back to article Microsoft: IE6 lives 'cause it busts Facebook

Businesses are sticking with Internet Explorer 6 to prevent employees from wasting time on Facebook. At least, that's the word from Microsoft. Microsoft Australia's chief security adviser has said that customers are holding on to the nine-year-old IE6 because it doesn't properly render Facebook and other non-work-related sites …


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  1. Johnny Canuck

    other posibility

    Maybe there are just too many windows 2000 and pirated windows xp machines out there.

  2. Dan Herd

    Step 1...

    ...offer everyone running Windows 2000 and earlier a free upgrade to XP.

    There's loads of them still out there.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      That probably wouldn't work

      I actually downgraded my XP laptop to Windows 2000, because it was slurring badly under XP and was getting worse with later service packs for reasons unknown. Under Win2K it was much more responsive, even if my service pack procedure involves slipstreaming the CD and a full hard disk wipe before install.

      Linux. I plan to put Linux on it once my Microtek scanner becomes supported.

    2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      As a user still running Win2k

      I have all the "free" upgrades to XP, Vista, and Win7 I could ask for as part of my employer's Campus Agreement with MS. But I still run Win2k because it remains the best GUI interface Microsoft ever put on their OS. XP/2k3's is too cushy and crayola-inspired, Vista/Win7's is too shitty. So I stick with Win2k and hope that someday some bright soul will build an Explorer replacement for Win7 that looks and acts exactly like Win2k. Then I'll think about upgrading.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        One must assume

        ..that it will need to come with free Bay City Rollers flexi-disks too?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Win 2K

        You can make XP/Vista/7 have the old school explorer bars that 2K has.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        May I suggest? run XP but with the Classic GUI theme? Much better OS, same old look ;-)

        I did that myself for a LONG time (I still can't stand XP's default Fisher Price GUI), until I finally got Win7 and got used to that.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's not actually that many Windows 2000 computers on the internet.

      Looking up the usage statistics suggests only ~0.5% Win2000, compared to ~7% IE6. So the overwhelming majority must be on XP computers with outdated browsers, probably corporate installations like the one I'm posting from now. Fortunately I have the choice between outdated IE and outdated Firefox, though.

  3. Greg J Preece

    The quotes, the quotes...

    "Part of my job is to get IE6 share down to zero as soon as possible,"

    Use Patch Tuesday to set every IE6 user's homepage to

  4. Daniel B.

    Some companies...

    simply block everything. Block outgoing traffic from work PCs, and problem solved!

    Sometimes they'll provide a proxy, which only allows you to surf authorized sites. All the others are banned. :(

  5. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up

    Gee that's sensible!

    Why not add a one liner to the Host file or DNS server?

  6. Muth

    Oh joy...

    Will some corporate network techs please add the following

    Facebook IP addresses to their firewall...

    If only all life's parasites were so easy to thwart...

  7. Electric Panda

    Not a solution

    If you look at the wording, it seems that Microsoft have basically, and finally, admitted that IE6 is basically a bit rubbish. My old XP box with IE6 got IE7 (and now 8) pushed out through Automatic Update ages and ages ago but these corporate types don't like that sort of thing.

    So, people are applying Microsoft patches to close security flaws yet leave the biggest one of all sitting right there for people to use every day? Is there a way that Microsoft can deny Windows Update downloads and installations for any machine on which IE6 is detected? That would speed up the process of killing it if you force people to download IE7 or 8 manually.

    However, sticking to IE6 is no solution. As others have stated, it's ridiculously easy to block access to Facebook etc. There is a very inelegant way to force HOSTS file updates across a Windows domain without using Active Directory, and there's also firewall rules. No need to spend a fortune on filtering software.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Piece of cake

    Download Firefox portable and you can render any site allowed by the firewall/proxy fascists (*). And the beauty of all this is it doesn't interfere with the corporate desktop. I post anonymously because I always do this at work irrespective of the version of IE they offer. I'm not at all interested in facebook, twiter and other stuff like this, I just want to show my sympathy towards Mozilla by boosting their stats.

    *) I use to call those guys like that because sometimes their policies are really dumb, like for instance blocking YouTube but allowing streaming from other sites or like blocking with a message mentioning something about hate speech sites.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Proxy fascists

      Ah I see, choosing how the Internet connection THEY provide for WORK purposes is used - and not abused - makes them fascists does it? Apart from the time wasting there are legal implications for companies with letting employees loose on unfettered Internet links.

      Hell I bet you hate them for making you turn up for work in order to get paid too, eh?

  9. gimbal


    "Apparently, that's simpler than buying web filtering software or developing legitimate security procedures." - yeah, for the countless lazy-arsed executives of the world. Thanks again, Microsoft!

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Microsoft released that IE6 turd into the world and now they can't flush it to make room for their newer greasier IE8 turd. Serves them right.

    By the time they release IE9 they'll have such a cluster fuck of different versions on their hands each with different fragments of their market share, they'll have no choice but to pack their browser business in altogether and admit failure.

    1. JDX Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      history lesson

      IE6 wasn't a turd when it was released something like a decade ago, if you compare it with the competitors back then.

      MS try very hard to make users update to newer versions (IE8 is pretty good to anyone who can be objective), not their fault users are too lazy or stupid.

      1. chr0m4t1c
        Thumb Down

        Oh yes it was

        It was a popular turd because IE5 and IE4 were so awful, but it was still a turd.

        The problem was that a lot of websites at the time were created so that they "required IE5 or better", even though they worked fine if you used something to fake the browser ID.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          O rly?

