If You’re Still Using IE6 You Are A Problem [Opinion]

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ie6 logo   If Youre Still Using IE6 You Are A Problem [Opinion]Our browsers can do a lot of stuff these days, from playing graphics-intensive games to showing cool effects to rendering video players made entirely out of HTML5. Not only can these browsers do whatever you can think of, but it’s easy to install them too.

However, there are still plenty of people out there that don’t know about that, or don’t even care what a browser is. All those people care about is knowing how to get to Facebook. Those same people tend to not install updates, and if they’re not big spenders on new computers they’re probably still using Windows XP. Windows XP without any updates means that IE6 is still being used.

In today’s highly-interactive digital world, that’s just not right. If you shudder just by looking at that old logo, you know exactly what I mean.

IE6 When It First Came Out

Don’t get me wrong, IE6 was great (keyword here being was). It was the best of the best when it came freshly squeezed out of Microsoft‘s software factory. Because of that it was able to achieve the record 95% browser market share at the height of IE’s reign. It could do things other browsers couldn’t, and it was right there in the operating system. The user didn’t have to do a thing. But that was then…

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You’re Missing Out

ie6 advancements   If Youre Still Using IE6 You Are A Problem [Opinion]
Now, we have a completely different story. The internet and its standards has evolved. The browsers have evolved to keep up and/or push those standards forward. However, not all users followed suit, resulting in an extremely slow transition to something better (the speed of transition was almost barbaric, if I may say so). In the mean time, while browsers (including later versions of IE) advanced forward, IE6 obviously stayed still. Today’s browser can do so much more thanks to HTML5, so everyone still using IE6 is missing out on all of that.

Speaking of standards, IE6 doesn’t really follow them. Microsoft decided to loosely stick with the standards, so when Firefox was actually giving IE6 a pretty good fight, developers had the trouble of creating websites that would conform to IE6’s poor standards support and Firefox‘s high standards support. In the end it was almost like creating two separate websites. The world couldn’t keep going that way, and it eventually decided to follow standards.

You’re At Risk

ie6 error   If Youre Still Using IE6 You Are A Problem [Opinion]
Over time there were a lot of security exploits found, and now that Microsoft has long ago dropped support for both Windows XP and IE6, those holes aren’t going to be fixed anymore either. This should be a major concern as these holes are widely known by hackers and other evil-doers, so simply by staying with IE6 you’re putting yourself and your computer at risk. Additionally, there are plenty of other bugs still present in IE6 besides security holes, so by using IE6 you’re only going to get gray hair faster.

It’s Slow

ie6 sad   If Youre Still Using IE6 You Are A Problem [Opinion]
Finally, we all know that today’s browsers are constantly breaking speed records, and the difference in speed between one of them, like Google Chrome, and IE6 is ridiculously large. This is mainly because IE6 is technology from almost a decade ago, and although it might’ve seemed relatively fast back then, it certainly isn’t anymore. Save your sanity by using something else that is much speedier. It’s more gray hair you’ll prevent from appearing.

Conclusion

Simply short, IE6 needs to go away. Thankfully in the western world IE6’s market share has dropped to below 1%, but other parts of the world can’t say the same (in China it’s a 25% market share…really?) Hopefully these numbers will decrease even more so that the Internet can breathe a big sigh of relief that it doesn’t have to deal with IE6 anymore. If you’re using IE6, please switch. If you know someone who still uses IE6, please make them switch in whatever ways possible. Whether it’s by upgrading IE, switching browsers, or updating the entire operating system, you’re doing the world a favor.

Image Credits: atxryan, CannedTuna

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36 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Aaron Couch

Good points here. Hopefully it will help some. I really liked the title too. However, the only problem is that people who are using IE6 probably don’t even know what IE6 is… or worse, what “IE” stands for.

Danny Stieben

Thanks! :)

Ah, that’s true. I didn’t think about that…although there is the IE logo at the top of the article, so most people who don’t even know what to do with the term “Internet Explorer” will recognize it.

Rodrigo

Sure but it won’t appear as Internet Explorer on Google because of the title of the page, do consider changing it. and why not a couple of times in the article itself, in fact if we all try to use Internet Explorer every now and then, we are helping create awereness of the evil within that browser.

