It’s been in the air for some time now, but it’s finally happened.

Microsoft has announced it will stop supporting old versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) in January 2016, including IE 8 Users who want security fixes and updates after that will have to use the most current version for their particular system.

What this means is that those using IE 8 will be completely out of the loop in terms of support, while the number of people that will be able to use IE 9 and IE 10 will be drastically reduced.

Migrating From IE

Microsoft is not just cutting users off. It's giving those that insist on using older versions adequate time to move. It is also providing tools, guidance, and migration resources, as well as details about support timelines and advice on how to move to the best version of IE for the operating system they are working on.
Microsoft has always insisted that workers should upgrade to the latest versions of IE to get the best out of it. Clearly, though, the fact that it has to cut support for IE means that quite a lot of people are not paying attention. In a blog post about the end of IE supportRoger Capriotti, Director of Internet Explorer, points out thatusing up-to-date browsers is becoming more and more important as more and more devices are connected up.

"In today’s digital world, billions of people use Internet-connected devices, powered by cloud service-based applications, spanning both work and life experiences.Running a modern browser is more important than ever for the fastest, most secure experience on the latest Web sites and services, connecting anytime, anywhere, on any device," he said.

Why Upgrade?

Like the retirement early this year of Windows XP, the arguments for upgrading and doing away with the old version are many, not least of which is the fact that Microsoft won’t be offering security patches once the deadline date is over.

Capriotti points out that older browsers many not support web standards creating problems of browser fragmentation for Web site developers, while developers working can create and build more efficient apps and develop more accurate roadmaps if users are working off modern browsers.

A final benefit is that upgrading to the latest versions of IE eases the migration to Windows 8.1 updates and its use on tablets and other devices. Needless to say, new browsers are also more secure with IE 11, which offers better security through features like Enhanced Protected Mode. Itis also faster and works better with current apps and services like those offered with Office 365.

Learning Opportunities

After Jan. 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, or Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support," Capriotti said.

The following operating systems and browser version combinations will be supported:

2014_08-12 IE 8.jpg

Capriotti add that as some commercial customers have standardized on earlier versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft is introducing new features and resources to help them upgrade and stay current on the latest browser.

There are a a number of problems facing Microsoft, its users and IE, not least of which is the natural resistance by users to being told what to do, which became very clear around the Windows XP end of support.

There is also the fact that IE 8 was the default browser that came with the popular Windows 7 and that many enterprises built apps around that have yet to be updated.

This is without a doubt only the first warning about IE support. With Windows XP it took months to convince people that they need to move. However, Microsoft is starting to adopt the same approach that other browsers like Chrome have adopted by getting rid of older versions as newer ones come along.