What to do after Microsoft ends support for older browsers – USA TODAY
Q. Microsoft tells me itâs no longer supporting the version of Internet Explorer Iâve been running. Do I just need to update to IE 11?
A. Microsoft ended support for all older versions of its Internet Explorer Web browser on Tuesday–meaning no more security fixes, no more help–and the first move for people running IE 8, 9 or 10 must be installing Microsoftâs IE 11.
Doing nothing is not an option. Older versions of IE are insecure compared to IE 11, sometimes grossly so. And you donât even need to go to a dodgy site to get hacked; âmalvertising,â ads embedding hostile code that are then snuck onto ad networks, can lurk in familiar pages and, at worst, leave your computer imprisoned by ransomware.
(Last week, Forbes readers found themselves attacked by malvertising–only weeks after that site began refusing entry to people running ad-blocking plug-ins until they turned them off.)
Internet Explorer 11 is not just more secure than its predecessors but also does a better job of supporting Web standards, although in Windows 10 the new Edge browser that replaced it is better still, not to mention a good deal faster.
IE 11âs Windows 7 version, however, has some issues of its own. For starters, it differs from other flavors of IE 11 by not including a locked-down version of Adobeâs Flash player that gets updated automatically by Microsoftâs own Windows Update software.
Instead, youâre left with Adobeâs regular plug-in. Relying on that increases your odds of falling victim to one of Flashâs apparently never-ending series of vulnerabilities.
In Windows 7, IE 11 can also run a lot slower than other browsers. ZDNetâs Steven Vaughan-Nichols found that version of IE ran slower than the current releases of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera in three of four benchmark tests on an older Gateway PC.
So here are the other parts of my advice to people running older versions of IE: After you upgrade to IE 11, you should uninstall Flash and then install Chrome.
Dumping Adobeâs plug-in–yes, youâve read that advice here before–ends a giant security headache. Installing Chrome not only gives you a fast, secure browser but also provides a safer way to deal with the occasional site that insists on using Flash.
Thatâs because Chromeâs Flash plug-in not only runs inside a locked-down âsandboxâ and gets updated along with the rest of Googleâs browser; Chrome now only runs âimportantâ Flash content and pauses the rest of it. In other words, the Flash video clip you want to watch will play, while the ads around it should not.
On that note: If you havenât uninstalled Oracleâs Java software already, you should now. It has no place on the Web, and the few desktop apps that require it now install their own versions of Java with no connection to your browser.
What if youâre running a version of Windows older than Win 7? You have my condolences, but you donât have my permission to stand pat with an old version of IE.
You canât, however, upgrade to Chrome anymore, because Google ended that browserâs XP and Vista support in November. Instead, look to two browsers that still support those long-gone operating systems: Mozilla Firefox and Opera.