Microsoft is cutting its support for older versions of Internet Explorer. Beginning in January of 2016, the company will only provide support for the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for your system.
The announcement came in a message to developers. That means no more support for Internet Explorer 8 – the highest version that will work with XP. This doesn’t mean the browsers will stop working suddenly, but there will be no more security patches and no bug updates. These versions cannot be protected from malicious attacks.
Starting in January 2016 the following versions of IE will be supported on the following systems:
Windows Vista SP2: Internet Explorer 9
Windows Server 2008 SP2: Internet Explorer 9
Windows 7 SP1 : Internet Explorer 11
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP 1 : Internet Explorer 11
Windows 8.1: Internet Explorer 11
Windows Server 2012 : Internet Explorer 10
Windows Server 2012 R2: Internet Explorer 11
Microsoft says security concerns are the main reason behind the policy. They point out that while Internet Explorer 8 has been shown to be 69% effective at protection against malicious software, Internet Explorer 11 is 99% effective.
And, no, your third-party security app cannot keep you protected. They get their information about how to patch vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer from Microsoft.
Microsoft also points out that the newest version of Internet Explorer conforms to modern web standards and will allow you to use existing web apps, sites and services with fewer issues. The company also hopes that familiarity with the latest version of IE will ease the migration to later versions of Windows as support for Vista and Windows 7 ends in the coming years.
The easiest way to make sure your browser is up-to-date is to enable automatic updates for Windows. Getting people to upgrade could prove to be a challenge of Windows XP proportions. According to NetMarketShare, Internet Explorer 8 is still running on nearly 22% of computers accessing the Internet. Internet Explorer 11 can be found on around 17% with IE 8 & 9 on about 15% of computers.
If you don’t want to upgrade our version of Internet Explorer, you can always switch to browsers like Chrome or Firefox. But know that these browsers won’t stay the same forever, either and at some point you will need to update to new versions.