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So, does end of support mean end of life? Hi, everyone. Leo Notenboom here for askleo.com. The big news that came out this week (I don’t know if I want to call it “big” news) but the news that came out this week was a reminder that Microsoft would be ending support for versions of Internet Explorer prior to version 11.
In other words, Internet Explorer version 11 will be the only formally supported version of Internet Explorer after the 12th. So what does that mean? Well, one thing I can tell you that it doesn’t mean is that somehow these older versions of the browser are going to stop working.
The problem is, and what’s actually motivated me to take this as the topic this week are some headlines that I’ve seen related to the impending end of support for these older versions of IE that seem to imply that the browsers will actually stop working on Tuesday and that’s simply not the case.
The browsers will continue to work. They simply won’t be supported. Well, what then does “supported” really mean? All “end of support” really means is fundamentally two things: the most important thing is that if a bug is found in these older versions of Internet Explorer, it will not be fixed. Period.
Now, for most bugs that’s not a big deal. Where it becomes important is if that bug turns out to be a security vulnerability. Now it’s important to realize that the bug’s discovery is what we’re triggering on here. The bug is already there. If there is a bug that would be found later it’s probably something that’s already there and has been there all along.
It’s the discovery of that bug that’s important because discovering it means then that hackers and others could potentially exploit the new knowledge of that failure in order to do something malicious with those versions of the browsers. So that’s the fundamental, that’s the most important issue is that if a bug is found, and if that bug happens to be a security vulnerability or provide some kind of vulnerability into the browser that could be misused, then that bug will not be fixed.
In other words, continuing to use those versions of the browsers could be put you at higher risk of malware. The other issue is that literally they will not support it. In other words, to whatever degree you actually have true support, in other words, you can call up or write in or use a forum for Internet Explorer help that will no longer be there.
It’s not a big thing. To be honest, it doesn’t feel like that there’s a whole lot of help there to begin with, so it’s not like we’re really losing a lot from Microsoft in terms of actual technical support. The more important thing of course is this concept of issues, potentially of found security vulnerabilities not being fixed.
It’s important to realize that all of these older versions of the browsers, be it IE 6,7, 8, 9, they will all keep working, it’s just they may run this additional risk of being compromised by malware if, and only if, a bug is actually found that provides a security vulnerability.
So, what are your options? Well, there are three. One is simply assume the risk. And to be honest, this kind of what people who are still running Windows XP are actually doing. They are assuming the risk of if some kind of vulnerability is found in Windows XP or Internet Explorer 8, which is already past its support date, then they know that those bugs will not be fixed even if they are security problems.
That’s a risk they are willing to assume, and obviously, those pieces of software, those products are still working, it’s just that there’s this additional layer of risk. To mitigate that risk, what you need to do is basically what you should be doing anyway. Making sure that your anti-malware tools are up to date and turned on.
Making sure that your firewall is up and running. Taking regular backups – the litany of what it takes to stay safe on the internet applies especially if you’re running software that is no longer being supported by its vendor and that is particularly true when that software happens to be the operating system or the browser.
In the case of Windows XP, both. Obviously, also, keep your common sense at play. I mean I know that common sense isn’t common. It’s a very difficult term to define but it is important, particularly when you’re running unsupported software that you simply be cognizant of the fact that you’re running at slightly higher risk and you approach the internet just a little bit more skeptically and a little bit more securely.
This approach of assuming the risk is not 100%. That’s one of the reasons that I go back and say and make sure that you’re taking regular backups because when something happens, the backup is probably your fastest, easiest and most reliable way to undo whatever may have happened because of the security vulnerabilities that you may actually be carrying with you.
Option two. Update to Internet Explorer 11. Obviously, if you’re running Windows 10, that’s a non-issue because Internet Explorer 11 is what came with Windows 10 but if you’re running Windows 7 or Windows 8 or even Windows Vista, you have the option of upgrading to Internet Explorer version 11. If you haven’t, this is what most people will recommend.
