Feb 20, 2010

HugsHerPCXSmallAmong the barriers to Windows 7 deployment is the need to upgrade users (and their applications) from IE 6 to IE 8. But too many of those users apparently refuse to give up the older Microsoft web browser. Here’s what’s holding them back.

Most web developers gnash their teeth at the thought of having to support their applications under Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 browser. IE6 isn’t standards-compliant, it’s insecure, and it does not play well with anything else on the web — especially the software you long to deploy. But a minority of companies still use IE6, to developers’ consternation.

I began to wonder: Why? I found myself curious about the reasons a company might hang onto the old browser despite all its bad press. It would be easy to cop an attitude (and most developers whom I asked about this issue had a violent emotional response). But my motivation was not meant to evaluate anybody’s reasons, only to learn them. This is not because I am a kind and understanding person who is above petty whinging like, “What the heck is wrong with those people?!” but in an effort to listen to the user before designing software for them. You can’t solve people-problems unless you understand the users’ reasons. You can’t sell someone on your strategy unless you know what holds them back. (I simply whine later, to myself.)

Granted, in some businesses it would seem like there isn’t a big rush to change, as Microsoft has said that “Both IE6 and IE7 will continue to be supported with Windows XP. They will continue to be supported until the end of support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.” Yet, vendors are (finally, some would mutter) dropping support for IE6, and that trend can only continue. So I asked for input from people who work in companies that are still standardized on Internet Explorer 6 why they do so — with some results that surprised me.

They Don’t Upgrade Anything

Let’s start with the not-so-surprising reasons to hang onto IE6. The most obvious is that some companies are slow to update or adopt any technology. You and I could probably share plenty of horror stories about businesses that insist on using the oldest equipment and software around.

Jim’s experience is typical of these stories. Based on his consulting experience in the San Francisco area, he said, “Many small and medium businesses have no clue when it comes to keeping their systems secure. I have found so many systems with expired anti-virus because the business owner either did not want to pay for more anti-virus or did not even know that it was expired.” In other words, user ignorance is a prime issue. But so is the reluctance to upgrade. “There are still companies that still have some systems running versions of Windows older than Windows XP, which are also extremely insecure,” Jim added. “If later versions of IE break applications that just means that they are using insecure applications and the applications should be replaced.”

In Jim’s view, the new browser adoption will follow only after hardware fails. “For small/medium businesses, it will soon be impossible for them to use any Windows operating system older than Windows 7 because they typically buy their systems retail. Larger businesses will soon be in the same boat because Microsoft will not give them Windows XP licenses for too much longer now that Windows 7 is released and fairly stable.”

In fact, larger organizations often have a harder time changing equipment — and the software that goes along with it. Marco, president of a consulting firm in Toronto, Washington and Nashville that specializes in large-scale web systems and information architecture, has a number of clients still running IE6. “Large organizations tend to refresh their client hardware and software at a three-to-five year interval, thus making the use of IE6 a necessary evil,” he said. “For example, we are currently completing work for a large organization (approximately 5,000 captive clients) that finds itself in exactly this situation: They are currently running in Windows XP Service Pack 1 with IE6, their next desktop refresh is not due until mid-2011 and, therefore, we have no choice but to support the older Microsoft browser.” That adds another layer of complexity for the web development firm because individual employees may have installed other browsers outside the controlled environment (since some users telecommute).

The adoption slowness may not be only due to the organization’s own decision-making. As explained by Josh, Google sites administrator at a company in the healthcare field, companies that outsource all of their IT — including internal help desk support as well as web development — don’t know or can’t judge the quality of service they’re getting. “I was developing a website for one such company recently and we couldn’t get past certain barriers because their third-rate third-party IT was apparently unconcerned with upgrading them,” explained Josh. “And the company itself was unaware that it was a problem.” Josh’s exhortations to upgrade fell on deaf ears, but his client felt “They should be able to see what their customers would see, as they felt that a lot of their customers were also behind the times,” he said.

One Critical IE6-Only Application Holds Them Back

The other unsurprising reason is that the business may rely on a Web application that runs (or was supported) only on the older browser, and the company may be reluctant to upgrade. This made sense to me once I stepped back from the platform or browser issue to look at the adoption or upgrade cycle for third-party software on its own merits. For instance, I used to work in a company that used Lotus Notes in a version that was three versions behind the current one IBM/Lotus sold. Nobody from the IT department ever confided in me about the reasons, but it was clear that our organization wasn’t scratching the surface on the existing features and didn’t see a reason to spend more for a newer version. As long as they could keep the old version running with an existing environment (which in desktop terms likely means Windows XP for most businesses), there was no motivation to change.

So one thing that keeps users on IE6 is the dependence on a critical application that hasn’t been upgraded but works only on the older browser. For example, a quality assurance professional told me that her employer is finally moving to IE7 next month. “One of the delays has been Siebel,” she explained. The business installed the Siebel version that supports IE7 just over a month ago. “The company has been supporting IE7 (and other browsers) for users who are outside the company for nearly two years,” she added.

IT guy Jeffrey confided that his company has “some very annoying software” that runs most of the business which is not certified for any level above IE 6. The company also just put into service an “incredibly crappy content management system” that only supports IE 6. “It’s great being in the dark ages,” he wrote. “I am so embarrassed to admit that I am in IT in our company.”

John, the head of technology at a software company, is frustrated by web applications that aren’t backwards compatible. “Our problem with the Windows 7 rollout is around SAP compatibility. For example, SAP’s own portal site doesn’t work right in IE8. So if we roll out Windows 7, our developers won’t be able to request developer keys etc. and so won’t be able to work,” he said. Newer versions of SAP software were fixed to work in IE7 and IE8 but older patch levels don’t work. John’s company can control its internal systems, but they can’t fix our customers’ systems in every case, which causes a challenge. “I’m sure time will resolve these issues but in the meantime we are stuck on XP and IE6/7,” he explained.

Why Do Software Maintenance? It Isn’t Broken!

