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Has IE8 come to the end of its useful life?

  stlucia2 08:21 06 Jun 2013

I've been happily using IE8 as my default browser on my Windows XP machine for many years now. I tried Firefox for a long while, but always had to go back to IE for some web sites, such as doing an internet check-in for a flight, because the site wouldn't respond to input via Firefox. Last year I ditched Firefox because it clashed with some of my other software after an update.

Now I'm beginning to find more problems with IE8: First there's the running script problem with this site; then on another of my favourite forums it keeps going back to the top of the page, instead of where I left off, when I go back from reading or contributing to a particular thread; and lastly, since about a week ago I can no longer get local weather and news on the BBC News web site -- the site prompts me to input my postcode but doesn't respond to my input.

So now I'm trying Google Chrome, and so far it's not causing the three issues mentioned. Should I also be moving on from XP to 7, or should I wait for the next Windows that works with PCs that don't have touch-screens?

  BT 08:35 06 Jun 2013

I've used Google Chrome for years. On the rare occasion I've had to use IE I've been frustrated by its slowness. It takes ages to load and sits around for ages waiting for pages to load in.

I still use XP on my desktop and Win 7 on my laptop, and I think I still prefer XP.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 09:51 06 Jun 2013

Agree IE8 is now rubbish but 9 onwards will not work with IE I mostly use FF with an IE plug in for those sites that only want to see IE.

  stlucia2 10:43 06 Jun 2013

"... but 9 onwards will not work with IE ..."

I don't understand you there Fruit Bat; what "9 onwards" won't work with IE?

BT, I haven't had a problem so much with slowness with IE (except on this site, where it takes an age to decide it doesn't like some kind of script), but rather some functions seem to no longer work properly. Seems like web site designers are using language/routines/whatever that are not supported by IE8.

  Ian in Northampton 10:53 06 Jun 2013

I think Fruit Bat may have meant that IE9 onwards won't work with XP - I'm not sure.

But: give Chrome a try. It works fine on XP - I've used it for years, and it's light years better than IE8. But, be aware: there are sites that will only work with IE. I had a nightmare on a UK government site recently that plain just wouldn't work with Chrome - but accessing it with IE proved to be no problem. (The site's tech support confirmed that it won't work properly with Chrome.)

  stlucia2 12:00 06 Jun 2013

Thanks for all the input.

Chrome certainly seems to be doing the job better than IE8 for me, but it's a shame that browser designers can't get together to create a common standard for HTML or whatever language it is that web sites are designed in these days. It must be nightmare for people who are not so computer-savvy, who are just stuck with a single browser because that's what their PC was loaded with when they bought it.

So, on to the second part of my original question: Some people seem to be still happy with Windows XP, as I am, but when will the time be right to upgrade to a later version? I think I read somewhere that Windows 8 is shortly to be updated so that it works better with conventional PCs (no touch-screen) -- am I right there, and would that be a good time to upgrade? Or is Windows 7 so good that it will survive as many years as XP has?

  Ian in Northampton 16:47 06 Jun 2013

I have two PCs in my home office. One - my primary 'personal' one is XP. The other, which I use mostly for work, is W7. Personally, I'm not fond of W7, and continue to prefer XP. That may be because of long term familiarity, but I can pretty much get XP to do anything I want. I've found very little that W7 does that I need that XP doesn't do - and a few things that downright annoy me. The only thing that might make me change my XP machine to W7 would be if I decided to upgrade to an SSD: by all accounts, XP doesn't handle those very well. The fact that XP is nearing the end of its supported life doesn't worry me. I've never upgraded to SP3, and never had any problems. As things stand, I wouldn't consider W8 - I've really heard too many bad things about it.

  john bunyan 18:13 06 Jun 2013

I switched from XP to W7 a couple of years ago and much prefer it, mainly on security grounds and because XP is limited to 3.2 gig of RAM. I did run a dual boot XP /W7 for a while but soon got rid of XP, and I use IE10 quite happily. I agree with those who have doubts about W8 and have no intention of switching - unless I buy a new PC.

  stlucia2 19:56 06 Jun 2013

Thanks for the further replies.

I've run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor and it says that I'll need to perform a custom installation of 32-bit Windows 7. It also says that Outlook Express will no longer be available but, other than that, my PC seems to be okay.

So I think I'll stick with XP until something stops working.

  QuizMan 23:19 06 Jun 2013

I rolled back to IE8 recently because (on my PC at least) Norton Toolbar and Identity Safe refuses to work with IE9 or IE10. It is to do with Protected Mode. From what I read it forces IE into 64 bit mode which is not compatible with Norton. The trouble is with auto-updating is goes back to IE9 within 24 hours.

Frankly it is all too much hassle so I use Chrome now.

  LastChip 23:48 06 Jun 2013

Is it past it? Yes!

Why? Web developers (in the main) hate IE and will only support the latest versions, or those that have significant market share. IE8 (it is claimed) now has less than 25% of the market, but it's still significant enough that it can't be ignored. However, Google put it on notice that it wouldn't support IE8 from November of last year, so it's on borrowed time and I suspect that share will rapidly decrease.

How will it affect you? Simply, a number of sites you visit won't render properly (at best), or significant functionality will not be available to you.

You don't need an old version of IE. To get a modern browser, even if you keep XP, simply choose an alternative. Chrome or Opera are both good choices. But there are a number of others too.

I suspect if you wait for a non-touch operating system from Microsoft, you'll wait a very long time indeed. Don't hold your breath!

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