It’s only natural to want to hang onto something familiar for as long as possible, but when it comes to web browsers, that’s generally a bad idea.
Web browsers are updated regularly, but not just to add new features. Updates add support for new web technology and, more importantly, fix security holes.
Once in a while, developers radically update their browsers, leaving their predecessors to gather dust. Although they still support them with patches, eventually they will put them to rest for good – a move which Microsoft is taking with Internet Explorer.
From January 12, the company will no longer support older versions of Internet Explorer, meaning you’ll need to download the latest version, Internet Explorer 11, to keep your computer safe – find out what it means for you here.
But if you still need convincing it’s the right thing to do, read on…
1. It’s the only secure version of Internet Explorer left
Security is another area regarded as a weak point for Internet Explorer but that’s been fixed in recent versions. The verdict is that IE 11 is one of the most secure browsers available, particularly when it comes to detecting phishing sites, so it gives extra peace of mind against online scams.
But on top of that, IE 11 is now the only secure Internet Explorer browser left. This means Microsoft will stop fixing any problems on older versions of Internet Explorer, leaving you open to malicious attacks.
2. It looks just like Internet Explorer 9 and 10
If you’re worried about not knowing how to use IE 11 if you upgrade, don’t be - the interface is the same as that of Internet Explorer 9 and 10. And it gives much more space for web pages than many other web browsers, too.
3. It’s faster at displaying web pages
Speed is an often-overlooked aspect of web browser performance, but as web pages become more complex, shaving seconds off the time it takes to download and display them makes for a much smoother online experience.
A number of independent tests have shown that all other things (such as the PC’s specification) being equal, IE 11 is quite a bit faster than previous versions and the competition. Internet Explorer also exploits the power of your PC’s graphics card to help display graphics-intensive web pages; you can test this yourself using any browser at Microsoft’s ‘EtchMark’ test.
BT recently performed some tests and found IE 11 to be significantly faster – loading pages an average of two seconds faster.
4. It knows what you’ll click next
When you open a web page, IE 11 tries to predict the link you’ll click next and loads it automatically in a hidden tab. Then, if you do click it, the page appears to load instantly. The prediction process is quite sophisticated - and it only happens when Internet Explorer is confident in its educated guess.
5. It’s more compatible with the latest standards
Internet Explorer has always had a reputation of being out of step with the latest web standards, which meant it didn’t always display web pages as well as other browsers - BT Mail being just one example. Microsoft has addressed this with IE 11 (which also partly explains its performance improvements), so you no longer need feel embarrassed to say it’s your browser of choice…
6. It keeps your personal data safe
Internet Explorer’s Safety menu has long offered a host of options to stop web sites from spying on your online activities. IE 11 takes this further with a “Do not track” option to prevent web sites from secretly following you around the web for advertising purposes. This option is enabled by default, but it’s also available from the Safetyoption on the Tools menu.
7. It has useful features
Although Microsoft has already launched a new browser called Edge for Windows 10, Internet Explorer is still packed with useful features fit for Windows 8.1.
If you want to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 check out our step by step guide.
What do you think of Internet Explorer 11? Let us know in the Comments section below.