Internet Explorer and the latest wave update of Office 365

You are here:
< Back

Office 365 and Internet Explorer 8 compatibility

I have run into some issues with the latest upgrade wave of Office 365 and my clients using I.E. 8.  They are experiencing slow response times, lag, freezing, etc.  I opened a Microsoft support case and when I was finally able to get support, they offered the following:

  • Internet Explorer is not supported with the latest version of Office 365 (see statement released by Microsoft on this topic below claiming support until this time next year)
  • Upgrade to I.E. 9 or 10, this is not possible for most of my clients due to compatibility and support issues with current business critical applications.)
  • Use Firefox or Google Chrome (my favorite)
  • use the light version of OWA (still haven’t figured out how to do that.  The latest version doesn’t give that option before logon.)
  • One support professional even offered to re-write the business critical software to be compatible with I.E. 9 and 10.

The fact is, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 is not compatible with the latest version of Office 365.  This is a really bad move for Microsoft and will prevent clients from using Office 365 and may even cause some clients to move off Office 365.  The section below is a statement released by Microsoft based on the tremendous negative response to the incompatibility.

Office 365 and Internet Explorer 8

Why is Office 365 ending support for Internet Explorer 8?
Microsoft is making major investments in the Office 365 user experience in the browser, and these improvements require the functionality delivered by a more modern browser such as Internet Explorer 10.

Cloud technologies evolve rapidly, and web browsers must change quickly to keep pace. As a cloud customer, you should always be running a modern browser, both for the ever improving safety and security of modern browsers, as well as to have the richer, more capable web experiences you and your users expect. Our system requirements policy states that Office 365 will support the current and immediately previous version of Internet Explorer, specifically Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 9.

How can I tell what version of Internet Explorer I’m using?
Choose the “About Internet Explorer” option in the Internet Explorer menus. This appears in an options and settings menu which, depending on the version you are using, may be a gear icon or appear under “Help” or “Options.”

Why is support for Internet Explorer 8 ending on 8 April 2014?
Microsoft provides customers 12 months’ notice of disruptive change under our Online Services Support Lifecycle. We announced Office 365 is ending support for Internet Explorer 8 on the System Requirements Wiki on 8 April 2013.

Also, Office 365 users with computers running Windows XP need a supported browser to connect to the service. Internet Explorer 8 is the highest supported version of Internet Explorer that runs on Windows XP, so we will continue to support Internet Explorer 8 until all support for Windows XP ends on 8 April 2014.

Will Internet Explorer 8 function as usual until 8 April 2014?
Users connecting to Office 365 with Internet Explorer 8 may experience slower performance before 8 April 2014 while using Outlook Web App or other Office Web Apps. If this happens while using the Outlook Web App, you may want to use Outlook Web App Light. If you experience this with other Office Web Apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and/or OneNote Web Apps, we recommend you use the desktop version of Office instead.

What does “end of support” mean?
If you have a technical problem with Office365 while using Internet Explorer 8 and would like to open a ticket with Microsoft support, you will need to reproduce the issue with a supported browser.

Will Internet Explorer 8 users be blocked from connecting to Office 365 after 8 April 2014?
No, Office 365 will not deliberately block Internet Explorer 8 users from accessing the service after 8 April 2014. But after that date, users connecting to Outlook Web App will only be able to use Outlook Web App Light.

My organization doesn’t have any users on Internet Explorer 8, so why did I receive this email?
With Office 365, your users can check their email from any computer in the world: if you are confident your organization is using Internet Explorer 10 or Internet Explorer 9, you may have had users checking email from a home computer, or at an Internet Café while on vacation.

I need help upgrading my organization’s users from Internet Explorer 8. Where should I go? 
You can find a partner on the Office 365 Marketplace: just look under the Desktop competency.

My organization has web applications developed specifically for Internet Explorer 8. What can do we need to do to upgrade browsers?
Internet Explorer includes an application property that developers can use to tell Internet Explorer for what version of the browser the application was developed. Internet Explorer will use this property to render the application as expected.

If you purchased the web application in question, please contact the vendor from whom you purchased it. If you have a custom-built application, you can find a partner to help you on the Office 365 Marketplace. Just select Companies, and under Competency, select Software Development.

I just need a couple more months before upgrading from Internet Explorer 8. Is there a way to keep using Internet Explorer 8 for a little bit longer?
Office 365 will not support Internet Explorer 8 after 8 April 2014, and there is no way for us to extend the date for individual customers.

The statement above can also be found at the following link:

After a week of disagreement with Microsoft support, the following are the options that we determined to be the most viable options, even though none of them are really solutions.

  • Continue to limp along with I.E. 8, installing a 3rd party add-on for spelling and determine what is causing the printing issues
  • Use a 3rd party browser for Office 365 (much better support than previous versions of Exchange)
  • Upgrade to I.E. 10 and find workarounds for the sites / business critical applications that may be incompatible.
  • Publish I.E. 10 to be used for Office 365 and continue to use I.E. 8 for business critical applications and websites that may be incompatible.  Shortcuts and other “helpers” can be deployed to help users understand / use the right version when needed.  For example, a shortcut named “Outlook” or “Office 365” or “Email and Calendar” can be placed on the desktop and end-users informed that they must use that shortcut to access Office 365 to prevent issues.  Then all other applications / websites would use the standard I.E. 8.

The frustration for me comes where Microsoft clear states I.E. 8 will be supported until next year at this time, at which point the end-user experience will be similar to what is currently being experienced.  With a lack of native spell check (3rd party plug-ins are available), spell check is non existent for Office 365 on I.E. 8.  Printing is another big issue.  So for email, there is no spell check and you can’t print.  I can do these things native with my phone!  Aside from these discovered issues, the lag / freezing, just slow responsiveness of OWA with I.E. 8 is also frustrating.  Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Microsoft is going to provide any additional support for this issue or attempt to resolve any of the compatibility issues with I.E. 8.  In the defense of Microsoft, they do require that you agree to a ULA when signing up for Office 365 service that states you will make every effort to maintain the latest versions of software.  This doesn’t make the situation any better, but the requirements for using Office 365 is to maintain your end-user software so it is up to date, then my client has not met the requirements.

Last Updated On October 24, 2017