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JohanKlos

Good points, I agree. However, I’m wondering… how many visitors of MakeUseOf.com are still using IE6?
Since the people who are still using that decrepit dinosaur are not likely to visit any tech sites, what are the chances any of them will actually come across your article? ;)

In my opinion, the only way “we” are going to get rid of IE6 is to make every website stop allowing it.

Danny Stieben

I wonder if James, our tech guy, can come up with some stats? It’d sure be interesting to know…

Just because it’s unlikely common readers will still be using IE6 doesn’t mean it won’t be shared outside to other sites or social media and reach people who use IE6 :)

I agree. There’s no other way, really. If we must annoy the crap out of IE6 users for them to upgrade and save the Internet, so be it.

Gouthaman Karunakaran

I think It’ll be a great idea if you guys can annoy visitors using IE6 with some kind of a message forcing them to upgrade to IE9 or even better, another modern browser. MUO will be doing great service with its popularity.

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ReĂ˝ Aetar

here ie6 is seen only in cybercafes as ie6 combined with a slow dial up connection shared by numerous computers is a great source of profit.. :/

Danny Stieben

I know exactly what you mean. Thank goodness for relatively affordable netbooks!

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Scutterman

Generally speaking, the only people I know still using IE6 are large companies who enforce ridiculous software rules (can’t install browsers), and have a system built so tightly around a particular browser (IE) that upgrading is out of the question. However, most of those that I deal with now are using IE7, and as soon as they switch to IE8 or later, there should be no issue with upgrading more regularly. I’m trying to do my part to speed things along by only supporting the latest two major releases of any browser, however some of our clients have specific restrictions we need to work toward.

Microsoft can help by starting minor releases, which will mean that the latest IE isn’t out of date within two months of it’s release, and also that the migration to the next major release isn’t such a big leap.

Danny Stieben

Lots of minor updates sounds like a good idea, but most corporations will probably find some way to complain about constantly applying them all. In the end they’d probably prefer big updates in long intervals as Microsoft has done in the past. Quite honestly, I just think it’s an issue of managing client machines. Upgrading every single day wouldn’t even be an issue with a good management system.

Scutterman

One minor version every two or four months would help them so much, and they can be applied through windows update on Patch Tuesday.

Kyle

Actually this is quite the problem. I worked in the IT department for a company for a few months right when they were rolling over from XP to 7, and it was a nightmare. They had so many proprietary web-based programs that needed to run on IE 6/7, it made the update process ridiculously difficult. Even running IE9 in compatibility mode didn’t work for many applications. Given most of them are internal, I’m still bitter with the company for having such strict and idiotic software standards. They’re too penny-pinching to upgrade, but the big wigs still stuff their pockets.

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muotechguy

That additional ‘6’ in the title doesn’t need to be there. If you are using IE of ANY version, you are the problem.

Danny Stieben

Personally, I agree that any version of IE is a problem. However, looking at it without personal preferences, it’s mainly just IE6. IE9 is making up for the problems IE has had before, and I’d rather encourage that people at least use IE9 if they don’t want to move away from the IE name. I’ll only be a happy camper with Firefox or Chrome, though.

Chris Hoffman

I’d agree, but still — IE 6 is a much worse problem than IE 9.

Mihovil Pletikos

what is so bad about ie9 or even ie10… imho ie10 is the best browser i used…. note that i used chrome from the first beta, and also first betas of firefox… so i’m not biased….

Chris Hoffman

From a web developer perspective, I believe that IE 9 is lacking in its support for various features (Not sure about IE 10, I’ve heard it’s also improved — Microsoft actually seems to be trying to improve IE these days).

Here’s a Mozilla response to IE9: http://people.mozilla.com/~prouget/ie9/

From the link:
“Let me just list some of the stuff IE9 doesn’t support:

Application Cache (offline)
Web Workers (threads in JavaScript)
File API
WebGL (3D)
Drag’n Drop from Desktop
[and more]

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Greg

Correction, if you’re NOT using Opera or Chrome, you’re a problem.
Anything else is trash

Danny Stieben

I definitely wouldn’t rule out Firefox. It’s definitely decent enough, and plenty of people will argue that it’s better than Opera. Either that, or web developers like Google are just lazy when it comes to Opera.

