If you are using an older version of Microsoft Internet Explorer, there is an important deadline looming: January 13, 2016. Starting on this date, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive security updates and technical support. In other words, you will receive security patches only if you are running the following Internet Explorer/operating system combinations:

  • Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Vista SP2
  • Internet Explorer 11 on Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Internet Explorer 10 on Windows Server 2012
  • Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Server 2008 SP2

If you are running any other combination (e.g., Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 or Windows 7), you will not receive any security updates.

This is not a new development. Back in August 2014, Microsoft announced its phase-out plans, including the fact that version 11 is the last release of Internet Explorer. Its successor — the new Microsoft Edge browser — is already available for Windows 10.

Hackers are probably well aware of the impending deadline, so it is important that you upgrade Internet Explorer if you are running an older version. Otherwise, you might become an easy target. Be sure to let your family, friends, staff, and business colleagues know about the deadline so that they can also reduce their risk of becoming targets.

If you have been using Internet Explorer’s Automatic Updates feature, you are likely already running the most current version supported by your operating system. You can check by opening the application, clicking the button that has a question mark on it, and selecting About Internet Explorer. In the pop-up box that appears, you will see the version of Internet Explorer you are running.

If you have not turned on Automatic Updates and you want to do so, check out the How to Configure and Use Automatic Updates in Windows web page. It provides a tool that you can use to automatically enable this feature on computers running Windows XP SP2 and later versions. It also provides instructions on how to manually turn on Automatic Updates in each of those operating systems.

You also have the option to do a clean installation of Internet Explorer rather than an upgrade. For example, you can download Internet Explorer 11 using an online installer or offline installer.

If you need to upgrade your business’s browsers, contact your IT service provider so that you can learn about your options. Together, you can decide the best approach given the number of browsers needing an upgrade and the browser requirements of any essential web applications.