Internet Explorer 11 Or Bust!

Category: Browsers

Beginning January 12, 2016, Microsoft will end tech support and security updates for versions of Internet Explorer earlier than version 11. To be sure your browser is as safe as possible, you should upgrade to the latest version of IE that your version of Windows supports, if you haven’t already done so. (Chrome and Firefox users may need to take action as well.) Read on...

Is Your Web Browser Obsolete?

To see what version of IE you are currently running, open IE and click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner. At the bottom of the drop-down menu, click on “About Internet Explorer.” Up will pop a window showing what version of IE is installed. Note the checkbox that enables automatic updates of IE; you may want to check it.

With this news from Microsoft, users of Windows 7 and higher MUST upgrade to IE 11. To update your Internet Explorer to version 11, you can run Windows Update and accept the IE 11 update it will offer. Alternatively, you can manually download IE 11 and install it, using the IE Download Page.

There are a couple of exceptions to the "Download IE 11 Now or Else" directive. First, users running Windows Vista cannot install IE 11 or even IE 10. If you're on Vista, use the link above to install IE 9, which will continue to be supported (on Vista only) through April 2017.

obsolete browsers

Things look even worse for XP users. IE 8 is the latest version of Internet Explorer that will run on XP. Even if you wanted to install IE 11 on your XP system, you can't. So Windows XP diehards will be in even greater danger if they don’t update their operating systems. There will be no XP-compatible Microsoft browser that receives security updates after January 12, 2016.

XP users will have to switch to an alternative browser to navigate the Web (somewhat) safely. But Google has announced they are dropping support for Chrome on XP and Vista in April 2016. Mozilla Firefox will continue to receive security updates on XP Service Pack 2 or later because the same Firefox code runs on all versions of Windows. However, Mozilla warns users that Firefox is only as secure as the operating system under which it runs. Switching to Firefox (or Opera, or any other browser) won’t make XP safe. For additional info on Firefox and Windows XP compatibility, see this bulletin from Mozilla.

Living on the Edge

Windows 10 users have their choice of IE 11 or Edge, the next-generation browser that is the default browser in Windows 10. “Edge is clearly more secure than Internet Explorer,” according to Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of security solutions developer Qualsys. But Edge is still rough around the edges, and certain features it promises have yet to be activated. If you use Web applications that require IE, or if you don’t want to deal with half-baked software, you had best go with IE 11.

I cannot emphasize enough how dangerous it is to continue using Windows XP or any other software that is no longer receiving security patches. Every day, bad guys by the thousands are poking at every version of Windows to find vulnerabilities they can exploit. They are focusing on Windows XP now because they know any holes they find won’t get plugged. The same goes for versions of Internet Explorer that will not be supported after January 12.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Internet Explorer 11 Or Bust!"

(See all 22 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

09 Dec 2015

Does this affect the Opera Browser? I think Opera uses parts of Chrome.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Opera and Chrome may share some code, but that has no bearing on this issue.

Posted by:

09 Dec 2015

My son keeps telling me I should switch to Linux. Microsoft keeps making his case for him.

Posted by:

09 Dec 2015

Hi Bob. Firefox is my default browser in Windows 10, but I make sure to keep both it and Edge updated.

Posted by:

Bob K
09 Dec 2015

I run Windows 7 and have IE 10 installed. Very seldom I use IE -- my browsers of choice are Firefox and Chrome. IE gets reserved for the brain-dead sites that insist on it.

The one, and only reason, I have not gone to a later version of IE is because along with that code Microsoft disables the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets. I have a couple gadgets that I run and really find useful. I appreciate installing new ones are a security risk -- so I don't. But I trust the ones I have.

But why Microsoft is tying IE updates to the Sidebar usage is beyond me. In fact last night a security update to IE 10 turned off the Sidebar. So that update got rolled back.

Posted by:

09 Dec 2015

I consistently use IE10 as it is the only browser (that I know of) that I don't have to use the "hated" TABS. According to everything I've read about IE11, it is not possible to turn off tabs. Is there any safe browser without tabs?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tabs are optional. You have the choice to use a single window, multiple windows, or tabs.

