How to Activate and Use Internet Explorer on Windows 11

Despite Microsoft officially retiring Internet Explorer in June 2022, there remains a necessity for accessing legacy websites, particularly those associated with governmental and financial institutions, which rely on older web frameworks. This guide elaborates on three distinct methodologies to enable and operate Internet Explorer on Windows 11, thus facilitating access to these essential services.

Internet explorer on windows 11

Open Internet Explorer via Control Panel

A method discovered allows the activation of Internet Explorer on Windows 11 without the need for downloading additional software. This approach, although not universally applicable across all Windows 11 builds, has been successfully implemented on the latest stable and developer versions.

Internet properties for internet explorer
  1. Press the Windows key to access the Start menu.
  2. Enter Internet Options in the search bar and select the corresponding app from the results.
  3. In the Internet Options window, navigate to the Programs tab.
  4. Click on Manage add-ons within the settings section.
  5. In the resulting Manage Add-ons window, scroll to the bottom and select the Learn more about toolbars and extensions link, which should automatically launch Internet Explorer.
Internet explorer manage add-ons

Keep in mind that this trick may not be compatible with some Windows 11 builds, but it has proven to be successful on the latest Windows 11 stable and dev builds.

Creating a Visual Basic Script (VBS) Shortcut

For those requiring the traditional functionality of Internet Explorer, a Visual Basic Script (VBS) provides a direct method. This process is confirmed to work on the most recent stable version of Windows 11 Pro, version 22H2.

Procedure to Create a VBS Shortcut:
  1. Open Notepad and insert the following script: CreateObject("InternetExplorer.Application").Visible=true
  2. Navigate to File > Save as, adjusting the Save as type dropdown to All files.
  3. Name the file Internet Explorer.vbs and save it to a desired location, such as the Desktop.
  4. Double-clicking the VBS file will launch Internet Explorer 11 directly.

Enabling Internet Explorer Mode in Microsoft Edge

For those utilizing Microsoft Edge as their primary browser on Windows 11, but occasionally need to access Internet Explorer-specific sites, Microsoft Edge’s Internet Explorer mode offers a seamless solution.

Microsoft edge internet explorer mode
  1. Open Microsoft Edge and access the settings via the 3-dot menu in the upper-right corner.
  2. In the settings menu (left pane), select Default Browser.
  3. Adjust the Allow sites to be reloaded in Internet Explorer mode (IE mode) setting to Allow, and then restart Edge.
  4. Return to the same settings, click on Add next to Internet Explorer mode pages, and input the full URL of the desired webpage, ensuring to include “https://” or “http://” at the beginning.
  5. The specified URL, when opened in Edge, will now load in Internet Explorer mode.

Conclusion

The discontinuation of Internet Explorer necessitates alternative approaches for accessing legacy websites on Windows 11. Through the methods described, users can efficiently activate and utilize Internet Explorer, ensuring continued access to crucial digital services. It is crucial, however, to limit the use of Internet Explorer strictly to these legacy sites due to potential security vulnerabilities. By adhering to these guidelines, users can bridge the gap between modern operating systems and older web technologies, maintaining both functionality and security.

author avatar
Derick Payne
My name is Derick Payne. With a deep-seated passion for programming and an unwavering commitment to innovation, I've spent the past 23 years pushing the envelope of what's possible. As the founder of Rizonetech and Rizonesoft, I've had the unique opportunity to channel my love for technology into creating solutions that make a difference.

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