Microsoft Confirms IE9 Won't Come to XP

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:01 PM
When we previewed Internet Explorer's new rendering engine this week we noted that the same features that made IE9's hardware-acceleration possible probably aren't compatible with Windows XP. Microsoft initially dodged giving a straight answer to the question of XP support but has since admitted that the new browser won't be XP-compatible when it launches.

This has created a small tempest of protest from those users still using XP, but this is less of an arbitrary decision than some appear to think. It's literally impossible to port Windows Vista/Win 7-style hardware acceleration backwards into XP. Microsoft would have to either develop a workaround from scratch or create a CPU-driven "software mode." Using such a mode could easily max out a CPU and negatively impact system speed and battery life.


So, yeah, that's what we call an improvement, particularly when compared against IE8.

We also don't think much of the argument that Microsoft is abandoning XP lovers. IE8 is much more secure than IE6 by any comparison and while XP is still humming along on an awful lot of netbooks, consistent sales data has shown that netbooks are almost always secondary systems, not primary ones. XP and IE8 are fine for a netbook, especially since it could be 6-12 months before we even see IE9 ship. After nearly 10 years it's time to let XP totter off and die with dignity.
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la_guy_10 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:38 PM

I agree XP as good as it was in it's hay day is very long in the tooth, and with sales of Win 7 so robust I can understand this decision. I read where mainstream support ended last year for XP. My question is how secure will IE9 be. Again I am running Chrome and it's great so IE has to really show me something for me to make the switch back. http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-gb&C2=1173

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la_guy_10 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 5:41 PM

If someone could  assist me with how to post a link. Thanks again

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JHuang replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 7:09 PM

I don't think you can from news reply but you can try the html way

Testing :P

TESTING

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Inspector replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 7:11 PM

ok that doesn't work :P lol

Im not sure but i guess you can only post links in the forums with the button to hyperlink :)

Also WTF... i can't log off my facebook account... im on my inspector account and it posted with my FB account. (i tried it to see what htat link was xD)

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la_guy_10 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 8:59 PM

Hummm thanks anyways JHuang and Inspector

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 10:37 PM

>> It's literally impossible to port Windows Vista/Win 7-style hardware acceleration backwards into XP.

I hate to be contrary so often, but I must point out that it's actually only "impossible" (and definitely not literally) because Microsoft tied DirectX10 to Vista and later (D2D rides on top of it). The DX10 API could be made available for XP, but MS artificially restricted it to post-XP OS's in order to get upgrade sales.

It was purely a business decision, not technical - just ask Gabe Newell. (Some other company has even written their own version of the DX10 API/DLLS that you *can* run in XP,)

There's no reason *any* OS can't use *hardware* acceleration, it's just a matter of writing the proper software. Microsoft's not going to do that though, since they purposely created this situation to spur upgrade sales.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Inspector replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 11:07 PM

LOL la_guy were the same person, i signed in with my facebook account to test it out and i posted with that account even thought i signed off for some reason...

 

 

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Joel H replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 11:49 PM

3vi1,

I don't mind you being contrary, but you're confusing two separate issues. We aren't talking about DirectX 10 at all, we're talking about Desktop Windows Manager (DWM). The Wikipedia entry is pretty good here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_Window_Manager

DWM is a DirectX *9* program and has nothing to do with DX10 support. If you look into how XP's GUI is drawn vs. Vista/Win 7's, it's very clear that there's no relation to the DX10 Vista issue.

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RyuGTX replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 5:01 AM

Joel H:

3vi1,

I don't mind you being contrary, but you're confusing two separate issues. We aren't talking about DirectX 10 at all, we're talking about Desktop Windows Manager (DWM). The Wikipedia entry is pretty good here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_Window_Manager

DWM is a DirectX *9* program and has nothing to do with DX10 support. If you look into how XP's GUI is drawn vs. Vista/Win 7's, it's very clear that there's no relation to the DX10 Vista issue.

 

I believe he is only bringing up the DX10 issue to state his point that IE9 is not impossible to be made for XP. Just stating that if DX10 is possible, then this should be as well. To add to the point of increasing sales of a new OS, I would like to add that it doesn't make too much sense from a business perspective to spend even more time and money just to make it compatible with an older OS. It also takes away features from the new OS. Why upgrade when Microsoft can develop it for XP and people can just get it via MS update?

