Microsoft revealed in 2014 that it plans to end support for older versions of its Internet Explorer web browser starting January 12, 2016.
The company will only support the most recent version of Internet Explorer for supported versions of the Windows operating system, Windows Server and Windows embedded systems from January 2016 on.
Older versions will no longer receive technical support or security updates once the new policy goes live in January 2016
Internet Explorer supported versions as of January 12, 2016
The Life Cycle of Internet Explorer for all supported operating systems is listed on Microsoft's Lifecycle website.
|Operating System||Internet Explorer Version|
|Windows Vista SP2||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows 7||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows 8.1||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows 10||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server 2008 SP||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows Server 2008 IA64||Internet Explorer 9|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 IA64||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Server 2012||Internet Explorer 10|
|Windows Server 2012 R2||Internet Explorer 11|
|Windows Embedded for Point of Server (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|
The move has significant consequences. Users for one may need to upgrade to the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for their operating system.
Internet Explorer 11 is the default browser on updated versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, but it is not the default on Windows 7 or Windows Vista.
Upgrades to Internet Explorer 11 are available for Windows 7 and users who want to keep systems running the operating system secure need to run these updates to ensure that. Since other programs may use Internet Explorer's rendering engine, it is not enough to simply ignore the browser if it is not used.
Microsoft never released Internet Explorer 10 or 11 for Windows Vista which means that users on Vista systems are stuck with Internet Explorer 9. The company continues to support IE9 on Vista (and Windows Server 2008), and will do so until support for Windows Vista ends on April 11, 2017.
The most recent version of Internet Explorer for supported operating systems is available via Windows Update, or as a direct download on Microsoft's website on the Internet.
Microsoft Edge, the company's new web browser is not affected by the policy as it is only available for Windows 10 since it has not been released for older versions of the Windows operating system.
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