Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9 no longer supported by Microsoft

From 12 January 2016, Microsoft ended its technical support for old versions of its Internet Explorer browser. Only the latest versions, IE 11 and Edge are still supported. According to BBC News, it is estimated that the older versions of IE 7, 8 and 9 account for 20% of all web traffic. Computerworld states that out of all IE users, just over half (55%) are using the latest version. This means that millions of users (340 million according to Computerworld figures) are now using an unsupported browser to surf the net, which could become vulnerable to increasing security attacks.

Millions still using Windows XP

Many of these users may be reliant on an older version because they are still using the old Microsoft operating system Windows XP, which is not compatible with the more modern browsers. Microsoft ended support for XP in April 2014 but a year later, in Apr 2015, 17% of all Internet users were still using Windows XP.

The trouble for end users is that some applications were built for Windows XP and will no longer work if they upgrade or would require an investment in a newer version. If the software is business-critical, then many companies will choose to stick with the old system as long as it still works. Why fix it if it ain’t broken? Windows XP and now IE 7-9 no longer receive security patches from Microsoft, though, and there’s one good reason to ditch the old and get to safer waters. Also, the longer users wait, the greater the investment when they finally bite the bullet and upgrade. At the moment upgrading to Windows 10 from 7 or 8 is free but XP users have to pay for the new operating system.

Old browsers block access to the best tools

There is another reason to stay ahead of the game. In the age of ‘the cloud’ and web based software, many of the most innovative applications and solutions will not run correctly on antiquated web browsers, which makes adopting new tools difficult. Old versions of IE have always been the Achilles heel for web developers, who are keen to exploit all the newest frameworks and coolest new hacks but then find that a proportion of their user base are limited to old browser software and can’t use the new tools.

To benefit from the best tools out there and the iterative upgrades that subscription software offers, it’s important to keep your browsers up-to-date. The great thing is that most software providers are moving away from desktop installations and that means incremental updates are applied to your software regularly without needing to buy a new version. The updates are included in your recurring subscription fee – as long as you keep your OS and browser up-to-date!