It’s certainly what Microsoft is recommending by making this announcement this week. It’s actually what I recommend and in fact, it’s what I recommend even if you don’t use Internet Explorer. The reason is very simple. Even if you don’t use Internet Explorer, perhaps you use a different browser like Chrome or Firefox, there are components of the system – Windows itself or some installed software that actually still rely on components of Internet Explorer, to display things like Help pages or other kinds of content.
So it’s important that Internet Explorer always be kept up to date, regardless of whether or not you actually use it as your browser. So, that’s the recommendation that most will give you and that’s the recommendation that I fundamentally fall back to if you can upgrade to Internet Explorer version 11.
Now as a corollary to that, whether or not you upgrade to Internet Explorer version 11, another option is to use a different browser. I tend to use Chrome and in fact, apparently, I’m not alone. I took a quick look at the stats for askleo.com and roughly half of the visitors that come to the site use Google Chrome as their browser.
Internet Explorer itself is actually way down at about the 12% level. Nonetheless, using a different browser is another way to avoid some of the issues that may crop up with Internet Explorer especially if you choose to or can’t upgrade it to version 11.
So if you can’t use Internet Explorer version 11, for whatever reason, then that’s when I recommend that you use a different browser like Chrome or Firefox or any of a number of others so that you avoid any potential security implications from running this older, out-of-support software. Chrome and Firefox continue to be updated regularly.
So, my bottom line recommendation: Update Internet Explorer to version 11 if you can. If you can and you’re happy – fantastic, you’re done. If you can’t or your unhappy, you don’t like Internet Explorer 11 then that’s when I recommend that you actually switch to a different browser and if I were to pick one, I would pick Chrome but Firefox, of course, is another good example, and there are other alternatives out there as well.
And as I said, it’s important to realize that clickbait headlines aside, older version of Internet Explorer: versions 10, 9, 8, even version 6 is out there somewhere, they all still work. They will all still continue to run. The risk that you’re running by having those versions is simply that some kind of bug will be found that turns out to be a security vulnerability that will not be fixed.
So you’re running with a vulnerable browser. That’s why I and others are pushing you to move to Internet Explorer 11 or a different browser that is supported and will in fact have any vulnerabilities fixed in the future.
As always, I would love to hear what you think, what browser you’re using. What issues you have or don’t have with Internet Explorer. Here’s the link to this article out on askleo.com with a full transcript and moderated comments. Like I said, love to hear what you think.
I’m Leo Notenboom. This is askleo.com.
Remember: have fun, stay safe and don’t forget to back up.
28 comments on “Does “End of Support” Mean “End of Life”?”
Hey Leo, you seem to have got two things misunderstood, which is quite alright. :)
1.) IE9 in Windows Vista will continue support until EOL comes to Vista SP2 in April 11, 2017.
2.) You can’t upgrade to IE11 in Windows Vista because IE9 is the last and latest version supported for this OS. Well, unless they have change that rule. Though you can upgrade to a newer OS to acquire IE10 or 11.
Oh, and for you IE users that are thinking about switching to Firefox because it protects your privacy/security (http://tinyurl.com/privacy-security-issues-in-FF) and gives you the freedom customizations, it doesn’t anymore, so don’t. Why? Well basically they are becoming 1.1 with Chrome in all aspects of their supposedly customizable browser that’s aimed for power users. It’s no longer true though, here I will quote some of the major changes (depreciations) that are currently in effect by Firefox:
“UI configurability (Australis, a Chrome minimalistic UI)
Removal of Complete themes, to be replaced with similar Chrome themes
Binary components in extensions
Rewrite of the XUL, XPCOM and SDK extensions as a whole and will be replaced with WebExtensions (Chrome alike “extensions”).
Add-on signing process similar to Chromes
XUL as a browser framework language
End of NPAPI plugins”
“If all this lands, what will Firefox be, lacking all three types of add-ons?
It will be a browser that cannot be extended, cannot be themed and cannot use plugins. You’d have a browser that can only be used in the way Mozilla intends it, using only components Mozilla deems fit for inclusion (including those you might not want to have). IMHO that isn’t Firefox anymore.