Then there’s the developers and their employers who recognize that the new browsers are better — but haven’t found the financial justification to invest in updating their own custom software. Companies who have many critical internal applications that won’t run on later versions often do not want to spend the money, time, or possible business interruption to upgrade all of the applications. As a software QA engineer named Vicki said, “Some internal applications still only work on IE6 and the time investment into making them work with new versions has not been made.”

Paul, an IT Manager in the Netherlands, shares the frustration of coping with older applications that fail in the new versions of Internet Explorer. “At least for us, that is the prime reason to stick with an older version,” he said.

The applications need to be rewritten, Paul acknowledges. “But how does an IT department convince business leaders to spend a lot of money to get what they already have?” he asks. “The many advantages to upgrades aside: The applications would still deliver what they always have.” In the view of the business leaders (the people with their hands on the annual budget, the software will end up doing the same thing it does today, and there’s plenty of pressure to spend limited finances on things that don’t work at all.

It is probably a matter of time though, said Paul. “Eventually the developers will be adding functionality or rewrite the application to suit changed needs of the business, and that will prove to be the most opportune time to make the application IE8-ready.”

In addition to money, said Marteyn, owner and director of a digital media and IT development company in Malaysia, users and consulting clients often are also ignorant of issues such as security and performance. “Too many of our (potential) clients are unwilling to invest in upgrading their hardware, which as a result typically rules out the use of modern browsers,” said Marteyn. “It’s typically not the large companies that are the problem here, it is the vast number of [small and medium businesses] out there that will not (or can not) afford the time and money to do these kind of upgrades.”

According to Marteyn, one result is that the client stays ignorant and the outsourcing companies don’t educate them. “Hardly any of the established companies deliver top-notch solutions to their clients (I’m thinking e-commerce here mainly). This to me shows for the fact that being up to par with the latest technology is still not an important issue on anyone’s agenda.”

IE6 as User Control

But I was a bit shocked — and amused — by the secret reason that some companies refuse to drop IE6: They keep it precisely because it is so limiting. That is, as long as it runs the current crop of web applications they rely on, they don’t have to care if IE6 looks ugly with CNN or if it crashes when you access YouTube. They don’t want their employees hanging out on CNN or visiting YouTube in the first place!

As a UK e-commerce and IT consultant explained, most B2B sites are just fine with IE6. “But at the same time, most of the Web 2 (social networks) are not working well. So IE6 is used as sort of a ‘block’ for Facebook.” Why install site block software when the browser on which you standardized does the job for you?

A developer’s response to these reasons depends, naturally, on what sort of site is being built. B2B sites may need to support IE6 if they want to keep these customers. If your web startup is meant to appeal only to consumers — who only check it on lunch breaks, really! (yeah, right) — perhaps you can give up IE6 support because the target site visitor is playing hooky at her desk anyway.

The larger issue is one of convincing the CFO to allocate a budget to update the allegedly-working IE6-only web application, or to move away from older commercial software that relies on IE6. I’m not sure how that happens, but perhaps some shared wisdom (“This is what worked for me…”) will help other developers.

Is your company still using or supporting IE6? As a developer or IT manager, how have you nudged them towards the adoption of more modern browsers? Tell me; I’d love to know.

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[Note: edited to correct attribution to Marteyn.—ES]

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COMMENTS

  • Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by estherschindler: I wrote: Why You Can’t Pry IE6 Out Of Their Cold Dead Hands http://bit.ly/cKlBgO...

  • I work as a subcontractor for a company that is doing a large software project for the US govt. The computers we use are still running XP SP2 because SP3 has not been approved by the IT folks for some reason. From what I understand, they are going to upgrade to Vista in the next year or two, not Windows 7 as most sane people would expect. I'm astounded every day that an IT company is this far behind the curve, so my only conclusion is that the upgrade decisions must be controlled by the govt.

  • Feb 21, 2010 | teravus says:

    I use IE6 as my primary personal browser because I run on low cost hardware and, let's face it… current browsers are resource hogs compared to IE6. This website completely froze my IE6 browser when loading so I loaded it in Firefox as my secondary. Normally, IE6 runs in less then 25MB of RAM. Firefox is consuming 80MB of ram for displaying this one single web page. Why do I hang on to IE6? Because my computer runs faster when less RAM is in use.

  • Feb 21, 2010 | kikito says:

    Firefox can be installed in the user space (no admin rights needed). So keeping IE6 so "the new sites will not work nicely" doesn't really hold.

  • Feb 21, 2010 | Josh Harness says:

    As pointed out in almost 90% of the cases the persons in charge are utmost ignorant and/or have been improperly counseled.

    I do avoid this kind of clients like the plague, since their ignorance ensues unnecessary and (sadly often) unpaid work.

  • Feb 21, 2010 | Samuel says:

    FWIW, the entire USPS end-user desktop environment is IE6 on WinXP. And its all locked down with no local Administrator access. Even on the "intranet" sites/applictions, its slow, buggy, and unstable. Sadly, the 'computerized' part of mail processing equipment mostly uses MS technologies too (ranging from NT to XP)

  • Feb 21, 2010 | MSoftsucks says:

    As a consultant, I have several health care clients still using Windows 2000. We have proposed upgrades to them, but they don't see the need because their setup is working. We have installed Firefox, but they won't use it because many of these sites will only work with IE. We've installed IETab, but due to the complex nature of these sites, many will not work with IETab. So we are are stuck for now on IE 6.

  • Feb 21, 2010 | Wil says:

    Sometimes, even in the new browsers, non-backward compatible issues occur. For example: many websites break in Firefox 3.6 due to some .isReadOnly javascript change. Thus holding the sysadmin to upgrade.
    Browser should, just like IE8 does, have a 'backward engine mode'. This way a user can still use his latest and greatest browser, but still access that vital app.

    I think in 3 of the 4 scenario's above would have been non-issues at all if IE7 and IE8 would have supported a 'do this site in IE6 render' mode. Sysadmins could upgrade without problems, and WebDevelopers could than just always build for the latest version.