 

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serious96 replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 5:59 AM

@RyuGTX

Well, the problem was, MS doesn't get a money from MS Update. It's all about a business and a profit :P

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 10:55 AM

Maybe I misunderstand, but I was under the impression that,IE9's acceleration is entirely by virtue of of Direct2D/Write calls, not any hooks directly from the app to the DWM. That's why the mention of the DX10 restriction in my

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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are you serious

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 12:07 PM

3vi1, Ryu:

I did some additional digging on this, but since I'm not familiar with this aspect of Windows I freely admit I could be wrong. What I found suggests that it's WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) that's the critical function. DWM itself depends on WDDM.

From what I'm reading, there's a chain of functionality here that starts with IE9 and runs backwards into features like WDDM and DWM, both of which function very differently than device drivers in XP and XP's GDI+. One of the major features of DWM is to allow for 2D and 3D acceleration on the desktop in ways GDI+ couldn't implement.

I'm willing to step back and say that if you sink enough time+energy into a problem there's very little that's literally impossible. What I don't see here is any way Microsoft could cleanly and efficiently bring IE9's hardware acceleration to XP. It's true that if Microsoft hadn't built WDDM it'd be easier to backport DX10, but if you read up on WDDM, MS had good reason to create it and it enables features that weren't possible on XP.

(If you ever read the internal MS emails that were released as part of the Vista Capable lawsuit, there's a lot of internal fighting over just how important WDDM support is in Vista. If MS hadn't caved to Intel on this one the break would've been sharper--but also cleaner).

Not bringing IE9 to XP doesn't seem to be MS flipping off its customer base. As far as I can tell, even trying to do so would involve a lot of additional work for a nine year old OS that people really should be moving away from (assuming they care at all about modern OS features). There does come a point when it's just not worth it to keep trying to stuff new capabilities into old software.

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 12:07 PM

Also, twistedfate, no idea who you're talking to--but yes, we're all serious. ;)

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it not coming to xp is what i was directing it towards

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 12:43 PM

TwistedFate,

I think MS's reasoning here is pretty straightforward. Let me show you something 3vi1 showed me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_browsers#Vulnerabilities

Let's say you're Microsoft. You're already actively trying to get people to move off IE6 (just like everyone else). Users who move off IE6 but stay with an MS browser can move to IE7 or IE8. Both browsers are *far* more secure--IE7 has 15 listed unpatched vulnerabilities, IE8 has 31, IE6 has 396. MS has already stopped providing new features for XP, which makes security patches their priority. If they get you off IE6, the job is done.

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I am sure this is a good strategy from MS to get people to believe XP is dead and you must upgrade to 7.

As soon as they have given enough time until sales level off of Win7, they will most likely send out a service pack for XP that has IE9. Probably just a more slimmed down version that will be more stable in XP.

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 2:24 PM

Anima,

No. Really, really, no. Microsoft is finished with XP in terms of everything *but* security updates, and those end soon enough. No faking, no fooling, no more service packs, nothing. It's nine years old; it needs to die.

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JLibster replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 3:24 PM

Windows XP is not going anywhere quickly. Netbooks being the secondary reason, the BUSINESS community being the first. Vista was already a disaster and I've already encountered a few situations in my tests with Windows 7 that indicate possible headaches. The new WAT (WGA) doesn't inspire me either nor its requirements for a lot of RAM (>=1 GB where as XP needs 256-512MB), and the Superfetch isn't any better so I tend to disable it. Some software is either incompatible, or doesn't function correctly unless you know all the hidden administrator tricks (some common security software has had problems installing the "dumb" user way) . For these reasons the business community wants XP Professional until the little "quirks" in Windows 7 are resolved. That will be most likely a year at least. Most people don't want or need the new features unless they are gamers (some graphic speed improvements); they prefer the overall speed and stability of XP. For this reason, the lackluster adoption of IE8 and increasing converts to Firefox, I suspect IE9 will have some spinoff release for Windows XP just to stem the increasing number of people migrating to non-MS browser alternatives.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 3:41 PM

>> What I don't see here is any way Microsoft could cleanly and efficiently bring IE9's hardware acceleration to XP.

I'll agree that it's true that this would not have been as simple a task as should be expected for legacy support.

>> Not bringing IE9 to XP doesn't seem to be MS flipping off its customer base.