Shall we recall why Firefox became a thing, to put it in perspective? It was exactly because it was extensible, configurable, flexible, and could be made to work exactly the way the user (or IT department) wanted it, without compromising on its core function to browse the web.”
Now, if that’s not what you want, then I recommend Pale Moon (an Open Source web browser forked off from the Firefox/Mozilla code), which brings back the original fox and lets you be in control of your browser with lost of flexibility and customizations. It’s community driven! :)
Thanks for the clarification on Vista. I find it surprising that Microsoft would continue to support IE 9 on that one platform while not supporting IE10 across the board. However this would not be the first thing that Microsoft has done that might confuse me.
The support timelines for Windows components – of which IE is one – are inherited from the OS or SP,
@Leo: Yes me too, very.
This page’s name is “a-comprehensive-list-of-firefox-privacy-and-security-settings”.
Well, many of the proposed settings are missguided paranoid induced kludges that can actualy greatly hurt your privacy and on-line security.
That guy propose that you totaly disable all auto-update functionality and rely only on manual updating. On the contrary, auto-update is vital to your security and privacy.
I realy want AdBlock, NoScript and NoGoogleAnalitics to stay as up to date as possible.
He also hurge you to totaly dissable all telemetry and health reports. Telemetry and health report are used to report totaly anonimous data conserning the use and health of Firefox. It allows devlopers to find and correct bugs and security isues. By disabling those, you actualy hurt the whole comunity of Firefox users.
user_pref(“browser.safebrowsing.enabled”, false);? That’s foolish!
Several of the propositions can break many sites, for no real gain in both security and privacy.
@Alain: I’m sorry, that comprehensive list of firefox privacy and security settings is outdtaed, I meant for it to this one: http://www.ghacks.net/2015/08/18/a-comprehensive-list-of-firefox-privacy-and-security-settings/. But yes don’t turn off auto-upadtes and other functions you have no idea what it controls.
Though Alain, the point I was trying to make clear was that Firefox no longer cares for it’s power users and now aims be a minimalistic Chrome clone. They have and are taking away so much flexibility/customizations that us as community used to be able to have control over. Not to mention the serious privacy/security issues that are enabled by default but nobody knows about nor did they agree to it.
For example: network.allow-experiments. This allows mozilla to silently opt you into tests, beta experiments.
Hey, what about these ones: browser.send_pings, beacon.enabled? Now these two allows websites to track the users mouse clicks and the type of interactions with the webpages, apps etc. These can also be used for pre-fetching techniques that go along with: network.dns.disablePrefetch, network.http.speculative-parallel-limit.
How about three more: camera.control.face_detection.enabled, device.sensors.enabled, dom.battery.enabled. The first one is WebRTC related and the last two are in the fingerprinting vector.
Oh, lets not forget the junk Mozilla shoves downs the users throat, which is Hello, Pocket, Reader+, Telegram/IM, Share, Tile ads/Snippets and Tracking Protection. All these can be done with an add-on. Well except for ads, nobody wants ads integrated in their browser.
Anyways Alain and everyone else, only do the following if you know what your doing, if your a power user (tech savvy). Please read the full article and look up the info if you don’t know what it means before you post.
“Well, many of the proposed settings are missguided paranoid induced kludges that can actualy greatly hurt your privacy and on-line security.” – I’m in complete agreement with you, Alain – and not only in relation to Firefox, but to security and privacy in general. Unlike in years past, you don’t need to adjust settings and install multiple third-party apps in order for your PC to be secure: operating systems and browsers now provide a very solid level of security right out of the box. However, despite that many people do still adjust system settings that they don’t really understand and unnecessarily install multiple third-party security/privacy apps – and doing so usually doesn’t make their PCs more secure or help protect their privacy; it simply limits the features that are available to them, deprives developers of information that could be used to improve their products and, all too often, causes instability/problems on their PCs (“I used and now “).
