My current workplace uses IE8 and FF11, both which prompt 'outdated browser' warnings all throughout the internet.

I asked my colleague who has been here for 20 years about it, and his suggestion was that there are internal webapps that would need to be tested if upgrading, and being a large organisation that would be hugely cumbersome task.

Ok, so fair point, the old browsers need to stay. But why not install new browsers along side them?

My colleague didn't have an answer for this either.

As I understand this is common amongst a lot of large organisations, what else is there preventing new browsers being installed?

  • 7
    The business reason is your question backwards: why should we risk installing new software? Will it run on every computer, including the older ones on every office, including the ones running outdated and unsupported OS versions? May 20, 2015 at 1:48
  • @PauloScardine Browsers are the one thing that should be kept updated and are supported on all major OS even XP. Apps are moving to the web, outdated browsers will have trouble running new modern web apps. Web apps range from social media (any company that wants to promote it's products) to financial institutions to project management etc.
    – Jack
    May 20, 2015 at 2:09
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    I know, I agree but I don't care. You are barking to the wrong tree, go make your case to your CTO. :-) May 20, 2015 at 2:17
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    @Jack - there is an upper limit to the IE version supported on various Windows machines - specifically, XP will only run IE8 and Vista will only run IE9. Not sure what the relevant OS limits for FF version are, though.
    – HorusKol
    May 20, 2015 at 3:34
  • If the CTO has this sort of thing going on - you need a new one :-) More than likely, join a company without a backward-thinking mentality.
    – James
    May 20, 2015 at 13:40

3 Answers 3


Short answer: Cost in time and money to build and retest a standard operating environment does not generally make it viable.

Many updated browsers require up to date hardware and operating systems. This is a massive cost in many organisations, who spend considerable time and cost building their standard operating environment (SOE). Depending on the duration of hardware leases, this is done every few years, when they evaluate what existing systems they have for their internal processes and what is the minimal risk to business continuity. "Cutting edge" = risk. The impact on production systems unexpectedly failing due to an upgrade can cause huge financial and perception repercussions.

A number of years ago I was working in a large financial institution when they were doing a roll out of a new SOE. I was involved in the testing of a number of legacy systems with the new environment and their sociability with existing and new systems. This whole process took several months. As you correctly state, many internal systems run on browsers. Unless there is a business need to upgrade these systems, it will not happen.

So sure, it would be great if organisations could simply upgrade their hardware, software and browsers to the latest version(s), but due to the large cost and risk, it normally doesn't happen unless absolutely necessary.

  • To add to that---the secondary question why not install new browsers along side them? -- Short answer: Cost in time and money to support the new browsers, especially when employees will try to use them with the legacy systems and just think everything is broken.
    – bdimag
    May 20, 2015 at 21:50
  • @bdimag There is also the issue of sociability on the SOE platform. What else could it break? This is why SOE environments are normally locked down so that "normal" users can't install anything that could potentially compromise the "tested" environment.
    – Jane S
    May 20, 2015 at 21:53

I've heard of a company requiring users to stay on a certain browser (IE8, for example) because the company purchased some software that was written to work in that browser, and the company hasn't updated the software to a newer version that supports newer browsers.

  • 1
    That company will be in a pickle when Microsoft announces End of Life Support for the underlying operating system :) May 20, 2015 at 15:04
  • Yes they will. I've seen it happen.
    – coder1
    May 20, 2015 at 18:39

Most likely they did not update their operating systems either and if they didn't and you still insist on new browsers being installed, it's not going to work. New browsers implicitly require updated operating systems. I don't see how new browsers can coexist with existing browsers if they depend on different versions of the operating system.

Don't suggest anything unless you have a plan to make it happen. And you'll look a lot better to your management if you have a plan that works.

  • 3
    I'm assuming you didn't mean it that way, but this reads more like an attack on the OP than an answer. You bring up the operating system link but aside from being incorrect it's also not very relevant: the OP could just as easily have asked about an outdated OS instead. The OP asked an honest question that I assume many non-technical people have wondered about.
    – Lilienthal
    May 20, 2015 at 13:22
  • @Lillienthal I have twelve years of experience as a systems engineer, so I am definitely interested in your statement that I am incorrect in bringing up the system link - Tell me more. I am not attacking the OP, although I can see that a couple of users have already interpreted that way. I am not giving the OP any advice that I wouldn't follow for myself. And as one who has operated in a management function, I have run into my share of subordinates, colleagues and management who have thrown ideas at me without ever wondering whether they were doable. May 20, 2015 at 13:37
  • Both Firefox and Chrome still support XP SP3 as of today. I assume you're referring to Windows and as per HorusKol's comment on the question you're correct in that you can't install the latest IE on XP. That said, any company running XP or Vista should consider an outdated browser as the least of their problems. As for the downvotes, I assume they're because of statements like "Do you?" and "Tell me more" which I can't help but read as sarcasm.
    – Lilienthal
    May 20, 2015 at 17:46

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