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Microsoft suggests all users to update to Internet Explorer 11, even if you never use IE
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Microsoft suggests all users to update to Internet Explorer 11, even if you never use IE

by AshwinJanuary 16, 2016

Earlier this week, Microsoft ended support for some popular programs, as well as one infamous operating system.

IExplorer.exe and its DLLs
We are of course referring to Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 and Windows 8.

The problem with the end of support for the older versions is that, there are a lot of users who use them. They do so because it supports some features which are not available in IE 11, or simply because they don’t like it.

Yet, the number of Internet Explorer users is actually quite high, so most of them are likely to upgrade. It is the people who do not use IE, and use a different browser like Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox, that Microsoft is addressing with a recent announcement.

The Redmond company is advising users, to still update to Internet Explorer 11, even if you don’t use it, or don’t plan to.

Pat Altimore, a Microsoft Employee explained in a detailed post, why this is necessary. Internet Explorer is not merely a web browser, though it is what the main use of it is. IE also happens to be a system component, parts of which are used by other apps.

There are a few DLL Files, and an EXE file belonging to IE, which other apps need to work. Some of them are:

MSHTML.dll – JavaScript / HTML rendering engine
IEFrame.dll – Web Browser control
WinInet.dll – Windows Internet Protocol Handler
IExplore.exe – Browser application

An Update to Internet Explorer for example from 8 to 11, will update all of the above components.

Altimore provided an example to view the above components using Process Explorer, the famous Task MAnager app from Microsoft Technet’s  Windows Sysinternals. It allows you to view which DLLs are loaded when an app runs. As you can see from the image above, the 5 DLL files are displayed under the IExplore.exe process, with the IEFrame.dll being the one which loads the others.

Altimore created a test app called EmbeddedIE.exe to highlight, how an app accesses IE’s components. The image below shows the DLL files it uses, and they are the same ones as mentioned above.

Test app using the IE DLLs

When the older versions of IE reached their end, it also spelled the end of security updates for the apps, and in turn, it components which are used by other apps. Since only the latest version of Internet Explorer will get security updates, it is advised to update to IE 11 to get the newer versions of the associated DLL files.

Do NOT Uninstall Internet Explorer before updating it to version 11.

You can uninstall Internet Explorer 11, after you have updated to it though. This does not remove the other components, and neither does it uninstall IE, it is merely hidden.

These apps are essential for installing Windows Updates, so you literally have no choice but to install Internet Explorer 11.

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