It’s Time To Move On From Internet Explorer

For those of us who have been online a long time, we remember the original browser war: Internet Explorer vs Netscape Navigator. In recent years, Internet Explorer has fallen off in security and usefulness. Meanwhile, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge (specifically Chromium-based Edge) have increased in usage and also do a much better job of updating frequently to mitigate security issues.

In 2019, Chris Jackson – who is a Principal Program Manager in the Experiences and Devices Group of Microsoft – wrote https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/windows-it-pro-blog/the-perils-of-using-internet-explorer-as-your-default-browser.

In the blog post, he writes that Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution. This means that IE exists now just in case it is needed, such as for a banking site that has not been updated to support modern browsers and does not function otherwise.

To further demonstrate that Microsoft does not want you to use IE, they are ending Internet Explorer’s support for MS Teams on November 30th 2020. Next year on August 17th 2021, MS will end IE support for Office 365, Outlook, and OneDrive, among other services.

In this time of remote working, ending support for their own remote collaboration software is a big deal, and to follow that up the following year with products so widely used like Office and Outlook shows that the end of IE is finally upon us.

There are a few challenges as some software (especially financial and medical fields) has been slow to change and still only work with Internet Explorer. Another issue is users who have been using a computer for a long time have grown accustomed to using Internet Explorer and do not want to change what they know.

Also, many users have accumulated a lot of favorites and passwords in Internet Explorer and do not want to give those up.

Many people with saved passwords may not know what some of their logins are because they have had their credentials saved for so long.

Fortunately, these issues can be handled by importing your information into another browser. To handle it manually would be a pain, but your information from Internet Explorer can all be easily transferred into the main modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox, and Edge). Aside from a few clicks from you confirming what you want transferred, it’s nearly automatic.

That aside, many browsers follow the same general design, making it easy to recognize icons and fields like your address bar or home page button. They are also customizable, much like adding toolbars on IE, so you can adjust a new one to your liking to match your old familiar layout.

What about those legacy web pages? All three modern browsers also have the ability to use a plugin to emulate Internet Explorer on specific pages. Or, if absolutely necessary, you can keep and use IE only as needed.

Another benefit to the three modern browsers is update frequency. Chrome will update within days, if not hours, of an issue being discovered. Firefox is also on a similar schedule.

Edge had three security updates in August of 2020, so it also updates more frequently than Internet Explorer ever did.

Change is hard, especially for some people when it comes to their computers and software. There was outrage when Microsoft Office introduced the ribbon bar and when Windows updated the start menu.

For some, the change was seamless; for others, it took some time. Either way, these have become the norm and most people are now comfortable with them.

The same is true of browsers. They are all used in generally the same way, and while using Chrome may be a little different in the long run, you are safer and your experience is more secure.

If the company who develops a product feels it is not useful for everyday use, it’s time to move on.