Internet Explorer Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ

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Created: August 7, 2014

NOTE: This FAQ was updated on November 10, 2014 with formatting changes.

1. What is the Microsoft Lifecycle Support policy for Internet Explorer?

Internet Explorer is a component of the Windows operating system and follows the Support Lifecycle policy for the product on which it is installed. A component is defined as a set of files or features that are included with a Microsoft product, whether it is shipped with the product, included in a product service pack or update, or later made available as a web download for the product.

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy continues to provide a minimum of five years of Mainstream Support and a minimum of five years of Extended Support for Business and Developer products, and the Windows operating system.

The newest Internet Explorer offers improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility, and support for the modern technologies that power today’s websites and services. Microsoft encourages customers to upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser for a faster, more secure browsing experience.

Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates, as shown in the table below:

Windows Desktop Operating SystemsInternet Explorer Version
Windows Vista SP2Internet Explorer 9
Windows 7 SP1Internet Explorer 11
Windows 8.1 UpdateInternet Explorer 11

Windows Server Operating SystemsInternet Explorer Version
Windows Server 2008 SP2Internet Explorer 9
Windows Server 2008 IA64 (Itanium)Internet Explorer 9
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1Internet Explorer 11
Windows Server 2008 R2 IA64 (Itanium)Internet Explorer 11
Windows Server 2012Internet Explorer 10
Windows Server 2012 R2Internet Explorer 11

Windows Embedded Operating SystemsInternet Explorer Version
Windows Embedded for Point of Service (WEPOS)Internet Explorer 7
Windows Embedded Standard 2009 (WES09)Internet Explorer 8
Windows Embedded POSReady 2009Internet Explorer 8
Windows Embedded Standard 7Internet Explorer 11
Windows Embedded POSReady 7Internet Explorer 11
Windows Thin PCInternet Explorer 8
Windows Embedded 8 StandardInternet Explorer 10
Windows 8.1 Industry UpdateInternet Explorer 11

For customers running on an older version of Internet Explorer, such as Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft recommends customers plan to migrate to one of the above supported operating systems and browser combinations by January 12, 2016.

2. What if I’m running a version of the operating system not listed in the table?

Products whose support lifecycle ends on or before January 12, 2016 are not impacted and therefore not represented in the table. For example, support for Windows 8 and Windows Embedded 8 Industry ends on January 12, 2016, therefore they are not listed. Similarly, support for Windows Server 2003 ends on July 14, 2015, and therefore is not impacted and not listed.

3. How long will the most current version of Internet Explorer remain supported?

Internet Explorer is a component of the Windows operating system and the most current version will continue to follow the specific support lifecycle policy for the operating system for which it is installed. To find the support lifecycle dates for all operating systems, search the Support Lifecycle Database here.

4. Does this mean Microsoft is changing the support lifecycle policy for Internet Explorer?

The latest version of Internet Explorer will continue to follow the component policy, which means that it follows the support lifecycle and is supported for as long as the Windows operating system for which it is installed on. Focusing support on the latest version of Internet Explorer for a supported Windows operating system is in line with industry standards.

Most customers are already using the latest version of Internet Explorer for their respective Windows operating system, however we have found there is still fragmentation across the install base which poses problems for web developers and support staff. Microsoft recommends customers upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer available in order to experience increased performance, improved security, better backward compatibility, and support for the modern web technologies that power today’s websites and services.

5. What happens if customers don’t move to the latest browser by the end of support on January 12, 2016?

Customers have until January 12, 2016, to upgrade their browser after which time the previous versions of Internet Explorer will reach end of support. End of support means there will be no more security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.

6. What if my enterprise line-of-business (LOB) application has a dependency on a version of Internet Explorer that is slated to reach end of support on January 12, 2016?

As some commercial customers have standardized on earlier versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft is introducing new features and resources to help customers upgrade and stay current on the latest browser. Microsoft recommends customers plan to upgrade to modern standards to benefit from the additional performance, security, and productivity of modern web apps. For guidance and a list of upgrade resources, please visit the Internet Explorer blog here.

In order to ease the migration of applications to current web standards, Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11, released in April 2014, offers better backward compatibility and enables customers to run many legacy web applications once they upgrade to a more modern browser. To help customers who have a business need for using Internet Explorer 11 with Enterprise Mode, Microsoft is committed to supporting Enterprise Mode through the duration of the operating system's support lifecycle and to continuing to improve Enterprise Mode backward compatibility, helping customers extend existing web application investments as needed. As an example, Windows 7 SP1 running Internet Explorer with Enterprise Mode will be supported through January 14, 2020. Microsoft will also continue to invest in tools and other resources to help customers upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest version of Internet Explorer.

7. What resources are available to help customers upgrade?

Microsoft offers numerous free and paid support offerings for customers and partners who wish to migrate to the latest version of Internet Explorer. Please visit the Internet Explorer blog for more information.

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Last Review : November 25, 2014