  • Feb 21, 2010 | John says:

    The upshot to this entire story is really this: Microsoft wrote all kinds of proprietary "features" into IE 6 and then convinced a lot of companies to make use of them. Companies did, and did so in a way that essentially prevented them from any form of upgrade once Microsoft realized that they couldn't dictate, or ignore, web standards anymore. So, what you have left is an enormous user base sitting on old technology that not only us developers want to see gone, but Microsoft as well.

    The funny thing about it is that the success of IE 6 in the corporate world is a big part of the reason for the lack of success of Vista. Microsoft turned out to be their own worst enemy on this one.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Guest82 says:

    You should consider that half (or more!) of IE's resources are hidden under other processes in the system. What you say is 25MB of RAM is probably 80-100MB if you consider all of the Windows libraries it relies upon.

    Disable prefetch, clear that directory right out and start using Firefox. Slower startup. Less intense.

  • Nice to meet you, too.

    I don't claim that these are my reasons. They're the reasons of IT professionals based, presumably, on their real-world experience.

    Nor do I pretend any percentage-breakdown of which of these reasons is the most prevalent. I'm not sure why you assume I do.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Russ says:

    I suspect most people will just use what's in front of them. At work, we don't have a choice – the company has stipulated that we're to run with IE6. The reason for this is probably hardware related – it is in the case of my workstation anyway – and I can't see it changing any time soon.

    But then, would I upgrade if I had the chance? No. IE6 is still so much faster than IE7 or IE8. I don't need tabs, not when the browser runs so quickly that it doesn't matter that I've got ten windows open. And yes, it can be unstable, but so is IE7, so is IE8. Firefox is quite a memory hog these days too – and I'm forced to use that because of issues with our company's proxy server (long story, sigh).

    At home, I've opted for what seems to be the fastest browser available today: Google Chrome. I'd use it at work if I could.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Que says:

    A ton of those corporate internal apps were developed with early .net Visual studio tools to generate the crappy HTML that only works on IE6.

    Developers drank the cool aid when Microsoft told them they didn't need to understand anything about HTML and they could keep using the development tools they were used to and deploy to this cool new web thing. Now you have developers with HTML code they understand very poorly.

    Microsoft has screwed their developers and users alike.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Plan And Budget says:

    Tell your clients to properly budget for upgrades. I've had experiences with companies that don't budget properly and as a result, system and network upgrades are obviously left out when it comes to money until the client finally falls to the situations below:

    1. they get hacked and plagued with malware leaving them almost totally unproductive
    2. they get smoked with a massive bill for all new hardware, software and licensing all in one year

    Poor resource planning is the biggest reason that companies don't upgrade. If you don't budget and plan properly, then get smoked with a massive IT cost in one year that comes in a spreadsheet that you can't open because your computer is infected with malware, then your systems get hacked because you couldn't upgrade, you waste a ton of time spinning your tires until you get it all resolved, you lose clients, targets aren't met, your fiscal balance sheet is out of whack, employees don't get their bonus and you start to see a revolving door and it takes a long time before you recover.

    Paint a picture? That's right…the systems are important!

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Frustrated with IE says:

    I work for a large government department in Australia. IE 6 is the official browser and all our internal intranet applications only work on IE. Office is the offical productivity suite. We are a MS shop basically. Windows XP is the official desktop. The IT folks are evaluating Windows 7, but before that, they were evaluating Vista for years. The intranet applications were written years ago. The teams that wrote those applications probably don't exist given that the applications work and they haven't been updated in many years. To get them to work with a modern browser will invovle essentially rewriting the application front end. The amount of inertia is amazing. IT is not our core business and there are always other higher priority tasks at hand, and hence IE 6 still lives on.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Esther dumbass says:

    Wow, completely wrong. I mean perhaps your reasons account for 10% of companies.
    The real reason is the API. duh

  • Your website has a clbuttic censorship system! Hilarious!

  • [...] There’s actually several good reasons as highlighted by Esther Schindler in her article: “Why You Can’t Pry IE6 Out of Their Cold Dead Hands”. Now before you start jumping on this as another anti-IE6 rant, take note that this is actually a [...]

  • Feb 22, 2010 | AntiIE6man says:

    IE6 needs to die. Plain and simple. I don't develop for it anymore, and explain to my clients why. People who are behind the curve shouldn't be pampered anymore. In 2007? Ok. 2008? Kinda. 2009? Pushing it. Now and into the future? No! They need to get with the program. This is like letting a 40-year-old without a job or degree live at home with his parents rent free. After a while it's just not reasonable anymore.

  • do you know that your website apears to be a white page on chrome ?

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Shiva says:

    You think IE 6 is bad? Books A Million Still runs their registers on Win95. I guess being secure never occurred to them.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Twisted By Design says:

    Most government agencies in the UK still use IE6, simply because upgrading is very very expensive.

    Add in the fact that firefox etc can't be installed or modified easily via group policy, a manual install is required on each machine.

    Not to mention the user can then install any ill advised plug-in they want which could do whatever it wants to corporate security. Then you have the extra cost of rebuilding the intranet, packaging the software, UAT testing, deployment issues, user training, maintainence, new PC builds, update procedure, new IT support contracts etc etc etc.

    The list goes on pretty much forever and can add up to cost hundreds of thousands.

    Most web designers I talk to simply say "lulz, why not just install firefox?!"

    Welcome to the reality of corporate IT. The death to IE6 campaign is in dreamland.

  • So I see! It hadn't come up before. It's very… silly.

    (Though my favorite auto-censorship story is from the days of BBSs. A friend was sysop of an all-about-wine BBS in Napa Valley. She had LOADS of fun dealing with the software that refused to let anyone type chardonnay… because it had — let's see what the software does here — "hardon" buried in the word.) –Esther

  • I learned that only last week. The developers are on it. (Lookit 'em scurry!)