Posted by:

09 Dec 2015

Hi Bob,
Yes, on the Windows 8 can not be installed IE11, only IE10, or upgrade to Win 8.1 or Win 10 (with IE11), and I can not upgrade to Win 8.1 or Win 10.

Posted by:

Monte Crooks
09 Dec 2015

At least, as of 12-9-15, we don't have to pay for the barrage of MS/Updatexxxxx. That could change tomorrow, or as soon as enough Windows v10 are installed. I still haven't, and I'm not sure if I should "update" to Windows 10. I'll just keep watching Ask Bob, and when HE says it's time to pay A10shun to it, I will! Great advice on IE11!!

Posted by:

Robert L. Miller, Jr.
09 Dec 2015

With the many changes that the windows operating systems are going through present more problems that what I wish to go through. With that said, it is much easier to upgrade to a more secure browser than IE of anything. While many of us truly enjoy whatever operating system we are using, it just makes sense to upgrade, buy another system that has another operating system installed or switch over totally. Rebuilding is expensive!

Posted by:

09 Dec 2015

I like reading reader's comments. But I see that Bob doesn't respond to sincere questions. I think I'll stick to How to Geek. One thing to post articles, but another to ignore the comments.

Posted by:

Lee Keller
09 Dec 2015

Internet Explorer and Edge are both Microsoft products. Over many years IE has been riddled with security holes that you could drive a tractor trailer rig through easily. I quit using IE many years ago. I won't say that I'll never use Edge but it, too, is Microsoft so I will be hesitant to look at it. Chrome or Chromium, depending on which OS you are using, has worked quite well for me. I see no reason to change. I hope that all here have a wonderful, save, and enjoyable holiday season.

Posted by:

Bob K.
09 Dec 2015

Bob Rankin: "Windows 10 users have their choice of IE 11 or Edge, the next-generation browser that is the default browser in Windows 10."


That is what Microsoft want you to believe. Windows 10 will work with Chrome, which is what I use. Chrome is a lot faster than either IE or Edge.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I didn't mean to imply that one can't use an alternate browser on Windows 10, such as Chrome or Firefox. As has been the case with every Windows version, you have the choice to use a Microsoft-supplied browser or a third-party alternative.

Posted by:

10 Dec 2015

Thanks again Bob, Always good info. We are are up to date here and still using 7.

Posted by:

10 Dec 2015

I have to agree with Gerome. Bob request that we comment on his articles but totally dismisses honest observations of items not included or missing information.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I answer questions here whenever possible. All readers are welcome to chime in with suggestions! I don't always comment on the comments, because I like to see other readers do that. And they often do. Just because I don't chime in with an "attaboy," don't assume your comment is not valued.

Posted by:

Lloyd Collins
10 Dec 2015

I just don't like IE 11. It is like Chrome, slow, and crashes a lot. IE 9 was great, except sites not supporting it, so when I upgraded from Vista to 7, I went to the latest IE. It could be my dial-up effects the speed of IE 11 and Chrome, or as I think, they need fixing real bad.

Posted by:

David Guillaume
10 Dec 2015

I am getting just a little bit fed up, whenever Windows XP is mentioned these days all we ever hear or read about is nothing but doom and gloom and anyone who is still daring to run XP on their computer is going to be invaded by millions of hackers who are going to steal or corrupt any file or program that they can get their greasy hands on.

As a stand alone program I find that it works for me, the only thing that I did to get around the problem of the lack of support by Microsoft, was to go down to my local computer repair shop and buy a second hand computer that would still run XP and a remote backup hard drive which I connected to my Internet computer. Then I mounted my email program and established an internet connection. Plus an anti malware program, an anti virus program and an email backup program on to the computers own hard drive. Scheduling: these programs to all run one at a time about an hour before logging off. Oh and just to be on the safe side of things I also set up my email back up program with a set of blank folders, which were loaded just before I turned off and unplugged my internet connection and used my backup software to download everything to my remote hard drive.

The next thing that I did was to disconnect my data computer from the internet, which then gave me a stand alone computer. Which of course gave me a hacker proof computer to work on that cannot be hacked from any source.

