Microsoft, on Tuesday, ended support for older versions of Internet Explorer and beginning January 12 only the most current version of the web browser will receive technical and security updates. So what should you do if your organization is still using IE 10, 9, or 8?

Security updates are meant to patch vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit, so upgrading and staying current is important in order to protect your data and network.

Apart from the security risk, Microsoft also points out that business that fail to keep their software current also run the risk of failing to meet regulatory obligations.


Consumers trends for 2016 and beyond

Four deadly sins of IT services

Organizations can also lose independent software vendor (ISV) support as many vendors no longer support older versions of IE, said Microsoft.

What is still supported?

Keep in mind the latest version of IE available for Windows Vista, 7 and 8 will still be supported by Microsoft. Internet Explorer 8 is the latest version of the browser for Windows XP. However, XP has lost support quite a while back so its users will need to upgrade to a later version of Windows.

Here’s a list of IE versions you should be running with the Windows operating system you are running:

Windows version                                     Internet Explorer version

Windows Vista SP2                                        IE 9

Windows 7 SP1                                                IE 11

Windows 8.1 Update                                      IE 11


How to check what IE version you are running

To determine what IE version your machine is running, go the Start menu. Click the Tools menu in the menu bar or cog icon near the top-right corner and then the About Internet Explorer.

The IE version number will appear. You will also find an option to Install a new version automatically.

Click this if you want to upgrade to IE 11. Home versions of Windows made be configured for automatic IE updates.

You can check if your machine is set-up to do this by opening the Control Panel in Windows, go to Windows Update and click the Check for Updates button. Doing this makes sure that Windows and Internet Explorer are up to date.

Most home versions of Windows will have automatic updates enabled, but you can check if this is the case by opening the Control Panel in Windows, searching for Windows Update and then clicking the Check for Updates button. This will also ensure Windows is up to date, as well as Internet Explorer.

Updates for enterprise customers

For organizations with 500 or more employees, Microsoft offers technical resources, tools and expert guidance to ease the deployment of IE, Windows and Office. Find out more at Microsoft Services or by visiting TechNet.

Updates for SMBs

Organizations with less than 500 employees without Web applications can do automatic IE updates using Automatic Updates. Small and medium sized businesses with Web application dependencies can locate a Microsoft Certified Partner to determine your options.

How long will Internet Explorer 11 remain supported?

IE 11 will remain supported for the life of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, according to Microsoft.

What happens if you don’t move to the latest IE after Jan. 12, 2016?

End of support means you will not get security updates, non-security updates and free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates for IE from Microsoft.

What should you do if you have applications that have dependencies on an IE version that is no longer supported?

Microsoft is introducing new features and resources for commercial customers to stay current on the latest IE version. For instance, Enterprise Mode enables legacy apps to be used with IE 11.

Enterprise Mode for IE 11 offers backward compatibility for customers to run legacy Web applications that were designed for older versions of IE. Find out more from TechNet.

What are your non-Microsoft alternatives?

Internet Explorer is not the only game in town. There are other alternative Web browsers available for personal as well as business use.

You can check this review of the Top 10 browsers for 2016 or this one on The Battle of the Browsers 2016.