Old habits die hard and it couldn’t be any truer for those of you fighting off pressure to upgrade your computer systems.
Windows XP was released more than 15 years ago and Vista 10 years back, yet according to Netmarketshare they are used by 8.45% and 0.78% respectively.
Support for XP ended in April 2014 and Vista support is due to end on April 11, 2017. As XP is gone and Vista mere weeks away from the same fate, software developers are focusing more of their energy on newer platforms meaning the software they make isn’t supported for the likes of XP or Vista.
This certainly applies to web browsers – older browsers may still work on your PC, but without security patches they’ll be open to hackers who can exploit vulnerabilities.
As you may have heard, Microsoft is no longer supporting most versions of Internet Explorer prior to version 11 for its supported operating systems. Check out our article: Microsoft is killing Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10: What does it mean for you. The same goes for Google's Chrome browser, which has also been discontinued on XP and Vista.
Now, Firefox is due to follow later in 2017.
It’s a little confusing, so here’s the lowdown for Windows XP and Vista users for what browsers are, and aren’t, supported:
Internet Explorer 8: Supported with 32-bit and Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later, but no longer safe, since Microsoft announced support was ending
Internet Explorer 9: Not supported for XP
Internet Explorer 10: Not supported for XP
Internet Explorer 11: Not supported for XP
Firefox: Support due to end later in 2017. The company says it will "continue to provide security updates for users until September 2017" and will set a final support end date around mid-2017. To use Firefox on XP, you'll need to be running Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later. The last version of Firefox to support XP is Firefox 52, which was made available on March 7.
Opera: Version 36 is the last supported version for XP, but the company says it will continue to offer security patches
Lunascape: Supported as long as you’re running Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later
Google Chrome: No longer supported
Internet Explorer 8: Supported, but no longer safe, since Microsoft announced support was ending.
Internet Explorer 9: Supported, as long as you are running Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Internet Explorer 10: Not supported by Vista
Internet Explorer 11: Not supported by Vista
Firefox: Support due to end later in 2017. The company says it will "continue to provide security updates for users until September 2017" and will set a final support end date around mid-2017. The last version of Firefox to support Vista is Firefox 52, which was made available on March 7.
Opera: Version 36 is the last supported version for Vista, but the company says it will continue to offer security patches
Lunascape: Supported and safe to use
Google Chrome: No longer supported
How to check which version of Windows you have
Windows XP: Click Start – Run. Type winver and press Enter.
Windows Vista: Click Start and type Computer. Right click and select Properties.
Web browser download links
Internet Explorer 11
BT customers can also download an optimised version of Internet Explorer.
Firefox is one of the leading web browsers to rival Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. However, support is set to be dropped later in 2017 meaning this won't be a good alternative for XP and Vista for much longer. The last version of Firefox to support XP and Vista is Firefox 52, which was made available on March 7.
On older systems Opera warns that “it is likely that it will be less usable”. If Opera fails to start up, unfortunately it won’t work on your system. You can only use Opera 36 on XP and Vista.
Lunascape is one of the lesser known web browsers, but is a reliable alternative that is supported on Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Which web browser do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Article updated on 09/03/2017