I agree with you and Alain on some things, but I also know your information is worth a lot of money today, and people want it. Information IS money. Microsoft and their partners and affiliates have promised not to use the information for any other purpose than to make their products better. I could talk about others but we are talking about Microsoft right now. That is all fine and well, but I would like to see how many on that list are developers, since you brought it up. Stores and etc. say that all the time when asking for your email address. Now maybe you and Alain cough up your email address when asked, “because it has to be true”… lol….I don’t. I would never stop getting email or mail from God knows who.
My point to both of you. When I first started Windows 10 and reading about it I thought my lord the tin foil hats are really out. Then the more I started going into Windows 10 the more I started seeing what some were saying. This thing was turned on like a Christmas tree. I have always liked Microsoft but I don’t think I ever remember shutting off this much stuff and still am. I think they turned on everything they could find…(just kidding) but it seems that way. People were asking about all that information going out and Microsoft was not saying a word. They stayed quite to long. Then they turn around and have OneDrive in a mess on the storage end. Telling people they were not going to honor that what they had promised on the amount of storage. Then later they back track and apologize and do a turn around on some of the storage.
So if you trust what is going on up there and being said …go for it! I don’t know what is going on with Microsoft anymore.
“I also know your information is worth a lot of money today, and people want it.” – Absolutely. They do indeed want it. And a big part of why they want it is – in Microsoft’s case – for the purpose of displaying interest-based advertising. Ads that are interest-based are likely to be more effective at getting people to buy – and the ads are, the more Microsoft can charge for ad space.
It’s really a trade-off. You give up some privacy in order to be able to get better and more personalized products and services. Want location-specific search results and recommendations? Microsoft needs to know where you are. Want Cortana to be able to deliver sports results for the teams you follow? She/it/Microsoft needs to know which sports and teams you follow. And, of course, Microsoft may then use that information to deliver location-specific, interest-based ads which, of course, makes their ad programs more effective and makes them more money.
In my opinion, it’s all really quite innocuous and doesn’t particularly worry me (hey, if I’m going to see ads, they may as well be ads that may actually interest me!).
“People were asking about all that information going out and Microsoft was not saying a word. They stayed quite to long.” – I’d disagree. Microsoft’s privacy statement is extremely granular and extremely clear:
@D: Totally agree with you.
@Ray Smith: I can understand why you say that, but remember I’m not average user, a techie ok. I know what I’m doing and don’t like what I’ve herd, seen from Mozilla, Microsoft and Google if I could avoid it (It’s f****** everywhere man!). Not to mention I’ve endured first hand of their sneaky actions. Though I do wish I could make that choice on my own to be their guinea pig, nope, they’ve lost my trust and so I can’t.
Also you only run into problems if you don’t know what your doing, I’m assuming thats what happened to you. This is ok though because trial and error is how we get better, how we improve our abilities as computer geeks and then later we can pass on our knowledge.
-P.S. If any user is interested in knowing how the inner sides (about:config) of Firefox and Pale Moon, please: http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config_entries.
Oh I keep on mention Pale Moon but without giving any further link for people to check it out, my bad.
Here: https://www.palemoon.org/, https://www.palemoon.org/releasenotes.shtml.
“Also you only run into problems if you don’t know what your doing.” – Oh, if only that were really the case! Pretty much everybody – irrespective of their level of experience/competence – will at some point encounter an issue which will leave them completely bamboozled and scratching their heads. And, if you work in IT, it’s something that’s likely to happen on a not too infrequent basis (which may be the reason for my thinning hair).
The simple fact is that the more you adjust a system’s/program’s default settings and the more third-party security/privacy apps you have installed, the more likely you are to encounter a problem – and the harder it’ll be to identify the cause of that problem.
IE9 in Windows Vista may continue to be “supported” but it no longer works properly. Full-screen video isn’t possible and various websites tell you that your outdated browser won’t be accepted. Other browsers work fine with Vista. It seems strange that it’s Microsoft’s own browser that doesn’t, but then Microsoft email accounts seem to be the only ones that won’t work with Vista’s desktop email client, Windows Mail. It’s hard to believe that Microsoft isn’t out to get us Vista users.