  • Feb 22, 2010 | bob e says:

    Just sticke with tables and don't use fancy css positioning and your code will look fine in IE6. Easy and works on all browsers.

  • Reason 1 could be solved by facebook refusing to display to IE6 (not just giving a warning, but not working). This approach wouldn't really affect those users stuck with IE6 only enterprise apps, as they probably have facebook blocked anyway!

  • Feb 22, 2010 | pbz says:

    I'm on chrome and it is working fine.

  • that's nothing, FF 3.6 takes 1 gb of ram just to open on my system. All the latest upgrades to FF and Safari are resource hogs. I have to use IE7 for work now as our web app doesn't work with FF3.6, and it's a snappy dream compared with the slow, treacle-like experience I have become used to with FF3.

    So much for the wonders of html5 and css3, looks like soon I will have to upgrade just to browse the web. Not using the latest browsers is not an option as I work in web design / development. Absolutely frickin ridiculous!

    So good luck and more power to you!

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Larry Seltzer says:

    The idea of using IE6 as a user control is the most bankrupt one presented in this article. There are actual systems administrators can use to control which web sites users can and can't access if you feel you need to do that.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Dirk K' says:

    I personally use IE6nomore.com, where you can copy/paste a conditional comment that displays a passive (/aggressive?) message (not too massive) at the top of the user's glass which passes a message to them stating the fact that they are using an outdated browser. I realize this won't cut it when creating backend apps FOR a specific client, but for other projects I use it religiously. (Let's count the a*terisks.)

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Ryan says:

    Great article! Exactly why I built this site http://ie6death.com It’s gotta end some time!

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Susan says:

    Those folks running XP sp2 need to be aware that after June, only SP3 machine will get security patches.

  • [...] Why You Can’t Pry IE6 Out Of Their Cold Dead Hands | IT Expert Voiceitexpertvoice.com [...]

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Reekho says:

    Hey there,

    I liked this article, and it made me realize a bunch of things, since I am about to launch my own web design activity. Thank you very much.

    By the way, I get a blank white screen too when accessing this article with Google Chrome, on 7 64bits.

  • of course if there is an IE6 app they really really need to keep running they could just get into the 21st century with Win7/IE8 (and a choice of other modern browser) and use Spoon.net to virtualize what they need – I do IE6 testing that way… http://spoon.net/Browsers/

  • I think that most people here would agree with you. But we are geeks, or at least IT professionals. Those saying, "That's what the people with the checkbooks opine" don't necessarily agree with the client opinions — and yet they are powerless to change them. It's a matter of trust; computer consultants and VARs have no more credibility than car mechanics. If the mechanic tells you, "You're going to need a new carburetor; I patched it but it won't last" you might not believe him.

    Plus, you and I are used to the notion that the computer industry moves faster than the equipment wearing out. I drove one car for 14 years, and it was an anti-lemon; it just kept running. (In large part that's because I did listen to my mechanic about fixing things.) Most people in business would like to keep their computers just as long. Sure, the new ones might have more features (not the least of which is the computer equivalent of airbags) but this one is paid for, and I'll keep it running as long as possible. Most of these people aren't doing more with that ancient PC than they did with it the day they put it in service (or so they think — I'm not saying it's so); as a result they don't need more horsepower.

    I don't know how to change their minds either. But saying, "Budget for upgrades" isn't going to convince them.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Chad says:

    RAM is cheap though. Its one of the easiest, cost effective upgrades that will improve your computer instantly. That's a poor excuse to stick with a crappy browser.

  • Actually there's a meta-issue here, which IMHO dates from the early PC era in which users complained that microcomputers were too hard to use, and that the industry should make it easy to do everything… that you shouldn't have to know anything in order to accomplish something. That's how we made the transition from the expression "idiot-proof software" to "user friendly."

    You're right: Microsoft did tell developers that their tools would make it easy to create apps for that new Web-thingie. And developers bought it. And, since, that was smack in the worst phase of Microsoft believing that it knew-and-controlled the computer industry and its standards, the results were… er, rather proprietary.

    But it does come from the human desire to "do something without having to know anything about it." That's a sentiment which has always been anathema to geeks. OTOH geeks imagine that users want to mess around with computers, when all the user wants to do is be-a-doctor or write-a-novel or fill-in-an-expense form.

    When a happy medium between "ease of use" and "powerful software" is found, we call it "intuitive." And then, usually, we screw it up by making it more complex instead of simpler.

  • They think they found the source of the problem. I hope it works better now!

  • [...] See all: 5Words Why IE 6 won’t die. [...]

  • Great discussion. Much as we'd like to see IE6 go (we've written about it here (http://saucelabs.com/blog/index.php/2010/02/death… for reasons written here and more, it's not going away soon, even with Google deprecating support for it. Sauce Labs offers a cloud-hosted cross-browser testing service that takes most of the sting out of testing web apps on IE6 using Selenium.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Quizotic says:

    New reason: because Microsoft won't successfully perform the upgrade on a Windows 2000 system. I've tried many times and have always failed. Microsoft want to first upgrade my version of W2K, but can't, and I don't know why or how to fix it. Yeah, I can use other browsers… but the question was why not IE7 or IE8. The answer is "because it's not possible on my W2K systems".

  • Feb 22, 2010 | anonym0us says:

    I've met a couple of school owners who actually like IE6 and so inflict it on their pupils out of personal choice. My current school runs IE6 on mostly low-ends running XP (one Vista on a low-end comp and three 2000s) out of the fact that the headteacher "likes it". What illogical sentimentality for some of the worst software on the planet.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Barbara says:

    while your developers are on that white page thingy, note that I am using Safari and got the white page twice before refreshing for a third time to finally get the page.
    I am a very junior website designer, freelance, and do not support IE6, because I can't!

  • [...] Why You Can’t Pry IE6 Out of Their Cold, Dead Hands by Esther Schindler, IT Expert Voice, February 20, 2010 [...]

