For some time, on Windows 10, Internet Explorer and Edge co-existed. Now, though, Microsoft is entirely removing Internet Explorer Windows. And the old-school browser is nowhere to be found on Windows 11.
So, what can you do if Internet Explorer isn’t available on your PC, but you need it to access a particular site or app?
Windows 11 users: use IE Mode in Edge Browser
Microsoft knows that Internet Explorer’s disappearance can break some sites and apps. Sites and apps that could be crucial for your line of work or at the heart of a company’s Intranet.
That’s why Edge comes with a semi-hidden Internet Explorer compatibility layer. Although it’s not a genuine replacement for Internet Explorer, it’s good enough to access those types of websites. To enable Edge’s Internet Explorer compatibility mode:
- Click on the button with the three dots on the top right of Edge’s window.
- Next, choose Settings (near the end of the menu that pops up).
- Select Default browser from the list on the “Settings” tab left.
- Go to the “Let Internet Explorer open sites in Microsoft Edge“ section under “Internet Explorer compatibility”.
- Use the dropdown menu to change the setting to Never. This will force Internet Explorer-compatible settings on sites and apps that need it.
- Also, change “Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode”. Instead of Default or Don’t allow, set it to Allow.
- In the next section, you can use the Add button to define which sites should open in Internet Explorer compatibility mode.
- Edge will ask you to input the page’s URL. Type the whole URL as you would in the browser’s address bar.
- Notice that, to minimize security risks, all pages you add have an expiration date. By default, they’ll keep opening in Internet Explorer-compatible mode for 30 days. After that, you’ll have to re-add them to this list.
Windows 10 or 8/8.1 users: install Internet Explorer using Windows Features
If you’re using a Windows version from 8 to 10, there is a process to recover Internet Explorer even if it was removed after an update. While Microsoft doesn’t offer Internet Explorer as a download for (almost all versions of) Windows, you can still find it hidden within your computer’s files.
- Using the Start menu’s search, search for “windows features”. When it locates Control Panel’s Turn Windows features on or off page, open it.
- When the Windows Features window shows up, locate Internet Explorer on the list. Place a checkmark on its left to mark it for re-addition to your Windows installation.
Note: you might have to restart your computer for the installation to complete. It’s best if you also take a full backup before tampering with OS-related features and apps.
We also should mention that you might have to repeat the process in the future. Quite possibly when Internet Explorer disappears (again?) after an update.
Windows 7 users: download Internet Explorer from Microsoft’s website
Edge is available for Windows 7, but Microsoft doesn’t try to keep that version of its OS secure anymore. If you’re still on Windows 7, but Internet Explorer’s gone missing, don’t worry. This is the only Windows OS where you can still officially download the original Internet Explorer.
- Visit Microsoft’s Internet Explorer download page. Ignore how it recommends you to try Edge while lacking a download link. That’s for the newer versions of Windows.
- Click on the Windows 7 tab, and you’ll see more details about how Edge is the way to go. And yet, lo and behold, a link to Internet Explorer Download Center will be available at the end of the page. So, click on it.
- Most people will want the first – and best – entry for downloading Internet Explorer. However, that’s for 64-bit versions of Windows. If you’re on a 32-bit version, scroll down to find another compatible version.
- Select the language you prefer from the dropdown menu. Then, select Download to start downloading Internet Explorer for your version of Windows 7.
When the download completes, run the installer. Follow the steps it presents to bring back Internet Explorer on your Windows 7 installation.
Time to Say Goodbye?
We should note that you should consider everything we saw as a temporary fix. Internet Explorer is officially unsupported software. If you still need it for your line of work, it’s time you started planning an upgrade.
Yes, “it still works for what you need”. However, Internet Explorer is obsolete and insecure. Its use in the future could lead to significant problems. You wouldn’t want hackers or malicious software accessing your data.
Until that upgrade, though, the solutions discussed here can be important if you need to access this deprecated browser.