“Starting January 12, 2016, Microsoft will support only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system.”
— ZDNet Article from August, 2014
We hear of a fixed date in time and it seems to be so far away, until one day, it’s right on our doorstep.
Microsoft announced the end of mainstream support of Internet Explorer in 2014, and set a date: January 12, 2016. After this date, all versions of Internet Explorer older than Internet Explorer 11 will no longer be supported.
The distance from 2014 to 2016 seems pretty long, doesn’t it? And yet, here we are. The clock is ticking on all versions of Internet Explorer except for the most recent version: Internet Explorer 11. What does that mean for you?
The Microsoft Lifecycle
All Microsoft Windows products have a lifecycle, which begins on their release date and ends with their end of support date.
For operating systems, the lifecycle has generally been five years. Historically, browser lifecycles were longer, but in 2014 Microsoft adopted a new policy regarding browsers in relation to operating systems. In order to encourage users to use the most updated browser version compatible with their operating system, Microsoft has married operating systems with specific versions of browsers; only specific versions of Internet Explorer linked to a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates.
What does “End of Support” mean?
When a Microsoft product reaches the end of support, you can no longer expect to receive automatic fixes, security or non-security updates, online technical assistance, or free or paid assisted support from Microsoft for that product. If you continue to use an unsupported version of Internet Explorer past the end of support date, you will be vulnerable to any security issues that might arise, including malware, viruses, and exploits triggered by hackers intent on stealing data from you.
How does End of Support affect Internet Explorer 11?
The last version of Internet Explorer is IE 11, which will continue to receive technical support, compatibility fixes, and security updates ONLY with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. If you are running Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 and are using an older version of Internet Explorer, the time to upgrade to IE 11 is now.
What version of Internet Explorer do I have?
If you’re not sure what version of IE you’re using, it’s a pretty simple test. Just open up Internet Explorer and search the question above, and your search results will return with the answer to the question. When you click the link provided, you’ll not only learn which version of IE you’re using, you’ll also find some valuable information about how to check in the future as well as instructions for turning on automatic updates – which will help keep your browser version up-to-date.
The best way to keep your browser updated to the most current version is to turn on automatic updates. Most home users and a large number of small-to-medium businesses have updates triggered automatically; it’s a simple matter to set these updates if not. Enterprise users may need additional guidance from their IT services provider.
If Internet Explorer 11 isn’t your current browser, you only have a short window of time to upgrade before Microsoft ends support. Upgrade to IE 11 now, and take advantage of the increased reliability and security that such an upgrade can provide.