  • One thing that I would like to see from Microsoft is a browser render preference. This would keep the ability to have local intranet sites render at IE6 but have other sites render in a correct browser mode such as the upcoming IE9.

    This could be incorporated from the admin preference side of the system and be controlled from one location in the IT department.

    In regards to some coments about improper plugins and other sites, I see this browser version being "locked" by the same system admin preference settings about what plugins/features are allowed and what sites are blocked.

    This would promote future builds of the company's software to be standard compliant while not breaking existing applications and not force users to install a third party browser.

  • I'm visiting this page with the latest dev channel release of Chrome with no issues.

  • Thanks. It was easy to understand this material. I am waiting for new information about this theme.

  • So your solution is to write for the least common denominator? At what point do you believe your users' needs (fulfilled by more modern browsers) reduce that least-common-denominator to zero?

  • People forget that Google released a wonder tool called GOOGLE CHROME FRAME, that installs inside any IE, and let you use HTML5 and CSS3 without having to upgrade your browser to something else, and just work if "called for", on demand.

  • Hi there. This page refuses to display in the Google Chrome browser. Thought you might like to know…

  • [...] <a href="the whole scoop, and say a quiet prayer for the little browser that keeps on keepin’ [...]

  • People forget that Google released a wonder tool called GOOGLE CHROME FRAME, that installs inside any IE, and let you use HTML5 and CSS3 without having to upgrade your browser to something else, and just work if "called for", on demand.

  • Feb 22, 2010 | Jason says:

    Your site doesn't display correctly in IE 6. :)

  • How many extensions do you have? The max I've seen Firefox take up on my comp is 350 mb, and while that is a lot, a gig just sounds ridiculous!

  • [...] can be aghast, too, if you go read some of the horror stories in Fulton’s post, and in an excellent article by IT Expert Voice’s Esther Schindler (also linked by Betanews). Schindler explains exactly [...]

  • [...] Why You Can’t Pry IE6 Out Of Their Cold Dead Hands – Companies have a variety of reasons for not upgrading, ranging from the fact that they [...]

  • [...] can be aghast, too, if you go read some of the horror stories in Fulton’s post, and in an excellent article by IT Expert Voice’s Esther Schindler (also linked by Betanews). Schindler explains exactly [...]

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Pedro says:

    Happened here, i'd guess it's a script using document.write.

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Pedro says:

    This already exists from IE7 onwards, the X-UA-Compatible meta tag. See here: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/06/10/intro…

  • How many extensions do you have? The max I've seen Firefox take up on my comp is 350 mb, and while that is a lot, a gig just sounds ridiculous!

  • [...] can be aghast, too, if you go read some of the horror stories in Fulton’s post, and in an excellent article by IT Expert Voice’s Esther Schindler (also linked by Betanews). Schindler explains exactly [...]

  • [...] <a href="the whole scoop, and say a quiet prayer for the little browser that keeps on keepin’ [...]

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Fae Yin says:

    I think businesses should just switch to linux. Apple already has a *nix based OS, and I can’t understand why businesses love to pay licensing fees with they have a free alternative readily available. Believe me, if back-ward compatibility is an issue there will be someone in the nix community willing to address it. But it would cost money to make the switch? Talk to the community and work with them, they’d find a fix.

  • [...] Why You Can’t Pry IE6 Out of Their Cold, Dead Hands by Esther Schindler, IT Expert Voice, February 20, 2010 [...]

  • [...] Read the rest of the post at the original site. Tagged: Internet, Microsoft, Voices, digital, innovation, software, IE6, Internet Explorer, IT Expert Voice, Microsoft | permalink Sphere.Inline.search("", "http://voices.allthingsd.com/20100223/why-you-can%e2%80%99t-pry-ie6-out-of-their-cold-dead-hands/&quot ;) ; « Previous Post ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000; document.write(''); [...]

  • [...] Read the rest of the post at the original site. [...]

  • [...] Why You Can’t Pry IE6 Out of Their Cold, Dead Hands by Esther Schindler, IT Expert Voice, February 20, 2010 [...]

  • [...] una encuesta en ITExpertvoice, un gran número de Pymes se aferran al navegador por ignorancia o coste, y probablemente no [...]

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Jaggernauten says:

    As a sysadm at a large scandinavian transport company we've made sure to push out SP3 and IE8 to all our users. We generally advice them use Firefox (which is installed on the machines per default) but if they won't comply, atleast they won't use that awful piece of software that comprises IE6.

  • [...] the whole scoop, and say a quiet prayer for the little browser that keeps on keepin’ on. Tweet [...]

  • Feb 23, 2010 | bob knight says:

    Madge in the steno pool will not think to, or be able to, install Firefox.

  • Feb 23, 2010 | DiY says:

    At our company we we're still suporting IE6.0 because unfortunally some of our costumers access our application from Office, were most of the times they are limited to IE6.
    It reaaly sucks, because we currently need to mantain 2 diferent portals, one for IE6 (which don't have the latest versions) and other for the rest of the browsers.

  • [...] razones diferentes dependiendo del tamaño y qué tipo de aplicación usen. Según una encuesta en ITExpertvoice, un gran número de Pymes se aferran al navegador por ignorancia o coste, y probablemente no [...]

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Ando says:

    Here at my company, the main employee info portal for the intranet, and our HR system (including T&E, PTO requests, pay stubs, etc) is built on some kind of coding that breaks if viewed with IE7 or IE8. When you ask the head IT folks about updating, they claim that since XP/IE6 are still supported by Microsoft until 2014, we’re not in a hurry to update the system. Further, they said only employees on the team that develops and tests our external domain website should even have anything besides IE6, and if you install anything else, you’re abusing local admin rights, and are basically just asking for trouble.

    Way to stay on the cutting edge, right?

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Trevortni says:

    I prefer to use Firefox. But when I am forced to use Internet Explorer, IE6 is the last one that had a reasonable UI. And I’m not the only developer at my company that refuses to downgrade the UI to 7 or 8. It wouldn’t be so bad if M$ would allow us to choose whether or not to make use of their horrendous design decisions (I’m looking at you, Ribbon team!), but as long as they continue to make the UI less usable with every release, I definitely see no reason to upgrade.

