Microsoft has warned that failure to upgrade to its new Edge browser or Internet Explorer version 11 by 12 January 2016 will expose users to various risks.
The software company announced that it will stop technical support for all older browsers on that date, which includes security updates.
There will also be no more non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options or technical content updates.
Only Internet Explorer 11 will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
“Without critical browser security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information,” warned Microsoft.
Users who fail to upgrade could also face a lack of independent software vendor (ISV) assistance because many no longer support older versions of Internet Explorer.
Microsoft notes that Office 365 takes advantage of modern web standards and runs best with the latest browser.
Risk of compliance failure
Failure to upgrade could also put users at risk of compliance failure. Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations are advised to conduct due diligence to assess whether they are still able to satisfy compliance requirements using unsupported software.
Users of Windows 10 will automatically be using Microsoft Edge, which is Microsoft’s new browser. Microsoft Edge can launch Internet Explorer 11 for sites that need better backward compatibility. For this reason, Microsoft will continue to support IE 11 on Windows 10.
Microsoft advised large organisations with more than 500 employees to contact company representatives to access the available technical resources, tools and guidance on managing Internet Explorer or to consult online guides.
Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 500 employees can get the latest version easily by using Automatic Updates.
“Those with dependencies on existing web applications can locate a Microsoft Certified Partner to understand the best options to meet their business needs,” said Microsoft.
Microsoft expects most home users to have Automatic Updates turned on, and to have already upgraded to Internet Explorer 11.
Home users who have not turned on Automatic Updates yet are advised to do so by clicking the Check for Updates button on the Windows Update portion of the control panel.
According to Microsoft, Internet Explorer 11 will be supported for the life of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. The support lifecycle dates for all operating systems can be found in Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle Database.