Monday, 11 January 2016 18:16

Internet Explorer versions reaching end of support

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If you're on a currently supported version of Windows, it's time to check that you're also using a supported version of Internet Explorer. From Tuesday 12 January there will be no more security updates for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 on Windows 7 and 8.

Microsoft gave well over a year's notice that support would be ending for older versions of its Internet Explorer web browser, but time's almost up.

From 12 January, the company will only provide support and updates for Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7, 8 and 10. Windows 10 users also have the option of Microsoft's newer Edge browser.

Other combinations will remain in support, in line with Microsoft's support policy. Examples include IE9 on Vista SP2 or Server 2008 SP2, and IE7 on Windows Embedded for Point of Service.

The main problem with using an unsupported browser is that patches will not be released to fix any security holes that are discovered after support ends. There have been suggestions that black-hat security researchers hold back any vulnerabilities they discover shortly before a product goes out of support in order to maximise the effectiveness of the resulting exploits, as they will continue to work as long as the software remains in use, although not everyone subscribes to that idea.

One of the main reasons given for staying with old versions of Internet Explorer seems to be compatibility with old web-based software, sometimes embedded in obsolete hardware.

But according to Microsoft, "Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 offers better backward compatibility, enabling customers to run many legacy web applications designed for older versions of Internet Explorer."

Windows users can of course use other popular browsers including Firefox and Chrome.


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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