    Oh, and I get quite ticked off at developers who claim that the only reason people like me don’t upgrade is stupidity. I’m not stupid. I know the facts. I know the upgrades are there (7 and 8 each lasted in the neighborhood of an hour or so before I realized that there was no way to fix the UI and removed these pieces of junk from my computers). I know the security claims – which, seeing how I would be the person to address them, I get to be the one who decides whether they are sufficient reason to degrade my everyday user experience, I have decided that they are not sufficient.

    The only reason I see to upgrade is that an increasing number of whiny developers are looking to actually BLOCK me from using their websites with IE6, instead of allowing me to use their already existing templates that do work with IE6. New features? Who cares? You can present me with a DOS interface for all I care.

    But as long as you keep insulting me, you’re actually making it less likely that I care what you say, not more. So knock it off, people, and let me choose my browser based on my reasons.

    Though I suppose I will admit that, if you do block IE6, I do have covert copies of Firefox. But I’ll be annoyed if I have to wait for it to load before I find out that your piece of junk site wasn’t worth the download in the first place.

    *Note: None of this was directed at the author of this article. Thank you for continuing to not block IE6, your page displays fine, despite what somebody else commented. But especially, thank you for being willing to listen to what IE6 users do have to say.

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Gerald says:

    People say that COBOL should just lay down and die. But when there is billions of lines of code still running that was developed back in the 60′s and that code is STILL doing it’s job after all these years why upgrade. There isn’t one damn reason to do so.

    IE6 works, it may not render newer sites right but they still render the intranet site that were developed for it correctly. With virtual machine software out there, it’s a sure bet that Windows XP and IE6 will be around for a very long time even after Microsoft discontinues it. Microsoft may stop the activation of XP sooner or later but you can create images to re image a hard drive or make a back up of a virtual hard drive.

    Just because it’s the latest thing doesn’t always make it better

  • Feb 23, 2010 | Joel says:

    Your computer doesn't run faster when less RAM is in use. Your computer runs faster when the amount of RAM you have is greater than *or equal to* the amount of RAM you need. Your computer will run at the same speed regardless of whether 100 MB or 1000 MB of your RAM is unused.

  • Guess which one is the fastest and uses the least amount of memory – IE6 haha.
    All the others -have a few tabs open and they become memory hogs.

    So are you comparing one instance of IE6 running against multiple tabs running in the other browsers? Try 5 tabs open in those browsers vs 5 instances of IE6 and then I'd be curious to know which uses more.

  • Feb 23, 2010 | DiggerP says:

    Actually I agree with "teravus" – I run a bunch of browsers : IE6,IE7,IE8,Firefox,Opera,Chrome and Lunascape.Guess which one is the fastest and uses the least amount of memory – IE6 haha.
    All the others -have a few tabs open and they become memory hogs.
    Don't forget ,the security companies have a vested interest selling security software,so do their damnest to find security holes.Then M$ has come up with security updates to plug those supposed vulnerabilities.Does anybody ever check if their updates are addressing existing attacks?
    The majority is only a possibility ,so M$ has to cover their a*s.
    I can run IE6 very safely in a sandbox – e.g. Sandboxie http://www.sandboxie.com/
    Everything is caught in sandbox.
    Very simply ,every "expert" has a vested interest which is not necessarly a consumer's interest.

  • [...] heard from people who are stuck using a browser which is nearly 10 years old, is that they use other applications which only support IE 6. As it relates to CD, the complaint usually revolves around a partner in collaboration who uses a [...]

  • Oh my. Your situation summarized my entire article in a single anecdote!–Esther

  • I use a script that redirects IE6 users to a custom upgrade page.

    The upgrade page offers links to Firefox and Internet explorer 8. If they are on an a pre-XP OS the upgrade page only offers a link to Firefox which is supported on earlier OS.

    I tracked the results by ip on one website and in a 2week period had every redirected user return with an upgraded browser.

    People are more likely to change when you make it easy for them.

  • I just wanted to mention that Opera has the smallest foot print of all modern browsers.

  • Feb 24, 2010 | Robert says:

    Here lies the assumption that normal people buy a new computer every 2-3 years.

    No, tech professionals buy a computer every 2-3 years. Normal people keep it til they can't. Until it's done in by hardware failure, software problems etc.

    The fix is for Firefox to support old PCs. The Firefox developer community has been highly resistant to doing that, because of above-stated "everybody is like me" myopia.

    The result is a million webmasters have to write special code to accommodate backward browsers, instead of one browser writing code to support backward systems. That's just wrong. No wonder many balk.

    Since most spyware vectors are through the browser, it's all the more important.

  • What would you say is the over all mood in your company towards IE6, besides the fact that in your case, it's a necessity?

  • Feb 24, 2010 | Jonty says:

    [getting even further off-topic ] Actually, don't go looking at POS software too closely. You'll find a lot of it is still a DOS app! Yep, 50×80 char screen. These days running in the command prompt of WinXP … har har har.

  • What do you recommend for development when building out themes on various CMS systems? The reason I ask, is that the majority of CMS systems I've built themes for, tables tend to create more problems than solve & many times are very counter productive. Personally, I'm not sure if using tables is a good solution

  • Look, just because people still use old technology doesn't mean you have an obligation to support it. Will it hurt you as a business? Probably not. The cost of spending extra time and frustration making your site IE6 compliant outweighs the potential gain in almost every case.

    Businesses that lag behind do so because they can, not because they "have to". In many cases, their inertia works against them, so by staying on old, outdated technology they are hurting themselves without realizing it.

    In short, there is no compelling reason to support IE6 as a developer, and by doing so you're just helping to prolong the inevitable and are probably increasing your costs without any real benefit.

