IE 10 Support Deadline Looms for Some Windows Platforms

Support for the Internet Explorer 10 browser on both Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard is poised to end on Feb. 11, 2020.

According to a Microsoft announcement this week, that date will mark the end of free patch support for IE 10, though the browser will still continue to run. "After that date, all updates, paid assisted support options, and technical content updates for Internet Explorer 10 will be discontinued," Microsoft explained.

The lack of patch support will make IE 10's use potentially more fraught with risk from a security standpoint. Consequently, Microsoft wants organizations using Windows Server 2012 or Windows Embedded 8 Standard to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11.

Microsoft wants to steer organizations in that direction so much that it's even going to push down IE 11 via the Windows Update service as an "Important" update to Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard users. Important updates typically are automatically installed for organizations that use the Windows Update service without management controls.

IE 11 also will arrive as an "Optional" update for those Windows users that use Window Server Update Services to manage Microsoft's updates.

Ordinarily, this IE 11 update would have been available as a so-called "standalone update," which means that it wouldn't arrive through the Windows Update service at all. Standalone updates have to be manually downloaded from the Microsoft Update Catalog and installed using the Windows Update Standalone Installer. Microsoft is switching that approach, though, and delivering IE 11 through the Windows Update service "to make this transition [from IE 10] easier for you."

Microsoft is pointing organizations to its Enterprise Mode for IE 11 as a solution if they have Web apps that are still stuck on using certain IE 10 behaviors. Enterprise Mode will let them emulate IE 10 behaviors within the IE 11 browser.

IE 11's support lifecycle is generally tied to the lifecycles of the underlying Windows OSes. For Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard, the end of "extended support" dates will be Oct. 10, 2023 and July 11, 2023, respectively.  

One might think that IE 10 would be supported on those OSes, too, until those Windows end-of-life dates. However, Microsoft changed its browser support policy back in August 2014, saying that "beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates." IE 11 got released on Nov. 13, 2013, which didn't result in an end to IE 10 because the new policy took effect on Jan. 12, 2016, it seems.

Possibly, Microsoft just set an arbitrary date for IE 10's end-of-support phase. The IE 11 browser will be the last of its kind, but the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser is said to be "compatible with all supported versions of Windows and macOS," according to a Microsoft support document. That statement implies that the new Edge browser will run on the Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard OSes.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.