Sorry Vista users, no Internet Explorer 10 for you

Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 1 has arrived at the MIX’11 conference, bringing support for “CSS3 Flexbox, CSS3 Grid Alignment, CSS3 Multi-column, CSS3 Gradients on background-images and ECMAScript5 Strict Mode,” though dropping support for an operating system.

Which operating system won’t see any Internet Explorer 10 love? That would be Windows Vista.

If you take a look at the system requirements for Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 1, the only operating system listed is Windows 7 (x86 and x64). Just as Microsoft left Windows XP without IE9, Windows Vista will be the next to get burned. Oh well, I guess you could just upgrade to Windows 7, or wait for Windows 8.

Yeah, you heard right, Windows 8. It seems as though Microsoft was demo’ing Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8, due to the mention of Windows running on ARM (only Windows 8 supports that), along with Windows Explorer having an “up one directory” arrow, something Windows 7 does not have. That is what Long Zheng from the live blog believes he saw.

Internet Explorer’s philosophy

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The reason Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP was an obvious one — it’s a decade old operating system. Since it is so old, it does not have the latest technology for graphics performance and the like, which is required for Internet Explorer 9 to be as fast as possible (hardware acceleration, which didn’t really exist back in XP’s day).

It would not have been a big issue for Microsoft to support IE9 on Windows XP (just disable hardware acceleration), but their reasoning is quite sound, they didn’t want to use abstraction layers, and libraries which “slow down your site and your experience.”

Microsoft is making a reference to Google Chrome (and undoubtedly Firefox as well) which attempted to support Windows XP with hardware acceleration, but recently announced that support will be dropped in the future (though Firefox 4 still supports Windows XP with hardware acceleration — correct me if I am wrong).

That is why Windows Vista will not get IE10: they do not want to support an old operating system lacking the functionality required, nor do they want to take the time to add that functionality either.

Though, there is an interesting note on the IE10 Release Notes page, saying that Platform Preview 4 will require a system update which “support[s] Platform Preview graphics, media, and printing functionality.” So even though Windows 7 might be missing a few features, it will be updated to add those missing features, while Windows Vista will get the cold shoulder.

No surprise, as Microsoft simply wants you to upgrade to the “latest and greatest” version of Windows, but can you blame them?

About Ian Aldrighetti

My name is Ian Aldrighetti, I am currently attending college to obtain a major in Computer Science. Some of my favorite things to do include web design and programming (PHP, JavaScript, AJAX, CSS, HTML, etc.) but also following Microsoft on a day to do basis. Who can't love Microsoft? :-P