back to article DoH tells NHS to dump IE6

The Department of Health has told trusts using Windows 2000 or XP to move to version 7 of Microsoft's browser. In a technology bulletin published by the department's informatics directorate on 29 January 2010, it advised NHS trusts using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on either Windows 2000 or Windows XP to move to version 7 of …


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  1. borat

    IE7 on 2000?

    I think users running windows 2000 may have a slight difficulty installing IE7, as it requires XP!

    The sooner Mozilla make an MSI for firefox (and support for ADM files/registry entries), the faster we can get rid of IE altogether in these corporate environments.

    1. Russell Howe

      Firefox MSI/ADM

      I totally agree that Mozilla need to package their crap up in MSI files if they're targetting Windows and the ability to configure it via Group Policy is also something sorely lacking.

      I take it you've heard of Frontmotion Firefox? It does both, but I'd still rather have it from Mozilla direct.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's the problem

        Frontmotion's MSI works great and works well with group policies as far as I can tell. But It is a 3rd party product, not direct from Mozilla, so the PHB's don't want to know about it.

  2. Joel Stobart

    Why do they suggeest "upgrading" to ie7

    Firefox, Opera or Chrome, are safer and better. Even ie8 is out...


    1. Atli
      Gates Horns


      Because they use some circa 1990's, ActiveX based software that they are to cheap to upgrade from or replace.

      It's the death-grip Microsoft has on the Internet; the reason why the technological progress of the internet has stalled. Web developers can't ignore IE6 (because so many companies still use IE6-only software), so they must not use any of the cool new technologies developed since ~3-5 years before IE6 was released, in 2001. So, basically, we are stuck with HTML4.0, CSS1 and basic JavaScript. - Not even AJAX works properly in IE6. It requires a ActiveX plugin.

      And note that all of those, excluding -maybe- basic HTML, is extremely "quirky". You usually have to employ a couple of IE bug-fixes to get a page working properly.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Another decade and they may move to i.e. 8

    Then again, our place ain't much better...

  4. Dave K


    Whilst generally sound advice, they might want to check up on IE7's requirements first. Or to put it another way, IE7 requires XP or later and IE6 is the latest IE version which works on Windows 2000. Whether you consider this as a good reason not to use Windows 2000 or IE in general is up to you...

  5. Richard 95

    IE7 not avalable for Win2K

    MS doesn't support IE7 on Win2K - only XP and above. Jeez, do your homework guys...

  6. Chris Thomas Alpha

    IE7?????? Why?

    This is absolutely retarded, they have to do an upgrade test, validate everything against the new browser, spend probably millions doing that and then at the end, use an outdated browser with crap standard support and bugs galore.

    for the same money, they could just upgrade to 8, which has better standards support and probably a far better browser, pushing more out of date, useless software to the bin.

    why spend the money and STILL be outdated???? I know IE8 isnt the god given browser to solve world peace and I know that Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari are all ahead in terms of standards and speed, but it's still better than IE7!!

  7. CKOne

    Win 2k users can't

    According to this page

  8. James 12


    So the NHS is finally moving to IE7, when its already outdated and IE8 has been out for ages..

    What's wrong with these people. why not just test IE8 and catch up to almost the current times..

    Not to mention why IE anyway? surely the Intranet pages are not done in activeX?

  9. NB
    Gates Horns

    may I

    be the first to say "LOL".

    IE7? Seriously? They really ought to be dumping IE altogether and using a browser that isn't shit. It's not like there isn't plenty of choice out there.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will say it again.....

    the tools he speaks of that actively monitor the network for malicious s/w are manned by people who half the time are not even awake - let alone trained to do the job.

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    IE7 on Win2k

    I might be wrong on this as its been a while since i used a Windows 2000 box but i thought IE6 was the last version of IE that you could install on Windows 2000 so they couldn't be upgraded to IE7 as you needed XP or newer OS for IE7

  12. Anonymous Coward

    The DOH informatics directorate is a ****ing waste of time


    They are the department that tested their latest and greatest flu line database (1 of 4 failed attempts) against the popular brownser Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 (but not 3.x), the same database that the people who designed and built it when show casing it said. "We don't think this version will do what you want, so we are looking at version 2 for that"

    They are the same people that don't understand replication or live updates in SQL, so every day at 2pm one DB had to shut down to update another. Meaning every day, the entire flu pandemic response from the NHS had to have updated it's records by 2pm.

    They are the same people that mean we have to run legacy systems, that require IE6 because the antiquated bag of rubbish they bought at vast expense ten years ago hasn't been replaced and we are forced to use. Yet we have to pay vast support and upgrade costs to keep it. It's not the spine thats the problem, its the contracts GP's that we now fund at great expense, their systems are whatever they want, because we have no say, yet we are meant to link up and support them.

    They are the same people that think locking a spreadsheet but manually drawing 65000 lines on it is the norm', so when printed you get 318 pages of black lines. After complaining they shortened it to 10000 lines and onlu 88 pages or printing.

    These are the same people that send out documentation in 2007 formats, but no-one uses 2007 because it conflicts with legacy systems.