As I am closer to 80 years old than 70 I reckon that it will take Microsoft at least a couple of years to iron out all the problems with their latest software package. Then and only then when I am 80 years old I just might consider having a look at windows 10, on the proviso that Microsoft have a problem free package of software that actually works. David Guillaume – I bet you don’t print this one Bob?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Of course! You did exactly what I recommended in an earlier article. Using XP on a computer that's not connected to the Internet is fine.

Posted by:

Dave Roche
10 Dec 2015

First of all, I have to agree with David Guillaume as I too am fed up with the doom and gloom surrounding Win XP. For the record my current installation of XP has Never had an update since 2008, other than upgrading to SP3 a few years ago. Why should the public continuously be forced to upgrade to a totally new operating system when the current OS works perfectly?

The industry has always used the same old card about security so as to frighten folks into upgrading to these new replacement operating systems instead of refining what they have… IT’S A GIGANTIC RIP OFF!!! > [See Backlash paragraphs below].

To protect my XP that has never been updated, I use Anti Keyloggers encryption, HTTPS Everywhere, CC Cleaner, Spybot, Nod 32 Anti Virus, not forgetting a plethora of other procedures in keeping my XP safe over the last seven years. That said my hard drive wont last forever, and sadly XP will die with it…

WIN 7 v. WIN XP:
Nonetheless even though I have Win 7 Pro installed on another PC and tried Win 10, my main workhorse is still Win XP as I feel it’s the easiest and most reliable operating system that Microsoft has ever created. In fact not a week goes by where I see users of Win 7/10 calling out loud and clear for a return of the XP. This no doubt is due to the inherited bad habits of both 7 & 10, held over from what is arguably the worst operating system ever devised by mankind, namely Windows Vista!!!

If users are worried about moving from XP to Win 7,or even Win 10, there is a brilliant piece of software that I have used over the years called HyperOs Systems (UK). This software allows multiple copies of Win XP, Win 7, and Win 10 to run on your hard drive. It also permits several backup copies of each OS on the same hard drive… at least 1 Terabyte is recommended.

For instance if you are unhappy with Win 10, you can switch to Win 7, or XP if you prefer. You can even delegate one of your Win OS systems for Internet use only. So if your Internet Win OS becomes infected, all you have to do is drag and drop your Internet backup O/S icon over the infected one, and within 15mins you are up and running again without having to re-format your hard drive. At this point I should stress I have no connection with HyperOs Systems.

The big talking point at the moment is Not so much security, but the continuing practice of releasing new OS systems that are incompatible with older versions of software that no longer work with the latest Windows. This problem began with Win 7, and as a result there is a growing backlash by members of the public who have spent thousands on software in the interim years only to discover they are now worthless each time a new operating system is introduced…

Lately pro musicians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the huge sums of money spent on the latest OS only to discover their favorite plugins are rendered useless with these new operating systems.

For example just recently one high profile recording magazine editor declared he is returning to hardware instruments because of it. When you see prominent people of influence rebel like this, it usually ends up in repercussions for the industry! Even one famous record producer declared he is using an Atari ST to run his hardware instruments, and you thought Win XP diehards were bad :)


Posted by:

11 Dec 2015

Hi Bob,

I beg to differ with you on IE11 and Tabs. Unless it has been changed, you cannot turn off Tabs...there are no options. Three of us found out the hard way and had to uninstall 11 and reinstall 10. If it has been changed or you know of a way to get rid of the Tabs, I would love to know how it can be done.

EDITOR'S NOTE: You can't turn off tabs, but you don't have to use them. The default behavior in IE11 when clicking a link is to open the page in the same browser window (but not in a new tab). If you want to change that, you can right-click a link, and then select "Open in New Tab" or "Open in New Window". Alternatively, you can Shift-click (open in new window) or Ctrl-click (open in new tab). But I don't see how you are forced to use tabs.

Posted by:

21 Dec 2015

I have a legit version of Win 7 Pro with IE9. A d/l from the website fails with an 'OS not supported' message and the Windows Update doesn't offer IE 11 in its list.

