable.
After IE11 reaches end of support tomorrow, Microsoft will retire the browser in two phases. The first will redirect you to Edge each time you try to open IE11 directly or indirectly. It will also ensure that any applications using IE11 as the default browser are switched to Edge. Microsoft has emphasized that this will not be done through Windows Update, so there's no use in trying to block updates so you can bypass this redirection. The second phase, that will kick of immediately after the initial multi-month phase ends will disable IE11 entirely. However, IE11 won't be uninstalled as it still provides the MSHTML/Trident engine powering IE mode in Edge on Windows 10 devices.