Microsoft is putting the kibosh on support for all versions of the Internet Explorer browser except for current version 11.
A support document posted by the software giant describes an "end of life" upgrade notification for Internet Explorer that will pop up January 12. The notification will warn people still running IE 8, 9 and 10 that their time is up and urge them to upgrade to the latest version of the browser.
The move doesn't mean older versions of IE will disappear from your PC. It does mean no more bug fixes, updates or other patches will be released, leaving those editions vulnerable to malware and other security threats.
Internet Explorer has been losing steam in the past few years, while newcomer Chrome has surged. IE's worldwide browser market share on desktops dropped from 58.2 percent at the start of 2014 to 48.6 percent in December, according to tracking company NetMarketShare. During the same period, Google-owned Chrome's share rose from 16.4 percent to 32.3 percent.
Ending support for the older versions of Internet Explorer is a way to prod people to newer versions of Microsoft's operating system that support IE 11, especially Windows 10, which debuted in late July. That said, Microsoft must be hoping that people will try its new Edge browser, which is available only on Windows 10. Edge is considered a more streamlined and modern browser than Internet Explorer, which is still bundled with Windows 10 mostly for compatibility reasons to support plug-ins, extensions and other third-party software.
Internet Explorer 11 has a 25.6 percent share of the desktop browser market, according to the latest Web traffic stats from NetMarketShare. Collectively, IE 8, 9 and 10 account for another 20 percent of all browser Web traffic, which means a large number of people still need to upgrade if they want a secure browser. Microsoft's new Edge browser has less than 3 percent market share despite being the default in Windows 10.
The "end of life" notification will pop up for computers running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, according to Microsoft. The company first announced the end of support back in August 2014.