RIP Internet Explorer, the early web’s favorite bad browser

Windows is officially letting its iconic (and notorious) web browser go to the great Recycle Bin in the sky.

It’s time to say goodbye to Internet Explorer: our pain, our portal, our adversary, our old friend. After 27 years, Microsoft is pulling the plug on the beleaguered browser. Goodnight, sweet prince, may your memory be a blessing. That said, if it never really worked, can it ever really retire?

Internet Explorer was born into a world where Netscape Navigator dominated — a 1990s world wide web that might as well have been called the wild wild west. Even back in the early days, columnists were disparaging the browser, pondering questions like how it had “such a large market share when it is so bad?” and comparing the browser to a “boorish neighbor who invites himself over to your house, rearranges the furniture, grabs the remote control and starts helping himself to what’s in the fridge.”

The end of an error — Its first decade saw its rapid rise to prominence: By 2003, Internet Explorer had a stunning 95 percent usage share, in large part due to Microsoft’s controversial practice of lumping it in with Windows operating systems (not unlike that time U2 forced an album on iPhone users in 2014).

But nothing lasts forever. Its slow speed became fodder for internet jokes, and its impracticality for developers inspired decades of migraines. By the late aughts, its popularity was plummeting as users switched to Google’s Chrome browser in droves. Internet Explorer, once front and center, was relegated to menial tasks like downloading other browsers and executing searches that are too embarrassing to have in your main browser’s history (i.e. your ex’s name, porn, etc.) Oh, also it hasn’t been updated with new features since 2016.

Rest easy — So we can’t really say we didn’t see this death coming. But even though the browser is practically defined by how terrible it was to use, there’s something nostalgic about it. Maybe I’ll go tell Internet Explore that it can not be my default browser one last time, just for old time’s sake.

If you’re still using Internet Explorer, you can use Microsoft’s swankier browser, Edge, instead, which can emulate the Internet Explorer experience; “Microsoft is committed to supporting Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge through at least 2029, on supported operating systems,” according to the Microsoft docs. It’s also possible to download a Chrome extension that brings Internet Experience to Google Chrome, but just because you can doesn't mean you should — I’m just telling you your options.

Input will be throwing a funeral for Internet Explorer in the same style as Microsoft’s 2010 “funeral” for the iPhone upon the launch of its Windows Phone 7: There will be a hearse and a coordinated dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Just kidding... maybe.