Versions of Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer eventually expire. It seems like time is running out for anything older than the latest versions.
Microsoft isn’t paying attention to Windows like it did in the “good old days” (whatever that means) and they’re definitely not paying attention to Internet Explorer. In fact, they’re going all in with their replacement, Microsoft Edge.
Both Google and Microsoft irritate the heck out of me. They have a habit of moving things around on their own web properties. The references I’m going to point you to may move without me knowing about it. Checking for broken links will probably be the only way I’ll find out. Anyway…
The Windows lifecycle fact sheet tells us when Microsoft will stop supporting particular versions of Windows - their end of life dates. Windows XP is dead. Windows Vista is dead. Windows 7 is on life support until the end of this month. Windows 8.1 is on life support for three more years. If you want to stay on the good side of Microsoft, you need Windows 10 and you need to keep it updated.
The Lifecycle FAQ for Internet Explorer and Edge tells us about IE support. Except for various Windows Server versions, only Internet Explorer 11 will still be supported next month.
My server logs show me a lot of fake user agents. I can’t really do anything about it without blocking the IP addresses they come from and I don’t want to do that.
Some of the fake user agents say they’re still using various Windows versions and various Internet Explorer versions, other than the latest. I block user agents with MSIE 6 or less. I block operating systems lower than Windows XP. Eventually, I’ll start blocking even more. I have no way of knowing if they’re fake or if the users refuse to upgrade.
Some people have no choice. My server logs show me a lot of IP addresses in the Far East using Windows 7 or older. Why? Because the Internet cafés those people go to haven’t upgraded anything in years. End of life dates don’t mean anything to them until their computers stop working.
I have both Windows 10 and Linux Mint on my laptop computer. Windows 10 is there for those rare occasions when something just won’t work under Linux. You don’t have to do it that way and it would probably be easier not to.
With Microsoft, you really have only one choice, which is Windows 10. With Apple, you really have only one choice, which is macOS. With BSD, you have several flavors to choose from. With Linux, you have even more. You can find support for most of them.
If you don’t want to switch from your operating system, which could be Windows but a lower version than 10, you risk getting locked out of certain support services. Don’t be surprised if you can’t get support for your particular software versions (and can’t update them).
Edited and updated. Originally published in December 2015.