Also agreed. It just doesn't look so great when you can still buy a brand new system from Dell today, with XP pre-installed. This should all be a non-issue within a few years as people refresh their hardware.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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lyme replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 3:42 PM

MS sent XP out to pasture over a year ago, suggesting MS still support a 10+ year old os that they make little money off of doesn't make business sense. Next people will start suggesting that they back port it to windows 95.

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 20 2010 8:54 PM

JLibster,

Corporate IT will upgrade at a slow pace, sure. I've not yet met anyone who tried Win 7 on modern hardware (or hardware meant for running actual programs, ie, not a netbook) who went back to XP.

I liked XP. I was a big fan of XP. When Vista came out, I stayed on XP.

All of that being true, it's time to move on. :P

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AKwyn replied on Sun, Mar 21 2010 2:34 AM

JLibster

Personally I disagree. I want to know how the new WAT doesn't inspire you? The only thing it does when it's not genuine is turn your screen black and nag you excessively. It's not like Windows Vista WGA where it locked you out of the system, now that would of caused lots of frustration and headaches.

I personally disagree, If I'm correct, programs require more memory (especially Office programs) then before. List one business program that's been released recently that has a minimum of 256MB or 512MB.

Very few software (aside from security software and a few programs from the Windows 95 and 98 era) I've installed are actually incompatible. And all you have to do is enable some sort of compatibility mode and/or allow the program to have administrator privileges. And if that doesn't work then it's truly incompatible.

Also businesses are slow to update because it would cost money in order to upgrade their entire infrastructure, whether it'd be 500 or 5,000 computers. They have to make sure that everything works normally when they install Windows 7 and some businesses rely on software that might not or does not work on Windows 7, therefore they would also have to buy new updated software (if the program is unsupported and not receiving patches anymore) in order for them to have seamless transition.

Personally, my opinion of Windows 7 is that it's fast, stable and best of all, something that Vista was supposed to be. Also I'm one of those Firefox converts running an alpha version of Minefield that does the same Direct2D and DirectWrite stuff as Internet Explorer 9. The best thing Microsoft could do is to make a version for XP that uses a GDI engine instead of a DirectX one.

 

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Mar 22 2010 12:58 AM

I wasn't saying that Microsoft should bring this to XP. I was first just trying to clarify what 3vi1 was saying since a few people seemed confused as to why he was talking about DX10 not being passed onto XP.

 

Like I said in my post, I agree with you guys that it doesn't make sense for Microsoft to do this for XP users from a business perspective. For one, why spend more time and resources making it work for an older OS when it doesn't get them more money. They also have a commitment to shareholders as well.

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My sympathies to all of the XP users who are also IE8 users. I have XP, but alas, I really do not enjoy IE, though I haven't used it since IE6, as I am a Firefox user.

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NoobfromNS replied on Mon, Mar 22 2010 12:55 PM

I'll have one Pc that will need 64-bit support and it will have 7. The other can get away with XP and my wife doesn't want to change yet, so that one will saty on XP. In either event neither of use IE, so what it is supported on is a moot point.

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I suppose these are the initial stages to finally phase out the XP operating system. 

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Mar 22 2010 6:22 PM

Devil_Dante:

My sympathies to all of the XP users who are also IE8 users. I have XP, but alas, I really do not enjoy IE, though I haven't used it since IE6, as I am a Firefox user.

 

I wonder how many people you would be sympathetic to. I'm curious how many XP users there are that still use IE. And of those, I wonder if anyone cares or even knows about a new IE update. I'm sure if they really cared or noticed about the new IE, they would just switch to an alternative like Firefox instead of upgrading to Windows 7 just for IE9.

 

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RyuGTX:

Devil_Dante:

My sympathies to all of the XP users who are also IE8 users. I have XP, but alas, I really do not enjoy IE, though I haven't used it since IE6, as I am a Firefox user.

 

I wonder how many people you would be sympathetic to. I'm curious how many XP users there are that still use IE. And of those, I wonder if anyone cares or even knows about a new IE update. I'm sure if they really cared or noticed about the new IE, they would just switch to an alternative like Firefox instead of upgrading to Windows 7 just for IE9.

 

You're probably right, but it would still suck to have your OS slowly phased out. Fortunately, I will be upgrading to a Windows 7 computer eventually, when I can muster up a few hundred dollars to start building a new computer. Of course I will remain a Firefox user, since I still believe it's the best one, and is my favorite browser.

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