Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

Summary: Why does the platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 refuse to install on Windows Vista? Maybe it's because Vista's short, unhappy life will end in less than one year. I help decode the cryptic support lifecycle.


It might seem impossible to believe, but Windows Vista is drawing to the end of its short, unhappy life. Under Microsoft's official product lifecycle, the mainstream support phase for Windows Vista will end in less than one year, on April 10, 2012—five years, two months, and 16 days after it became generally available on January 25, 2007. (For business editions, there's an extended support period that lasts another five years, guaranteeing security updates until 2017.)

I don't expect there to be any great outcry when Vista fades away. But knowing that end-of-life date helps answer one mystery that puzzled some Microsoft watchers this week. Why does the platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 throw up an error message if you try to run it on Windows Vista? Maybe it's because, if the newly announced browser follows the same development schedule as IE9, its scheduled ship date will be a year from now—after Windows Vista is retired.

Decoding Microsoft's cryptic product support lifecycle isn't easy. Even experienced Microsoft watchers sometimes get tripped up by the many conditions that apply. Service packs and browsers complicate the issue even more. Shortly after Windows 7 shipped, I wrote How long will Microsoft support XP, Vista, and Windows 7? and assembled those dates into a table, which is still accurate.

Will the release of a new version of Internet Explorer change those plans? Nope. Here's why.

As the Microsoft Support Lifecycle blog helpfully explained in a 2009 post, Internet Explorer is a “component.” That distinction is important in terms of support dates:

Under the Support Lifecycle policy, we support components with the product or service pack that it shipped for. … Internet Explorer is considered as a component of the operating system (OS) for which it was released. The support timelines for IE are inherited from the OS and its associated service packs. Basically, this means that the versions of Internet Explorer that shipped for a specific OS or service pack will be supported with the support lifecycle of the OS or service pack.


As per the policy, we will not end support [for] previous versions of Internet Explorer on supported operating system versions.

When Windows Vista shifts into its extended support phase next year, that also means the end of the line for any version of Internet Explorer that was released for it. Because the extended support phase lasts another five years, you don't have to worry about security updates for Windows Vista and its supported browsers—even Internet Explorer 7. But you won't get anything new.

It's possible, of course, that Microsoft will allow the final version of IE 10 to install on Windows Vista. But it's also reasonable for them to push web developers to test its platform previews on the latest and greatest Windows, which will be around until January, 2015.

I'm assuming (reasonably, I think) that Windows 8 will still be several months away from its official release when April 2012 rolls around, If that's true, it means that Microsoft will, at least briefly, have only one version of Windows that it's actively supporting.

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Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • Vista's garbage, anyway

    So I don't blame them from running away from it. Probably the 'smartest' thing they'll do all year.

    • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

      @ScorpioBlue Copy meet Paste.
      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

        Want me to teach you how to do it? ;)

      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

        @ScorpioBlue & statuskwo5
        Some of us were smart enough to wait for after SP1 before even attempting to use Vista. Especially with mission critical machines at the work place. The same is true with Windows 7.

        Even better we know how to make Vista run pretty lean, mean and pretty much trouble free. It helps NOT using Microsoft for anything but the OS. I haven't used Internet Exploder in so long I forgot what it looks like. Only a very few annoying programs force Exploder to open. My policy is no bloatware. I am forced to use Windows at work because the Engineering software I use. Else I would use Linux a long time ago. I have a friend of a friend who works at M$ so I got 2 free Win 7 disks. One is working good on my HTPC at home. Netflix, Rfactor and Media center are it's only tasks. And the other Win 7 disk sits in my office desk until SP1 is out and works well for all you beta testers before I'll even attempt to put it on my work machine. less headaches that way. Vista always worked great for me because I didn't adopt it early on. Win 7/8 will work well for me for that same reasons. ;)
    • That's one opinion anyway...


      I see that Microsoft continues to be short sighted as usual. and is missing the boat here.

      With XP still having almost 60% of the windows desktop, Microsoft should be supporting both XP and Vista with the new versions of IE. These XP boxes are not going to be leaving soon, as most of these boxes are in corporate hands, and with all the customized applications, costs of new hardware, costs of installations of both hardware and software, and the labor involved to do the upgrades, there is no compelling reason for corporate offices to make the switch.

      If Microsoft is so keen on the new browser, Microsoft should make the IE browser platform independent. Make it run on Apple and Linux. Instead of using IE as hammer to beat it's own users to upgrade, make IE available to everyone. Microsoft may be surprised at the results and get some of the browser share back it continues to lose to Firefox and Chrome.
      linux for me
      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

        @linux for me Cross platform for IE would be interesting, but I suspect nearly impossible, since 80+% of it is in the kernel (now).
      • Yeah nice concern troll

        @linux for me As if you cared about what's good for MSFT.
      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

        @linux for me <br><br><b>Where do I begin??</b><br><br>First of all, as an Ubuntu user, <i>I like your handle!!!</i><br><br>Second, WRT to the costs of replacing existing corporate owned boxes with existing applications; you are indeed correct. <br><br>(sarcasm)<br><b>But, it is not in Microsoft's interest</b> to allow such long term use of their intellectual property. If M$ could get their way, you would be paying monthly <b>rental fees</b> for their software. After all, Micro$oft is committed to increasing the revenue streams of itself and its <b>software and hardware</b> partners. Think of the (hardware and software) vendors who would be forced to lower their profit expectations because the <b>forced upgrade cycle</b> that M$ defines with a new O/S becomes longer. They are barely surviving on a 3 year cycle, can you imagine the pains they would endure if hardware and software could last 5 to 7 years before needing to be replaced. <br>(/sarcasm)<br><br>Thirdly, make IE run on Apple and Linux??? <br><br>(sarcasm)<br>Lucifer would be running a snow plow outside his home before <b>that ever happened</b>. What unsuspecting, and intelligent Apple or Linux user would <b>ever allow their computer to be infected with <i>Internet Exploder</i></b>.<br>(/sarcasm)
      • Web Developers


