Time to Upgrade

After a brief email exchange with Mr. IE6 earlier this morning, I decided to cruise through the server logs here, here and here to see what browsers all y’all have been using to access everything. And, if I’m honest, I was shocked.

There are still more of you that are using out of date browsers than not. And, not just IE. Over at WRR, the bulk of IE users (20% of the 37.8%) are still using IE6. 3.5% of IE users are still using something older than that, but I have a feeling those might be bots that haven’t updated their user-agent string.

For Firefox, it’s 9.1% of the 11.8% that are using version 3 or better. That’s a little bit better. Opera (less than 1%) does not report it’s version, neither does Safari (5.8%), but Netscape (less than 1%) does. Honestly, Netscape 5?

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, but there is a reason internet browsers get upgraded, and there is a reason why **you** should take the few minutes to upgrade yours. There are patches that keep bad guys off of your system. There are stability improvements. Rendering improvements. UI improvements. All of these things are done to make your internet experience better and safer.

If you are stuck in an office with Internet Explorer v6 or older, you are stuck. You can ask your admins for Firefox since an IE upgrade will probably break an application used by your company. If you are a home user running Windows that is not XP or Vista, then you are also stuck with IE6.

Follow the jump for some suggestions.

Windows Users

Check your browser version. Click Help –> About. If you are using Internet Explorer you want the version number to start with a 7. If you are using Firefox, you want the version number to start with a 3. You Opera users want to look for an 8 or 9. If you are using Safari or Chrome, this does not apply since those versions auto-update.

If you don’t have the version numbers specified above, what version of Windows are you running? If you aren’t sure, right click the My Computer icon on your desktop (or go into Settings –> Control Panel –>System) and choose properties. If the version of Windows starts with the number 4, then you are running Windows 2000/98/ME. Otherwise it will say Vista or XP. If it says Vista, you are good to go and don’t need to read any further (unless you are running Firefox).

For you Windows 2000/ME/98 users out there, you are stuck with Internet Explorer v6 and are unable to upgrade to v7. There are other options.

You can download Firefox or Opera. When you get to either of those pages you will be shown the correct version to download for your version of Windows. Both are a free download. Download and install the browser and start it. Be sure to check the box asking it to be the default. You really don’t want to use IE6 anymore.

If you are running Windows XP, then it’s time to run Windows update. Or click that yellow icon next to the clock that says Updates are ready when you point at it. It’s OK to update Windows. Microsoft isn’t stealing your data or spying on you. Really. Run the update.

If you are running Windows Vista, you are good to go. You aren’t able to run IE6 on that system. However, if you are running Firefox and your version is 2 or lower, then follow the Firefox link above to get the latest version (v3 as of this writing). Once installed, it will automatically update for you as well.

Finally, if you are still running Windows 2000/98/ME, make this the year you upgrade. Those operating systems are no longer supported by anyone. You can get a great computer now for less than $600 (sometimes including a fancy LCD screen too). You could also consider switching to a Mac if your budget allows.

And, whatever you do, please stop using Netscape.

Mac Users

Running Firefox version 2 or lower? How can you stand it? Follow the link above to download the latest version. If you are using Safari, you should be on version 3. If not, time to run system update. You might also consider trying Camino which is a pretty good choice in my opinion.

To find the version of the Mac OS you are running, click the Apple in the top left corner of your screen and choose About This Mac. Leopard is currently at version 10.5.6. As long as you have a 10 there, you are in pretty good shape.

If you are still on System 9 or something that’s even older, then you too should seriously consider budgeting an upgrade to a newer Mac. You G4 users might want to start thinking about that as well.

And, whatever you do, please stop using Internet Explorer and Netscape.


It is up to you to keep your computer up-to-date. It really isn’t that difficult to do, especially with modern software updating automatically. If your computer is up-to-date, then check with your friends and family to make sure their machines are as well.

By Don

Lead bottle washer at donburnside.com, host at whiteroofradio.com and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.


  1. You know, you act like I have ie6 on everything that I use.

    The fact is Firefox is my primary browser on Mac & PC except at the office where I don’t have a choice.

    Typically I only use ie7 or Safari when I’m using Flickr. It’s easier to just launch a different browser when I need to change accounts than to completely sign out of Flickr and Yahoo and then sign back in…

  2. You don’t have IE6 on everything? hehe.

    I know you don’t. And this wasn’t IE Bashing (I don’t think). Just trying to provide a service/reminder to those among us (and it is quite a few) that it is beyond time to upgrade.

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