  • Feb 25, 2010 | Ryan says:

    Where I work, we still have people running IE6 as a side affect of running Windows 2000 Professional.

    Years ago, some our custom in-house applications were written in VB (dll's and all) for the desktop and will not work in XP (or so I'm told). The people that use these applications comprise half of our workforce.

    Second we have neither the time, manpower, or budget to rewrite said desktop applications or buy new computers; however one bright spot is that all new applications are web-based.

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    Actually, the government is better than this in most cases…. don't say that the government is slow, they are usually MUCH faster (contrary to the capitalism nuts views) than private businesses are.

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    Right in one! The fact is that anyone who has less than 4GB's (3.5 usable) in a system today (unless it's more than 10 years old) is an idiot who hasn't updated in a long time.

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    Windows NT was a good operating system…… it was for 'business use' and was extremely good.
    So was WIndows XP, and now Windows Vista and Windows 7.

    So, why is it 'sad' that these people are using something that supports SCADS of programs, unlike Linux and OSX? Sheer stupidity there

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    Actually, it IS reasonable if the man in question is not a good candidate for higher education (by degree I am assuming you mean college), that he is out looking for jobs but no one wants to hire him, etc.

    The fact is that the REAL problem is the attitude that people without high school and college degrees are 'worthless'…. no, it's just that our memorization and regurgitation system did not work for them AT ALL!

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    Lie…. I just opened it in Chrome 5.X, and this site is NOT a 'white page'.

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    There is a reason to upgrade: IE6 is totally insecure and doesn't have all the protections that IE7 and IE8, as well as Windows Vista and Windows 7, do to keep viruses off them.

    You forget that those COBOL machines are NOT CONNECTED TO THE DAMNED INTERNET! And don't have HUNDREDS of ways to attack them.

    You are comparing apples….. to MINES!

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    Robert, my parents buy a new machine about once every 2 years, and they are NOT tech professionals in the slightest.
    So, your argument falls totally FLAT!

    The time that most people upgrade is when their old system becomes so PAINFULLY slow compared to the one that their child has, that they say "Why the F*** am I staying on this computer!" and go out and buy a new one.

  • Feb 27, 2010 | Christopher says:

    Bull….. if your company doesn't have the time, manpower, etc. to rewrite these things, then your company should have been OUT of business years ago….. that is the bottom line here.

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell's IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn't upgrade to IE8 or another [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] why is it still alive and supported by Microsoft? Over at the IT Expert Voice, one writer was determined to find out. The article is very interesting, and listed a number of reasons that IE 6 is still being used in [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] If IE is so out of date, why are so many internet surfers still using it? It seems that the answer to that question lies in our corporations. When IE6 first came out in 2000, most of Corporate [...]

  • [...] adopted system before they adopt it. At every point in the evolution of technology one can find stories of users stuck in the ghettos of old systems, trapped there by fear, ignorance, or planning failures. Most [...]

  • [...] Free Download- “Things to do Online” Printable • 30 queries in 30 daysWeb Writing Success for Freelancers101 Most Awesome Adventure & Travel Twitterers You Should Be FollowingShalom! Showcase Of Web Design In Israel | iDezigner.ComMark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Note to content owners: DRM doesn’t workmarketing ideas | The Marketing Information BlogWhy You Can’t Pry IE6 Out Of Their Cold Dead Hands | IT Expert Voice [...]

  • [...] first up, why you can’t pry IE 6 out of their cold, dead hands. This is a story by Esther Schindler over at IT Expert Voice, and she has done a little research [...]

  • Mar 10, 2010 | Tim says:

    I use IE6 because I don't care about security. I don't bank online and I use a prepaid debit card for ebay. I also don't use any Norton , McAfee crap. I run my system lean and mean with a small hard drive and lots of RAM (and ramdrive). Tried firefox, opera and others but they are not faster the way I run (15 meg net helps too). I also drive a Mustang in CT. For the 10 days there's snow on the roads I suffer, But the rest of the year you bitches can eat my Cobra V-8 5-speed dust. That's how I choose to live. I don't recommend it for everyone. Youtube is like the weatherman appealing to the paranoid people who aren't going anywhere anyways. When it got sold (because the cooler previous owners didn't want all the copyright BS) they need to sell more ads (via scripts) so we need bigger, more elabororate computers/browsers. I had a friend come over with a brand new fully-loaded alienware machine and I blew the doors off that thing like i hit the NOS button. I almost made him cry with my old cheap yet juiced machine.

  • …and we see why the gulf between the corporate world and the www continues to grow when it comes to web apps.

    Is this why there's a bigger shift to cloud applications in that sphere I wonder?

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 or [...]

  • [...] the other hand, as far as I'm concerned, there's never any excuse for allowing anyone to keep using IE6. It's an abomination and needs to be stamped out as quickly as [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] View post: Why You Can't Pry IE6 Out Of Their Cold Dead Hands | IT Expert Voice [...]

  • Mar 14, 2010 | - says:

    seem to run light:
    kmeleon, opera. run ok on late-1990′s k6 w/ 256 (or less?) ram, but was only experiment. didn’t try with 100+ tabs open :-)
    possible css solutions:
    filter out css (either the “link” tag or particular css styles in css or style header)
    add your own css “link”
    as things are now, i feel compelled to fix some webpages despite that i use current browsers. lots of pages are simply laid out like sh1t.

  • Mar 14, 2010 | - says:

    “my parents buy a new machine about once every 2 years”
    Who are your parents? b&m gates, perhaps?
    my 10yo pc would have been 100% fine, but last year it was choking on a currrent 3d app. Otherwise, it’s still great on the net (winxp, ff3).

    “The fix is for Firefox to support old PCs. The Firefox developer community has been highly resistant to doing that, because of above-stated “everybody is like me” myopia.”
    does “old”=can’t run win2000? try KernelE? i haven’t researched it. Otherwise, opera or kmeleon.. or is ff2 still patched?

