Geek Speak: Is Your Browser on the Naughty or Nice List?


If your organization is still using Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8, you just might be on the naughty list.  Next month, Microsoft will only be supporting certain newer operating system and Internet Explorer browser combinations.  See the full list here.

What’s the overall take? 

On January 12, 2016, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support and security updates for all but the most recent version of Internet Explorer that is available for each version of its desktop operating system.  IE7 and IE8 support will drop of completely no matter what operating system they run on.  The browsers will still function, but they will no longer receive security updates, which is risky business considering the amount of patches are currently implemented monthly to protect users from critical vulnerabilities.

Why the new browser restrictions? 

The overarching reason given is to better protect users from security threats and improve website features and performance, but it’s no secret that the browser support restrictions will also vastly reduce Microsoft’s support costs. The official reason for the new requirements can be read in a lengthy blog post by Roger Capriotti (IE marketing leader).  According to Capriotti, "Running a modern browser is more important than ever for the fastest, most secure experience on the latest Web sites and services."

Who will this impact the most?

Consumers will be minimally impacted as they tend to auto-update browsers anyway.   Commercial customers with older internal web applications have the most at stake if they do not prepare for the upgrade.  Many have been using workarounds for years to avoid upgrading browsers due to complications that arise when testing their internal applications with new browsers.  In addition to ensuring functionality of internal applications on an upgraded browser, many enterprises will require even more time to make the update for compliance reasons.

Are there any alternatives to upgrading?

If it's problematic for an organization to upgrade their IE browsers, there may be a few options for consideration:
  • Microsoft's Enterprise Mode for IE 11 – This mode offers backward compatibility and allows you to run some legacy web applications by emulating older browser technologies.  Enterprise Mode will help many customers extend existing web app investments and will be supported through January 14, 2020.
  • Support Agreements through Microsoft Services – If an organization is stuck on an older version of IE, a pricey custom support contract with Microsoft Services may be the only option.

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