Upgrading to a Faster, More Secure Browsing Experience


As we shared last year, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for current operating systems will be supported starting January 12, 2016. The vast majority of consumer devices have updated automatically, but some commercial customers still have dependencies on older web applications. Today we’re happy to announce additional resources and improvements to help commercial customers upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7—which can make it easier to adopt Windows 10, Office 365, and the latest Windows devices like the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.

New Web Application Compatibility Lab Kit

Available today, the Web Application Compatibility Lab Kit is a self-service lab that shows how to assess and fix web app compat issues. This lab incorporates best practices from Microsoft Services and partners in testing and fixing web apps using Enterprise Mode, which provides higher-fidelity emulation for older versions of Internet Explorer. Upgrading web apps to modern standards is still the best long term solution, but the backward compatibility features in Internet Explorer 11 can make upgrading faster and easier than ever before.

Enterprise Mode Improvements

Today we also announced some significant product improvements that will help reduce the costs of upgrading and managing a Microsoft browser solution. These capabilities and improvements include:

  • Enterprise Mode supports IE5, IE7, IE8, IE9, IE10, and IE11 document modes, in addition to two higher-fidelity emulation modes, to work with a wide variety of legacy sites and web apps.
  • Enterprise Site Discovery, off by default, can be configured to collect data such as the document mode and ActiveX controls used by specified sites. This is useful in assessing web app environments.
  • HTTP Port numbers can now be specified, so that http://contoso.com:8080 and http://contoso.com:8090 can be placed in different document modes.
  • Microsoft Edge and IE11 switching enables IT Pros to configure which web sites run best with which browser. For example, end users can surf the web using the more secure Microsoft Edge browser, then switch to Internet Explorer 11 automatically for sites that need backward compatibility.
  • A simpler, scalable Enterprise Mode schema is now supported on Windows 10, and will be brought to Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in 2016. This makes it even easier to manage complex web app portfolios.

These customer-driven improvements will make it even easier for customers to upgrade and stay current with the latest browser.

What about Microsoft Edge?

We’re excited about Microsoft Edge, our new browser built for Windows 10. Microsoft Edge provides a faster, more secure browsing experience, and goes beyond browsing with built-in features like Web Note, Reading View, and Cortana. And, Internet Explorer 11 powers millions of web applications today that use ActiveX controls, toolbars, and other legacy technologies. Both browsers are supported on Windows 10, though we recommend Microsoft Edge as the default.

Internet Explorer 11 is the last major version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to be supported for the life of the operating system on which it is installed—including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. New web standards will be brought to Microsoft Edge, while Internet Explorer 11 will continue to receive security updates and backward compatibility improvements.

Is it too late to upgrade?

No, it’s not too late to upgrade. Windows 7 customers should upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 by January 12, 2016 to continue receiving security updates and technical support; see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle site for details on other versions of Windows. If you have a technical or business issue that prevents you from upgrading, please reach out to your Microsoft account team or Microsoft partner, as we may be able to help.

By offering better backward compatibility and resources to help customers upgrade, Microsoft is making it easier than ever before for commercial customers to stay current on the latest browser. In addition to better support for modern web standards, improved performance, increased security, and greater reliability, migrating to Internet Explorer 11 also helps unlock upgrades to Windows 10, Office 365, and the latest Windows devices.

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