Drew

Greg, I would argue if you’re still using Opera in 2012, you’re either stuck in the past or afraid of change. While not necessarily “trash”, Opera hasn’t been able to tout any superiority or innovation in quite some time.

Opera definitely had a few good years of dominance back in the day but it didn’t take long for other browsers, specifically Firefox, to replicate everything desirable about its UI and then surpass it in performance as well.

Chrome and Firefox are the top two preferred browsers of today.

And surprisingly, even IE has become a decent browser in its latest release… Exponentially better than the IE6 days.

It’s a shame that Firefox’s appeal has started to decline in the last couple years. It can’t compete with the performance of Chrome’s V8 JS engine and in general it just seems to be getting slower and slower (and heavier and heavier) with each new major release. :(

Greg

Well that is just my opinion…..
I only use Google Chrome. I haven’t used Opera in a while, but when I did it worked on my older computer when nothing else would. Opera is still pretty good even to this day IMO. I agree FF is getting slower (which is why I don’t use it) :)

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Tim Brookes

25% of China’s internet users are using IE6? Considering the size of China and the booming economy I’m stunned. That’s a lot of people using an outdated, insecure and standard-defiant browser. Do they know of the alternatives?

I was in London last year and at the time Google had put up some massive Chrome adverts on building sites, scaffolding etc. Maybe similar techniques should be used elsewhere, especially in China and southeast Asia.

Danny Stieben

Apparently that is the case. I forget where I found that bit of information, but it’s interesting just the same. Maybe it’s all those Chinese hackers doing it old school?

Jokes aside, I’m not sure what’s keeping them to IE6. Change is needed, for sure.

Gouthaman Karunakaran

I have a feeling that there’s some kind of incompatibility with the Chinese language on modern browsers (I’m not sure, though). People in China prefer using computers in their language and this COULD be a reason.

India had a pretty big share of users on IE6 until a year back. It all changed when Google did some aggressive marketing for Chrome and people loved it!

Chris Hoffman

I believe there’s widespread piracy of Windows in China, so I wouldn’t be surprised if people disable updates because Microsoft does “genuine Windows” checks.

I’m not sure if the checks are in IE updates or just the service packs, but either way — i’m sure people disable updates for this reason.

(still, install another browser, at least!)

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Krishnapriya

This problem wouldn’t exist if IE had the silent update feature that Chrome has.

Jared

Silent update is a horrible feature. When I first stared using chrome i liked it. But the Silent update was too much like the firefox version. I finally had my Firefox the way i liked it. only to open it up and find out it downloaded and installed an update that wasnt working with my addons. So i had to remove FF. find the old version re install, turn off auto update and leave it the way i liked it.

Forcing people to accept new and buggy technology is not going to help any one.

Jared

“and if they’re not big spenders on new computers they’re probably still using Windows XP” Using a secure, stable, working OS, that doesnt cost an arm and a leg and offers all I need.. Yeup Im one of those people. I tried a new pc, had vista on it. Brand new, the system failed 3 days after the warranty went out.

The os was horrible. So bad, that i grabbed my old pc (which is now 10 years old) threw on my old windows xp, installed all the current updates and here I am. Still an XP fanboy.

have you even tried to search for a file in windows vista or 7 and compare it to XP? its like going from FINDING relevant information to looking for a needle in a haystack.

I agree on the security issues. But perhaps that would be better addressed by the developers of products FIXING what is out, rather then starting over and opening up new security holes.

Kyle

Man, I have no idea how the hell you’re using Windows 7 then. After being on 7 for so long, I could never go back to XP. It’s ridiculously slow and cumbersome in comparison. Hell, even Vista with all the updates installed (properly) isn’t too terrible other than the annoying UAC until you turn it off. Maybe you should try out Windows Mojave and then give it Vista/7 a shot again. ;)

JerryP

95% of what is in Windows 7 is great. The other 5% is amazingly convoluted or painful to use. Unfortunately I am starting to rollout Windows XP to 7 on about 50 pcs (as the old ones age out and are replaced), and I have been hitting one weird issue after another (many of which have been known since 7 was launched, just never have been fixed).
– As Jared said, search is convoluted now. Lots of complaints in the forums on a variety of ways it doesn’t do what you think it would. Simple searches pull in way too much. Complicated searches (what would have been using the check boxes in XP) require an undocumented custom scripting language. I wish I was joking.
– Don’t have 4 or more shortcuts on your desktop that point to network devices, or Windows 7 will periodically wipe them out.
– ie9 having a lot of stability issues (and not being compatiable with many vendor sites.)
– and on and on with similar weird things.

