Microsoft has ended support for older versions of its Internet Explorer browser, offering Windows users the choice of either upgrading their operating system or downloading Microsoft Edge.

This came into effect on 12th January 2016, so there will be no further upgrades to Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10, although users of Internet Explorer 11 will continue to receive technical support and security updates.

If you are running one of the 200 million devices that have already upgraded to Windows 10, you are probably already using the company’s new browser Microsoft Edge. However, users of older operating systems may still be browsing the web with IE 8, 9 and 10. If this is the case, industry experts are recommending you upgrade to avoid falling victim to any attack that seeks to exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in these obsolete programs. Naturally, Microsoft would recommend Edge but any other up-to-date browser will also keep you safe from such threats in the months to come.

Meanwhile Microsoft has confirmed that Internet Explorer 11 will continue to benefit from regular security updates throughout the lifespan of Windows 7, 8.1 and 10.

Microsoft Edge hailed as a fresh start

Once the world’s most popular browser, Internet Explorer was overtaken by both Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox in recent years, forcing Microsoft to take decisive action. After IE became the subject of derision in technical circles, with many commentators lambasting its sluggishness and unreliability, Microsoft Edge was unveiled in April 2015 and hailed as a fresh start.

At the Build 2015 developers conference where it was first presented, Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, operating systems group at Microsoft said: “For us the name refers to the idea of being on the edge of consuming and creating. The browser has Cortana built-in, so it learns the things that one cares about and helps one get things done.”