    “I tracked the results by ip on one website and in a 2week period had every redirected user return with an upgraded browser.
    People are more likely to change when you make it easy for them.”
    i’m not in the webdesign biz, but yoyu’re the 1st person to bother recording some srt of outcome. I’m not surprised at your success, considering the big noise about ms windows offering browser choice (“ballot screen” random flaw), and why that’s necessary…
    btw, tundrablue is funny name for phoenix.

  • [...] (or at least making sure it degrades gracefully); and even though IE6 is a very insecure browser; still there are a number of users stuck with it within corporate intranets (to be able to use old [...]

  • [...] recent article on Dell’s IT Expert Voice blog cited another reason your company doesn’t upgrade to IE8 [...]

  • [...] first up, why you can’t pry IE 6 out of their cold, dead hands. This is a story by Esther Schindler over at IT Expert Voice, and she has done a little research [...]

  • [...] heard from people who are stuck using a browser which is nearly 10 years old, is that they use other applications which only support IE 6. As it relates to CD, the complaint usually revolves around a partner in collaboration who uses a [...]

  • [...] heard from people who are stuck using a browser which is nearly 10 years old, is that they use other applications which only support IE 6. As it relates to CD, the complaint usually revolves around a partner in collaboration who uses a [...]

  • Jun 3, 2010 | Roger says:

    I run radio station automation that is DOS based running in Win98 because it requires real DOS direct access to outboard processor cards that XP won't allow (and it will run in 118 GB! reported on boot) The software also only uses FAT 16. Granted, this is a very limited use application, but the original design is pushing 20 years old, with the only noticeable difference between version 1 and Today is MP3 support instead of some proprietary MP non layer3 stuff (MP2, who knows). Although, after 12 years of using it, I dare you to give me a GUI interface. Some things work much better with a text based interface. I can't train anyone, and I have a hard time with phone instructions when I'm not there, because I don't know what the menus say anymore, it's just burned in my brain keystroke sequences for what I need to do.

  • Jul 6, 2010 | compugeek says:

    I don't know why you don't understand why SP3 hasn't been approved. It was a totally unnecessary Service Patch that introduced its own problems. On the other hand, the decision to "upgrade" to Vista — and when they made it — has become one of my favorite examples of government bureaucracy at play.

  • Jul 6, 2010 | compugeek says:

    Other than the OS, there really hasn't been a NEED to upgrade the hardware to meet office demands. My old systems that ran Win2K (still would if I booted them up today) were perfectly adequate for documents, spreadsheets, e-mail and basic browsing. I like new systems but — even as a technophile — I find it hard to tell someone replace a working computer system when they don't need to. If that customer is a medical practice that is already facing enormous expenses due to Medicare underpayments, ever-increasing malpractice insurance policies and now the cancer of ObamaPelosiReidCare, telling them they NEED to "upgrade" (along with all the associated changes in software, lost productivity as employees try to figure out how Office 2007 or Vista works, etc. is nuts.

    My main car is 11 years old — I plan on keeping it for another 3 or 4. My main laptop is 4 years old and still doing fine (although I DID replace the hard drive) with WinXP MCE SP2.

  • Jul 6, 2010 | compugeek says:

    Change is not always good — in fact, over half of all change is headed in the wrong direction if you were doing well before.

    On the one hand, I have known security problems with IE 6 — that proper firewall and antivirus protections and user procedures can mitigate. On the other hand, I have new interface, increased (sometimes malevolent) support for DMCA and NEW security problems to deal with in IE 7 or 8. I suppose I could shift to Firefox or Chrome — oh wait, I already have!

  • Jul 6, 2010 | compugeek says:

    Robert has it right. I bought my mother a new PC 1.5 years ago because my brother said her XP machine (then 4-5 years old) needed replacing. Truth is, he wanted a new machine to play games on. She refused to use the new PC despite the larger fancier LCD screen and features — she hated the Vista interface. She kept using the old WinXP box until last month when she replaced it with an iMac and she's in heaven now.

    If she'd used Firefox like I'd tried to get her to, I could have moved all her bookmarks and saved passwords over to the Mac too! As for brother — he's actually working now and not worried about how well any PC is running online games … :D

  • many newer computers are still sold with less than 4 Gigs RAM. a laptop i bought less than 5 years ago came with 2 Gigs. a netbook i bought 3 months ago holds no more than 2 gigs.

  • if you assk me, i think you misspelled assterisk

  • a great idea, but useless for users who
    -don't have admin rights
    -are scared or ignorant or shy about installing software

    in other words, typical ie6 users!

  • Aug 4, 2010 | Psycogeek says:

    I cant believe the Ignorant people who havent updated thier Landscaping to the new modern landscape style appropriatly designed with all the latest modern features.
    such ignorant people LOLOLOL
    surely you have replaced all the heads of your sprinkler system with V34.7 with waterplus and coherant regulation , why without G.H.B.S and L.J.W.M formatting of your AGH and the RSG controller in place i cant believe that your landscaping has any OCL organic freezones left.
    Surely your not so IGNORANT and Blatently blind and regressive as to have left your landscape system with TIL understructure and WHI non-standard complient planting

    See :-) now go fix the other 470 things in your life you have allowed to be 10 years old and still work, then tell me about it. Live on THIS planet.

  • Good analogy. Except for the problem: It *doesn't* still work. A web browser by its nature interacts with other systems. If it doesn't do that, it doesn't work.

    You can ride an ancient bicycle for as long as you want. If it still gets you from Point A to Point B, nobody has to care if it uses the most up-to-date technology.

    But if you drive a 1950s-era car, it will want "regular" gas rather than unleaded. Few car collectors expect that their local gas station will support them by dedicating a pump to the fuel their old car needs — yet somehow IE6 users (apparently) expect that web designers will fill-er-up with IE6 content.

  • Any browser is better than ie6 that is so outdated now its not even funny. The best IMO are Opera, Chrome, and Firefox on Windows (ie8 on win 7 is actually pretty decent as well), chrome on Ubuntu, and Safari on Macs.

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