        The answer is that web developers and coders would be served by having a copy of IE available for their coding platform of choice. A disproportionately high number of Mac users use their machines for web and graphic design, while Linux users, in many cases, write back end code for databases and such. While I agree that it will be a chilly day in hell before IE is the primary browser of any quantifiable number of Mac or Linux users (though the "big blue 'e'" may provide comfort for some new users of each platform), I'd wager that a well coded, self contained, cross-platform flavor of IE wouldn't yield a negative reaction for Microsoft...of course the loyalists for virtually all three platforms would tell me that 'well coded', 'self contained' and 'cross platform' are all essentially the antithesis of IE, so whatevs.

      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

        @linux for me

        You neglect what the biggest portion of those XP machines are: corporate desktops, many of which are still locked on IE6 due to legacy apps. Going forward, this will make up a larger and larger portion of the XP base as consumers make new PC purchases and retire their XP systems. This makes the effort of back porting the required Win7 features used by IE9 a losing proposition with diminishing returns. The XP base in growing proportion couldn't upgrade if the option were there. They are more likely to look at the latest browser generation as the company finally moves beyond XP. I know one large bank with over a million seats worldwide that is testing Win7 right now. Whether they're planning on including a newer browser than the stock IE8 hasn't been said and is hard to predict as such institutions are supremely conservative in their software upgrades. It holds back progress, as with the IE6 situation but that is not their concern.

        If you were working for Mozilla, how concerned would you be about compatibility with ten year old distros? Consider what the latest kernal revision was at the time XP launched. No matter how much patching was done, would test your brand new application against it or would you draw the line at something a bit more recent?

        As for Vista, it's footprint is small and diminishing. As any adequate Vista machine can run Win7 just fine, there would more reward for Microsoft in offering discounted upgrades to Vista users to move to Win7. Move the portion of the base that can forward rather than backporting to it

        As for cross platform support, this goes against the philosophy of looking at the browser and its infrastructure as a vital OS component. On that basis, porting to other OSes is minding other people's business. It wastes your time and annoys the recipient. Apple has Safari. They and third partybrowser makers have it covered while MS tends its own house.
      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?


        A fool by any other name....You can continue to worship Microsoft, I rather be more practical since I support all windows systems in additional to linux and Unix. You can continue to live in your own dream world.
        linux for me
      • I will say this...

        I was never an ABMer until Vista came along. It changed my whole perspective about Micro$oft 180 degrees.
      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

        @linux for me
        Microsoft tried going cross-platform with IE during the early days of Mac OS X. However, it failed pretty bad and was later disconnected.
      • Do you know what a kernel is?

        @ dabble53

        If you know what a kernel is, I don't believe you would have made the claim that there is any IE code is in the Windows kernel. IE is a set of user-mode libraries and a user-mode executable. None of the IE modules are kernel-mode modules (.sys files), which means the percentage of IE code in the Windows kernel is precisely zero.

        A lot of the IE libraries are used by other user-mode Windows components (e.g. the Windows help system) to render HTML, which is why IE is actually part of Windows and can't be fully removed from the OS (the executable can be removed, but that doesn't remove IE). That, however, has nothing to do with the kernel. IE is no more part of the Windows kernel than bash is part of the Linux kernel.
      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?


        When I read comments like yours, I actually wonder if Microsoft was ever supposed to be allowed to release another OS after Windows XP? I've been an XP Pro user since 6 months after it released, and haven't found any need to "update" ever since. eventually I'll move to Win7 but as others have already pointed out, what's the rush.

        I'm fine with a whole new PC OS every 5-8 years for my home and business use. Any shorter than that, and I'm out.

        it's funny that Mac users are allowed, well expected, to bow at the feet of Steve Jobs every time they release OS(x+1), yet Windows users are generally left to be reliant on something from 2001 and a new "official" browser every year. I welcome a balance.
    • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

      @ScorpioBlue If MSucks had any integrity at all, they would offer a free upgrade to Win 7 to all Vista victims.
      • Victims?

        Vista was a good OS after SP1.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

      @ScorpioBlue Vista wasn't garbage, but a lot of the drivers definitely were. I have had 5 systems running Vista 24/7 since it was released with zero problems. The problems came from people using equipment with old drivers. I build my own systems and use only hardware from the approved hardware list MS publishes. The only time my systems reboot are when Windows update reboots them.
      That said... I think not supporting Vista with IE10 is a good move. I really want to see Microsoft start cutting support for legacy crap so they can move toward a Windows replacement that is smaller, more secure, and self-repairing.
      • RE: Why won't Internet Explorer 10 run on Windows Vista?

        @BillDem - Way too late in the game to change my mind.

        Some just struggled with it in frustration. You can see evidence of this in any tech forum.

        Me? I either switched to Linux or downgraded to XP. Saved myself a lot of problems. Life's too short to be struggling with Redmond junkware.
    • linux

      no. if you want to see garbage, look at linux. they hide most of their installed programs by default, making it difficult for someone to even run a program.
      beau parisi