Microsoft announced that they will automatically update users to the latest version of IE if they have automatic updates turned on (this is a change from before where people had to explicitly accept the update instead of it happening in the background). Firefox and Chrome already do the same thing.

However, I know that one of the big reasons people have not upgraded their browsers has been policies put in place by their organizations which likely will not change.

How does this change the browsers that we should target for testing, or does it? Should we continue to test older versions until we get the latest browser market share numbers after the change goes out via Microsoft update? I am anxious to lay to rest the testing of products on older browser versions, but I don't want to jump the gun. When will we know the time is right?

3 Answers 3


IE 7 is expensive to support at my company. It is encouraging to hear that Microsoft will force automatic update users to upgrade to IE 8 or IE 9.

If you host your own product, you should be able to analyze your web server's access logs to determine the market share of each browser version. With those numbers in hand, you can evaluate tradeoffs between market share and the cost of supporting old browser versions.

  • 1
    Agreed, this is something you have to evaluate on an app-by-app basis.
    – corsiKa
    Dec 15, 2011 at 21:44
  • One site I test skews heavily towards older browsers - we don't test IE9 and do test IE6 because of what we see in the web logs. We'll be keeping an eye on these numbers, but otherwise don't see major changes coming. Dec 19, 2011 at 18:41

In his own inimitable fashion, QA Hates You posted a blog on this very topic


"Nor will it force updates on consumers who have already declined earlier offers to abandon an older IE"

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    Very true, and this is what we took special note of in the Press Release, that there are still MANY users who have opted out of the update in one way or another. Will this change things for many? Probably. Will it make an impact on the wider-user base? That remains to be seen.
    – MichaelF
    Dec 16, 2011 at 13:32

It depends on your target group and how much money you earn from them. I've worked for a client who make that much many that only browsers with a share under .5% was not supported anymore. Cause the money that he earned from that less user base was much more of the cost of supporting these old plattforms. That means we've testing for all IE versions down to 6 all FF version down to 3.0 and so on.

So there is no right or wrong. If you some million users you can calculated how much of them use IE6, and if only some of them call you support team cause they cant buy your product maybe its better to have IE6 on your test matrix. But if you have only some thousand of users, your not interested in support a browser that enlarge your user base by 50 or 100 users.

Maybe its enough to make sure the core functionality of your product works in IE6 no matter if it looks the same in chrome or firefox.

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