    These are the people that designed a phone line for information about the flu, 3 minutes and 50 seconds in, before you get the option of a none english speaking version. Which conflicts with their own guidelines and reaching out to the public, only to then ram down our throats that we should be doing it.

    These are the same people that gave us a database for recording stock of tamiflu, that requires the internet and when we told them, that our volunteer chemists don't have internet, the DOH told us that they were therfore not allowed to volunteer. Requiring us to waste £50000 of NHS's taxpayers money to provide a service, Tesco and ASDA were doing for free.

    These are the same IT people that gave me 41 minutes to train 44 staff in the use of a database before it went live, recording and checking the issuance of what is a life threatening drug with face to face interaction with the public.

    They can shove their 'views' where it stings.


    Guess where I work and what department I am in.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    WTF? IE7 is stil non-standards complaint SHITE! It's still out of date. It's still riddles with holes. It's still not a browser any professional organisation should be using!

    IE8 is *THE ONLY* choice.

    It would be nice if they could use FF (or Opera, or...) but as I understand it (primarily due to the lack of any real central software management in Windows) it is incredibly difficult to centrally manage these, push updates, block extensions etc.

    The other reason the NHS is stuck with IE is because all the other browser are standards compliant and won't work with the proprietary bull-crap that is infesting the NHS.

    So if (for example) Mozilla ever get their act together and provide some way to centrally manage their software, and NHS IT managers get a clue about IT and insist of standard-only web systems; then the NHS can begin to free itself from the burden of IE.

    The NHS could, of course, save millions by just ditching MS where possible and moving to more open platforms. Yes there will be training costs, but I think the massive savings in licensing costs, more up time, less demand for new hardware and greater efficiency would more than cover those costs.

    The NHS could also move away from large, monolithic contracts (where appropriate) that are surely doomed to fail and go for small, light and more practical solutions. I would put "OpenMolar" forward as a small example of what can be done within the NHS with nothing more than a bit of thought. No need to pay Crap Co. millions.

    Of course, this would stop the bung and junket gravy train for senior manager, civil servants and MPs; so it probably will never happen. Instead they will just keep spunky more and more of our tax money at (non-medical) consultants wil the nation gets sicker and sicker.

  14. Colin Critch

    What about protected mode?

    I hate IE as much as the other guy, but IE8 ( on Vista and 7) does have protected mode ( you know and integrity levels ) also integrates with AD GPO. Let's hope the other browsers can implement these and then there will be no excuse for any organisation using IE of any version.

  15. Dave Bell

    The Dead Hand of IT Out-sourcing

    It isn't just the NHS that is locked into obsoletesoftware by past descisions.

    These large organisations have the clout to require the support and changes that ensures software runs with the current version of IE--can you even get a legal copy of IE6 for a new computer--but they clearly can't find people who combine field-specific knowledge to manage IT with the status to make these decisions.

    But I bet they all have MBAs and say it pays better to out-source.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    An msi from Mozilla

    would be good in the meantime you can use this.

  17. fireman sam

    IE and NHS

    At a guess, I'd say their Spine app and who knows what other internal apps require ActiveX in the browser or are written in such a way so as to only work with IE. Upgrading to anything else would require a re-write or at least a lot or work to coax all the application back into working.

    That's a hard sell for an IT manager.

  18. adam payne


    The trouble with NHS and other government projects is by the time they've talked about it, put it on hold a few times, talked about it some more the whole project is out of date but they still go ahead with it anyway.

    We should all demand a tax rebate based on the percentage of NHS PCs using IE6.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately IE8 is not an option here

    From my limited experience, far to many DoH and NHS websites have been designed with IE5 in mind, work on IE6, usually work on IE7 (but not consistently) and refuse to work on IE8 even in compatibility mode. Don't even try using Firefox or other browsers.

  20. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Should I just say


  21. Jemma


    ... These are the people who cant even manage to understand how *they* locked down their own AntiVirus on A & E machines - which meant 4 people at £100 a day doing abolutely nothing for a full 5 weeks...

    ... And the people who set up a Patient Taxi account with their bank - with a direct debit into it - then forgot about it until an audit 5 years later found £1 million missing - guess where it was. Shame the guy who set it all up had died of a heart attack and no one else had the account details wasnt it?....

    ... Not to mention the people who spent billions speccing and consulting on a new system - ignoring the fact that - guess what - Windows NT4 SP1 and Active Directory are about as likely to share the same bed as Julian Clary and Anne Widdecombe... oh yeah, and the Antivirus they wanted to use wouldnt work properly on either (anyone else see a pattern?)

    ... Last but not least - these are the people who the minute they hit management are out of the door at 3pm without fail - whatever their contract might say. If you can find a clinic manager within 10 miles of their clinic after 2pm on a friday I will eat my hat.

    I have worked in the NHS at places where they were still using BBC 'B' computers, IE 4 and Windows for Workgroups! They'll not take a blind bit of notice what the government says now, they never have before.

    The easiest way to have a sane and sensible national health system is vapourise the lot and start again properly.

  22. Mattyod

    Ignoring the stupidity of recommending IE7

    The DoH themselves still use IE6.

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