          Back a decade ago, where was Firefox? Not born for another two years, that's where. Back then, AJAX and 'web 2.0' were faraway dreams and Altavista/AskJeeves were the best browser. I remember using Netscape Navigator & IE6 and I don't remember Netscape being any better.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What kind of Corperate idiot thinks the stopping idiots reading facebook outweighs the disadvantage of being the target of every drive-by download in the last 10 years?

    Here, we just block it a the proxy (And you cant get to Teh Internets via any other means). Easy.

  12. adnim


    "Businesses are sticking with Internet Explorer 6 to prevent employees from wasting time on Facebook."

    It has been said already: firewall rules, host lists.

    Microsoft IE senior director IE Ryan Gavin has said that it's his job to "kill" IE 6. "Part of my job is to get IE6 share down to zero as soon as possible,"

    Instead of coding for IE6 web devs should simply detect IE version and inform the user that the website will not render correctly and that their browser is broken and obsolete and needs to be upgraded. Of course in the interests of usability a link should be provided to download Firefox.

    I have persuaded two of my clients to adopt this position. If web devs can work in unity on this, IE6 will be dead in less than a year. Perhaps charging the client extra for developing IE6 specific code will help hurry IE6's demise.

  13. N2


    I see IE 6.0 in a completely different light!

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Bless 'em...

    They probably actually believe it.

  15. Barry Tabrah

    The scourge of IE

    Inconsistent page rendering across versions makes living with IE of any version a right royal pain. I just wish people would stop developing apps that only run in IE! Particularly when they only run in a particular version of IE! If it wasn't for a company-wide need for the darned browser we'd have probably switched years ago.

    IE6 is thankfully dead and buried in our organisation but we still have IE7-only stuff strewn all over the place. IE7 is definitely going to become the new IE6, figuratively speaking.

    Grr, rant, gnash!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @PirateDave - Windows Explorer Replacement

    @PirateDave - Google for "Directory Opus" - its how windows explorer should have been done... not the monstrosity that is in W7

  17. Richard Porter


    "Instead of coding for IE6 web devs should simply detect IE version and inform the user that the website will not render correctly and that their browser is broken and obsolete and needs to be upgraded."

    I couldn't agree less. Web devs shouldn't have to code for specific browsers but should write compatible code. Not all browsers are available for all platforms so it may not be possible for users to "upgrade".

    1. adnim

      Compatible code?

      is that the kind that runs on browsers with proprietary non-standard rendering or do you mean W3C standards compliant code that will run on all standards compliant browsers?

      My point is exactly the point you raised: "Web devs shouldn't have to code for specific browsers..."

      But we do or do you not use <!--[if IE]> <!--[if !IE]> tags so that standards compliant code will render correctly? I presume you are a web dev and thus know what is being said.

      I am suggesting we don't code for different browsers, but code to W3C standards and that broken non-standards compliant browsers be ignored. However a broken page appearing in IE6 looks like sloppy coding unless the user is told why the page does not render correctly.

      ps it's adnim but you can call me what ever you like ;-)

  18. Witty username
    Thumb Up

    How about

    instead of archaic workarounds, or expensive solutions to blocking facebook et al, find the staff that are spending all day on it rather than working, then sack them.


  19. Mike Dimmick

    Corporate webapps and legacy documentation

    Corporate webapps and content management systems that were written in the early 2000s frequently declared their pages standards-compliant (!DOCTYPE). Similarly, documentation for applications was commonly supplied in HTML format. At the time the dominant browser was IE6 - over 90% share, especially within companies - and these applications were only tested with it. They couldn't be tested with any standards-compliant browsers because there weren't any - Mozilla was still stuck in development hell and Konqueror just a minority browser on Linux.

    The HTML in these pages is not going to change. Companies don't have the resources to replace their webapp if it's functionally working correctly, or the migration path could be very painful. Documentation for older products (particularly HTML Help) obviously isn't going to change for those products, and upgrading the product just to get help compatible with a new standard browser isn't going to happen.

    What these customers need is a browser that is fully, 100%, compatible with IE6 for their legacy sites AND standards-compliant going forward. MS broke compatibility with IE7 and while IE8 has and IE9 will have IE7-compatible modes, IE6 compatibility isn't available.

    The fact that the browser is a problem may also blocking upgrades to Windows Vista and Windows 7.

    A lot of web authors have to wake up and start treating the web as it is, not as they'd like it to be. The browser with the largest share is IE8 and it's the one growing fastest. Including compatibility mode in IE8's share is appropriate - it shows the installed base of IE8, and compatibility mode is only going to be recorded on sites that appear in Microsoft's list or where the user has pressed the compat button. NetMarketshare could do those sites - who are HitsLink customers after all - a favour and tell them that they have problems.

  20. Hugh Jorgen
    Black Helicopters

    If Microsoft were't to money grabing....

    er...and shat too!

    I still run Win98se on my desktop with IE6 and it's solid.

    I have an XP machine for work with IE7, it's tempramental and I can't use it for private purposes.

    I have a Vista laptop with IE8 for my home business......I can't use certain online applications on that machine because they're not supported by IE8. Oh, and Vista can suck a fart out my arse too! In so many ways I prefer Win98se because it does what I want it to do. XP and Vista second guess too much and are too controling, Vista is a total twat for sucking sooooo much resource out the laptop, it's as though I upgraded my machine for the sake of the OS and gained fuck all performance benefit.

    Computers eh? Here to make life easier or basically be electronic crystal meth, hook us up, draw us in and make us so dependent we'll pay companies and developers huge amounts for a half working pile of shit we need to patch constantly to keep it from being a total pile of shit until some PC component manufacturer wants us to have an upgrade on the kit too to keep the pile of shit running at a margionally increased speed....until the software developers suck that performance out with the next half working hog pile of shit.....rinse, repeat, bend over.

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