The End of Internet Explorer Support – What It Means For Businesses
In early 2016, Microsoft will be ending all support for older versions of Internet Explorer in favor of their new Microsoft Edge browser and the latest versions of IE on older operating systems. The official date for the end of support is January 12, 2016, with updates to the software being offered through the standard Windows update. This is critical for small businesses that have relied on Internet Explorer for a decade or more, and suddenly see the rug being pulled out from underneath them. Depending on the current version of Internet Explorer that your business is using, you may be required to take a different path to ensuring that you have ongoing support for your business.
For most users (those that are running Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1/SP2), the transition should be somewhat seamless. You can upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, which is the latest version of the software, and includes ongoing security updates, bug fixes, and backwards compatibility with legacy web applications. For companies that use older operating systems or versions of internet explorer, there may be more steps involved in preparing for the switch.
The first step that any business needs to take to prepare for the end of IE support is to identify what operating system and version of IE they are currently using so that they can plan the next step. Here are the latest versions of Internet Explorer available on each version of Windows.
Windows Vista SP2: Internet Explorer 9
Windows 7 SP1: Internet Explorer 11
Windows 8.1: Internet Explorer 11
For versions of Windows that are older than these listed versions, you may want to consider updating to a new version of Windows, as support for your version of Internet Explorer will be ending soon.
Microsoft has announced that they will be continuing support for the Enterprise version of Windows and applications associated with it. In example, Windows 7 SP1 running Internet Explorer with Enterprise Mode will be supported through January 14, 2020. Companies that are running Enterprise Mode may not have to make any changes at this time.
Companies that are running Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1/SP2, or Windows 8.1, but not the latest version of Internet Explorer should start by running Windows Update and installing the latest version of the browser. If the update does not install the latest version, Microsoft makes updates available on their website.
The added benefit of this is that the latest versions of Internet Explorer are better all-around. They have less bugs. Their performance is better. They have additional features that were not available in the older versions of the software. Those, combined with the fact that it is backwards compatible means that there is no downside to updating.
The ultimate goal of Microsoft is to slowly push businesses to upgrading to Windows 10, the latest version of their operating system. Windows 10 features Microsoft Edge, a new browser that supplanted Internet Explorer with the release of Windows 10. Although there are many similarities between Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer (IE likely served as the backbone for Edge), Microsoft Edge has its own features and compatibility considerations. Although businesses are not required to update to Windows 10 in the immediate future to receive continued browser support, it is something worth considering.
Microsoft has made it clear that they will continue support Internet Explorer 11 for the foreseeable future, but their messaging indicates that as their products will eventually be phased out of their support processes as they age.
The end of IE support doesn’t have to be a daunting challenge for your small business. For most, a few small updates to their Windows and IE installations should secure ongoing support and also allow them to gain access to additional benefits.
If you are worried about the end of IE support and would like help navigating the updating process, please contact us today to schedule your consultation with our computer services experts.