updated 01:43 pm EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Most recent version of Internet Explorer required for updates, support for IE8 dropped
Microsoft announced last week that it would be changing its support policy in regard to Internet Explorer. Outlined in the change is migration guidance for versions of Windows past XP, which excludes any further support for Internet Explorer 8. The software giant is urging users to enable Windows Updates to keep up with the most recent updates to Internet Explorer.
"After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates," said Director of Internet Explorer Roger Capriotti. "For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9 or Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support."
Stating that keeping an updated browser is important to system security and cloud-based services, Microsoft is pushing users to migrate to the most recent version of Internet Explorer their specific flavor of Windows can run. Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 will need to be running Internet Explorer 9. Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 should be using Internet Explorer 11. Only Windows Server 2012 is listed as considering Internet Explorer 10 the most recent version.
Essentially, the news means that support for Internet Explorer 8 is being dropped completely. The five-year old version of the browser was released in 2009 to be used with Windows XP and Vista, and will be seven years old when support is dropped. With operating system level support being stopped for Windows XP and Vista supporting newer versions of Internet Explorer, there isn't much of a reason for Microsoft to continue supporting it. However, as ZDNet points out, Internet Explorer 8 is still the most-used browser worldwide, with more than a 21 percent share of web traffic, according to information from Netmarketshare.
Microsoft has said that not only is it important for consumers to upgrade, but for developers as well. End users can see the greatest benefits from Internet Explorer 11, with its higher security rating compared to older versions, but also because it sports the latest technology. Developers can benefit from the security and technology as well, but the support for modern web standards is the key reason developers should want consumers to use the most up-to-date version possible. It can help reduce market fragmentation as well.
It was added that Enterprise Mode, a browser mode that allows backward compatibility, would be extended through the end of life of the operating system. For example, Enterprise Mode would be would supported through January 2020 on Windows 7.