FYI, support for Chrome on XP ended 12/31/15. I am sticking with XP. XP was nearing its end of support when my computer was purchased. I got a Vista upgrade but do not want Vista. At least I have Word without a yearly rental expense. Not so with newer editions. Not going to fork over for a new OS. At this time I mainly use my tablet. The tablet’s battery cannot be replaced of course so that means a new tablet in a couple years. These companies are getting ridiculous in their overreaching into the consumer’s pocket, it is pure greed in my very humble opinion.
I just had the battery of a 3 year old Samsung tablet replaced for $75 (in Dubai). It took the dealer 2 days to change both the battery and the cable going to the charging socket.
Like you I’m happy with Chrome, but one site I use frequently doesn’t function fully with Chrome and I have to use IE to get full functionality there.
Leo: Related, but maybe warranting another article is the general dropping of support for SHA-1 signed certificates. Since XP does not have support for the replacement (SHA-2, aka SHA-256), since 1 Jan 2016 IE & Chrome can no longer connect to secure sites … like askleo.com.
(Despite the note above) Firefox is the only common browser that still works on secure sites under XP. Firefox has it’s own certificate store which supports SHA-2; unlike IE and Chrome which relies on OS certificate support.
They should be able to connect just fine – there’ll simply be a warning that would need to be ignored.
Not only is IE pre 11 support being stopped, but I saw in the news that Windows 8 support is now being stopped. So now I really have to decided whether to upgrade to Windows 10.
Windows 8.1 is still supported. The least challenging would be to update 8 to 8.1.
Not if Windows store won’t let you update to 8.1 from 8, because it won’t recognise you as S.Administrator(even though you are). I tried to download 8.1 manually from an obscure Microsoft page I found, but it failed.
I also was very happy with Chrome until I upgraded to Windows 10. Then it froze up a couple of times a day. I googled “Windows 10 freezes” and it was suggested to uninstall Chrome and go to an older version. I decided to use the Edge Browser and have no Freezes in a week.
Always enjoy your videos!
So if you don’t use IE but use something else then all is good? What about those shared components that come with IE that other software sometimes relies on to make their software work? Are you still at risk if you don’t upgrade to IE 11 because of the shared components?
Yes, having an unsupported version of IE installed is indeed a risk, even if you use an alternative browser. As you stated, certain components of IE may be used by other applications – email clients, for example, may use IE’s rendering engine to process HTML messages.
To clarify Microsoft’s policy, only the most recent version of IE available for an operating system is supported until support for that operating system ends. What this actually means is:
Windows XP – support ended in 2014.
Windows Vista SP2 – IE9 will be supported until 2017 when support for Vista SP2 ends (IE10 and IE11 will not run on Vista)
Windows 7, 8 and 10 – IE11 will be supported until operating system ends in 2020, 2023 and 2025 respectively (only IE11 is supported as it’s the most recent version of IE supported by these operating systems).
The bottom line is that the best option is to update to the most recent version of IE that your operating system will support.
Yes. Here’s a great article from Leo which explains why. https://askleo.com/should-i-update-to-the-latest-internet-explorer/
I’ve been using Firefox since back when; and have yet to find any site which it cannot open; and a big plus is its ability to avoid all the cookies so that is added protection with the computer setting to only allow those which I choose – it only takes a moment to click on that block which appears.
I bought my Gateway with Windows 7 just as Windows 8 was coming out. Switched from Firefox to Chrome because of freeze ups and slow downloads. So, Windows 7 with Chrome has been fine with my Norton Security Systems running along with back-ups to external hard drive, etc. Is upgrade to IE11 free and recommended for a simple home based desk top with one user? Thanks for all your very helpful info through the years.
Yes and yes.
It’s free. And yes, I do recommend that you keep IE as up to date as possible, even if you don’t actually use it.