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Chris

I could never use Internet Explorer for any reason whatsoever…it’s just. Ugh.

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Anonimo Anonimo

Not being an idiotic fanboy and having used all major browsers i would say that any of the major browsers on it’s latest version is pretty good and can cope with pretty much everything.

In terms of useability i prefer firefox because it doesn’t have all that clutter a lot of other browsers do and no fancy menus and windows as well, also i’ve coded my fair share of websites from the ground up and firefox definitely was the only browser that never done something it wasn’t supposed to be doing, on the period from firefox 3 to firefox 3.6, chrome wouldn’t behave as it should as well, but with less problems than the other browsers (except firefox which was always rock solid), then when it updated before firefox 4 came out it became as awesome as firefox as far as that is concerned, i just like the warm, more practical and less cluttered UI of the firefox but that is only personal preference and the UI of chrome isn’t far behind.

Opera was the best for me back in the days of windows me, no other browser was that good, when i started coding and had to do browser tests (firefox 3 time) i expected opera to behave as impecably as it behaved before, it was pretty disappointing to me as i was an opera fan up to that day.

Opera, safari and IE recently stepped up their game recently but i can’t say if they’re as good as firefox and chrome right now as i’m not coding but they surely weren’t one year ago, i had to do a lot of css hacks and snippets of code that would get replaced depending on what browser you were using just because they couldn’t interpret the code the way it’s supposed to.

Agreed that IE6 is the worst crap ever, it gave the most problems up to a point where i just decided to do a part of the site that would be smaller and have most of the stuff as well just because replacing all bits that would go wrong on the fly when the person was connecting would make the whole website need almost double the coding so i just found a good way of cutting it loose, also i would put messages saying people to upgrade their browsers to properly view all content in which if the people would click i would have links to the most recent versions of all major browsers.

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Achraf52

Always trying to install Chrome on my friends computer, which seem really like rocket science and they don’t care until they discover the speed they were missing .

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JerryP

For the individual home user, this is dead on.

But, a chunk of the 1% here (and probably the 25% in China) are from businesses that require niche software. The conflicting requirements of many of these packages make change too painful to deal with unless it is forced. For example, we had one vendor’s software that only ran on ie6, and another’s upgrade required ie8. We lucked out and the first vendor happened to come out with an update that allowed ie8, but that was by chance. And this was in the last year.

It is amazing how much niche software will only run with one specific browser version, or one particular OS, or has a shared network component that can only be configured for one OS. And these are not always documented. A change made for one package can lead to failures in others, or can kill the ability of a key program to print to your 2 year old $25k printers, etc.

Chrome, Netscape, Opera? For the small software vendor, you might as well ask for a Mandarin version. Most of these vendor packages don’t play nice with ie9 either.

Penny-pinching or arbitrary internal I/T rules are not the only things that keep businesses on antiquated hardware and software. And unfortunately, you are likely to see some of those hanging on for years.

Smaller businesses in an even smaller niche are even worse off as they simply lack the technical knowledge to even seek out modern alternatives (if any exist), and are too small to foot the bill for development and maintenance of a complete software package. So they keep whatever works alive as long as they possibly can. Forcing MS-Dos programs to run under W7-64bit is anything but fun, but for these businesses, it is that or losing whatever functionality that software provided.

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WhatsMyIP

As a webmaster, my disdain for IE goes well beyond IE6. I even have a (mostly symbolic) petition for MS to discontinue IE all together:

http://www.change.org/petitions/discontinue-internet-explorer

I actively block IE6 and IE7 from my newer sites. My current project even blocks IE8. Web technology cannot stand still any more, it has to grow freely, and that means growing without IE.

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Ufoguy

Even while IE 6 was widely used it was the first target of viruses and malware. They used to hijack the home page and insert popup ads. Even now IE sucks. Chrome is fast and Firefox has a lot of addons. Why go for IE. Many use it just because it is available by default.

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