Microsoft has announced that it will begin automatically redirecting users of Internet Explorer to the new Edge browser beginning next month. The move comes in response to poor usage of Internet Explorer, which has come to be seen as an inferior product in comparison to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Microsoft says that the change will have no effect on its customers, although some experts have noted problems with this strategy in the past when similar actions were taken by Google and Mozilla. Microsoft to Automatically Redirect IE Users to Edge

What will happen

The next time you launch Internet Explorer, Microsoft will automatically redirect you to a new web browser called Edge. According to The Next Web, Microsoft has confirmed that it will automatically redirect users from IE11 and earlier versions of Internet Explorer when they upgrade their computer with Windows 10. The auto-redirection won’t be mandatory for all users; some people can choose not to use Edge in favor of their favorite browser. However, Windows 10 offers an upgrade from Windows 7 and 8 systems, so anyone who wants access to Cortana must install one of those browsers on their current operating system or roll back their system and then run a fresh install.

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The reason behind the change

As part of Microsoft’s push towards a unified Windows 10 operating system, it looks like Internet Explorer will no longer be supported. The company has announced that starting in January 2016, any new features added to its web browser will only be available on its brand-new browser, which comes pre-installed with Windows 10.

Microsoft to Automatically Redirect IE Users to Edge
Microsoft to Automatically Redirect IE Users to Edge

Existing users have three options: switch over to Windows 10 and its default browser Edge, go back to an older version of Internet Explorer or continue using Internet Explorer as is. As a side note, Edge does run extensions similar to Chrome, so if you’re already a fan of Chrome extensions, you may want give it a try. You can download a copy of your favorites here.

How can you disable it?

For now, users have no way of disabling Microsoft’s decision. As soon as an Internet Explorer user tries going to any website, Microsoft will redirect them to a special page that reminds them about Edge. To disable it for now, simply type about:config in your browser address bar and press Enter. Type browser-link.enabled into the search box at left and double-click it once you see its value is set to True. You can toggle its value back to False by right-clicking on it and selecting Toggle before closing out of Settings and returning to your normal browsing experience. (Unfortunately, there are some important caveats with using that method.)

What do I do if I want to use an alternative browser?

If you’re a fan of Firefox or Chrome, don’t worry—you can still use either browser. While Microsoft will automatically redirect Internet Explorer users to Windows 10’s default browser, it won’t block access to third-party software altogether. That means that even if you choose not upgrade your operating system, you can download another browser and continue using it. It should be noted that Microsoft does make other browsers available for Windows 10, including Internet Explorer 11 and its own Edge. If you want a full list of all options available for free, check out our round up here: Best Browsers 2015: The 5 Absolute Best Free Browsers You Can Download Right Now

Microsoft to Automatically Redirect IE Users to Edge
Microsoft to Automatically Redirect IE Users to Edge

Will this change in the future?

Despite saying that Internet Explorer will be gone, Microsoft says it plans to keep it around as a legacy browser in some fashion. It sounds like they’ll shift more of their focus toward making and supporting only modern versions of browsers like Edge. A Microsoft spokesperson told us: As we look forward, we will continue to support our customers and provide them with multiple options for how they run their businesses and use our services. As part of that commitment, we are working on a solution for small business customers who rely on Windows Server 2008 for hosting websites or applications.

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What will happen with IE on Windows 10 S?

For those who aren’t familiar, Windows 10 S is a special edition of Windows 10 that’s locked to using Microsoft apps like Bing and Edge. By default, IE11 isn’t included in that list—but that may soon change. Microsoft announced plans yesterday to automatically redirect users running Windows 10 S from Google Chrome (or any other browser besides Edge) over to Microsoft’s own browser. While there are no major downsides for users who still want access to Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Opera when using their operating system (and you could always just switch over to Windows 10 Pro if you really wanted), it does mean internet providers will have less reason to continue supporting older versions of Internet Explorer on their network.

What can you do today if you want to switch away from using MSIE as your primary browser?

Well, there are still a lot of people using MSIE, but when you look at statistics about browser use, it’s clear that most people are moving toward using Chrome. It’s not quite at 50% yet, but with all browsers combined, Google Chrome is definitely eating away at Microsoft’s Internet Explorer usage share. So what can you do today if you want to switch away from using MSIE as your primary browser? Maybe it’s time for a change!

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The bottom line.

While many people have already moved on from Internet Explorer, a large contingent of Windows users continue to rely on Microsoft’s browser. However, that’s about to change in a big way. As part of its efforts to push people toward using its new browser—Edge—Microsoft is taking steps that will make it more difficult for users of Internet Explorer (IE) 11 and below (as well as those using some other browsers) to do their online business. Starting October 31, 2016, Windows 10 and 8.1 users who don’t install Edge will be automatically redirected by default when they click on a link in IE or another non-Edge browser with Click here for Microsoft Edge as an alternative if they are not already running it.

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