In our experience, many visitors to industrial websites use Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) — the default web browser installed on Windows-based computers since 1995. In which case, we thought readers might be interested to know that Microsoft has halted its support for all versions of IE other than the ones that are considered current for its supported operating systems, which include Windows Vista, 7, 8, Server, and Embedded OS.
If you use IE to browse the web, now would be a good time to make sure you are using the most current version of IE possible for your Windows operating system. Or, select a new web browser, such as the free Chrome and Firefox.
Not changing your browser or failing to upgrade IE to the most current iteration possible will leave those running unsupported versions of IE vulnerable to technical glitches and web security threats. Computer World estimates that 340 million people could be affected, essentially leaving them with an unsecure web browser unless they take action.
Versions of Internet Explorer That Are Still Supported
Here’s a complete list of Windows operating systems Microsoft currently supports, along with the versions of IE that should be run on those systems in order to stay up to date with Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle policy.
|Windows Desktop Operating Systems||Internet Explorer Version|
|Windows Vista SP2||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows 7 SP1||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows 8.1 Update||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server Operating Systems||Internet Explorer Version|
|Windows Server 2008 SP2||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows Server 2008 IA64 (Itanium)||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 IA64 (Itanium)||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server 2012||Internet Explorer 10|
|Windows Server 2012 R2||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Embedded Operating Systems||Internet Explorer Version|
|Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS)||Internet Explorer 7|
|Windows Embedded Standard 2009 (WES09)||Internet Explorer 8|
|Windows Embedded POSReady 2009||Internet Explorer 8|
|Windows Embedded Standard 7||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Embedded POSReady 7||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Thin PC||Internet Explorer 8|
|Windows Embedded 8 Standard||Internet Explorer 10|
|Windows 8.1 Industry Update||Internet Explorer 11|
Upgrading Your Version of Internet Explorer
The easiest way to upgrade your version of IE is to turn on automatic upgrades. For instructions on how to do that, please visit this page on the Microsoft site.
You can also manually download updates for all supported versions of IE through Microsoft’s Download Center.
Handling the Transition with Business Applications
For most IE users, this transition shouldn’t be a big deal. It simply means taking the time to upgrade your version of the browser or switching to a new web browser. However, many businesses continue to run web applications that are dependent on older versions of IE — particularly IE 8 — that will no longer be supported.
Microsoft’s solution for these users is to upgrade to IE 11, which features an Enterprise Mode that “enables customers to run many legacy web applications,” according to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Team Blog. Furthermore, in another post, the IE Team affirms that Enterprise Mode “will be supported through the duration of the operating system lifecycle. . . . to help customers extend existing Web app investments and ease the transition to the latest version of Internet Explorer.”
The Impact of Ending Internet Explorer Support
This mandatory browser update from Microsoft is no doubt going to turn a lot of people off of Microsoft’s once ubiquitous browser, even if it remains supported. It’s already happening, with IE browser market share dipping below the 50% mark — to 48.57% — last month for the first time in years according to Netmarketshare.
And it seems unlikely that traditional IE users abandoning the aging browser will flock to Microsoft’s new Edge browser, which is already seeing poor adoption among Windows 10 users. Chrome and Firefox, on the other hand, are poised to make gains, with Chrome likely leading the way for businesses given its integrations with Google business applications.
One question that people don’t seem to be asking, though, is: What’s going to happen to Bing? Back in 2011, Search Engine Land posted that 75% of Bing users came from IE, mainly because IE came preconfigured with Bing as its default search engine. If IE ceases to be such a behemoth, Bing’s steady 20% share of the search market will likely begin to decline. In which case, it may be time to reevaluate the idea of using that Microsoft product as well.