Posted by:

22 Dec 2015

"Switching to Firefox (or Opera, or any other browser) won’t make XP safe."

I find it strange that no mention of PC Matic and PCM Super Shield is mentioned in any of the comments especially when considering ways to mitigate poor security for XP. After all, PC Matic has touted their product as effective security for XP and I have found it so. What say you?

EDITOR'S NOTE: PC Matic's whitelist approach may provide some additional protection for XP users. But if flaws in the operating system are discovered, they may allow for malware to subvert the operation of security software. Here's an XP analogy-- If you're very careful, you can walk through a minefield.

Posted by:

Roger Hass
26 Dec 2015

G'day Bob and Readers,

1st of all allow me to agree with the posts by David Guillaume and Dave Roche on the 10th of December, well said Guys, you are in the minority, as I am, when it comes to the scare mongering regarding any past MS OS (Microsoft Operating System) no longer being supported by MS (Microsoft)

I for one don't give a Continental Knack-wurst when I look at my MS DOS 6.22, the MS for Workgroups 3.1 and 3.11, the MS Win 95, MS ME, the MS Win 98, the XP sp3 and sp2 64bit, Vista, Win 7u, Win 8.1, Win 10, Server 2000 sp4, 2003 R2, 2008 R2 and 2012R2 (when I get time I will load 2016) all still working including those no longer supported by MS.
NB: All secured behind Modem and Router Firewalls before you get to the OS's which from Win 95 upwards are secured further by Internet Security Suits and running my own Domain Servers, also secured behind Firewalls and Security Suits for email security scanning before the email client gets to download them firstly scanned by MailWasher Pro and only after detailed scrutiny are then allowed to be downloaded by the email client on the respective OS. If Mail washer Pro is not usable on the lower OS's (before XP) then I have other security measures in place.

As for added protection all lower OS's can be scanned from a Higher OS with the likes of BitDefender Total Security 2015 or 2016, MalwareBytes, and SUPERAntiSpyware where BDTS is the Resident active protection and the other 2 as non resident scanners.

With some now 35+ years in IT and experience with MS OS's and other OS like Linux /Ubuntu, Redhat and Apple Macintosh systems also on my LAN and secured, "Do I look worried ?" about MS support or an invasion from Mars, somehow I don't think so.

Other issue is that of Windows Update on XP ?. To start I don't use Windows Update, I use Microsoft Update which to this day still supports the MS Office updates installed on XP like MS Office 2007 SP3, etc., and having worked out a simple trick, will still give me the security updates which I used last week to service an older customers Laptop using XP sp2 32bit and updated it to sp3 and all critical security and other updates. How I did all this on XP is my business, sorry.

The if you need support for MS OS's, download AutoPatcher "" the latest version, install it on a Service Workstation which is accessible on your LAN, then run the "AutoPatcher.exe" agree to the 2 End User License agreements and run the "Download Updates" all of them until you have theme all. Keep the master on the workstation and copy the whole AutoPatcher folder on a USB stick (8.36 GB (8,981,749,760 bytes)) obviously a 16GB USB 3.0 stick, to use on Computers that need servicing updating.

Then there is the EDITOR'S NOTE: " ... But if flaws in the operating system are discovered, they may allow for malware to subvert the operation of security software. Here's an XP analogy-- If you're very careful, you can walk through a minefield."
My comment on this, "Bob if this is your EDITOR'S NOTE:" then you should have known better, shame on you, as this applies to any and all OS's at any time and not just XP !

As for the Browser on XP, use Firefox it is better than IE 8 or other IE's released by MS.

As it stands the Pope is going to canonize the IE's and MS OS's as the are so holey and have more holes in them that they are the most flawed products on this Planet, yet made Bill Gates the richest man on the World.

So much for my rant on this Topic. Have fun computing.

Roger Hass / PC-Bug Fixer / Sydney, Australia.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hi Roger, your IT skills are obviously far beyond most typical home users. I don't think too many people would go to such extremes to continue using XP. Regarding your "shame on me" -- the difference is that if such a vulnerability is found in a current OS, it will be fixed and patched. Not so for XP.

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