Microsoft To Begin Automatic IE Upgrades For Users

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in Best Practices | 2 Comments

Last month, Microsoft announced that it would automatically* begin updating IE6 users to the latest version of Internet Explorer. This announcement is making most web designers and developers extremely happy (though many would like to see IE7 disappear as well!)

Internet Explorer 6 was released 10 years ago. Since then, the way websites are designed, developed and used has changed radically. Many times newer websites do not display or function properly when viewed using IE6 unless a developer spends extra time “debugging” the site so that it works. In addition to better compatibility, newer browsers tend to provide better security features, keeping users safer.

The number of people actually using IE6 is hard to determine. W3schools puts the current usage at 1.6%; however, I’ve seen estimates showing that up to 8.6% of users worldwide are using IE6 (mostly in China, India and South Korea). Over the last few years, many developers have stopped supporting IE6, assuming that most users who use this outdated browser are used to seeing websites that do not function properly. Naturally, you have to consider who the audience is for the website. My current website has had only a single visitor in the past 1 1/2 years who looked at my site using IE6, so I’m not really worried about having to support it. However, I have a potential client based in China would need an IE6 compatible website.

Microsoft goes over the details of this decision in The Windows Blog.

Visit the Internet Explorer 6 Countdown site to watch the number of current IE6 users dwindle as people update to the newer version!

*Microsoft does offer a way opt-out of the automatic updates so it might take longer for IE6 to die off!



  1. Gilbert Wilkins
    January 2, 2012

    G’Day! Caroltompkinsdesign,
    Neat Post, I heard that Microsoft uses Automatic Updates to provide secruity patches. However, it is also used like a trojan horse by including code that slowly disrupts the older Operating Systems… such as XP. This forces XP (and older) users to upgrade to Vista. Is this true?

    Even if I turn off Automatic Updates, I still get that annoying red pop up message that it is turned off. This message can not be stopped. Why does Microsoft force you to use Automatic Updates?
    Keep up the posts!

    • Carol
      January 9, 2012

      Hello Gilbert,

      Thanks for the comment on my post. There’s been a new update on IE6 useage. According to a Microsoft Blog post from Jan. 6th, “IE6 usage in the US has now officially dropped below 1%!”

      I would visit the Microsoft site to see if there are any answers to your questions about the automatic upgrades and XP — apparently Microsoft is providing a way to avoid the automatic upgrades. I do see quite a few people talking about XP problems on various blogs so there probably is a solution for this that I don’t know.

      thanks again!


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