Microsoft has been warning customers for some time now that only the latest version of Internet Explorer will be supported on their Windows based operating systems.

That change will take place beginning on 12 January 2016, the first Patch Tuesday of the new year, and means users who are not running the most recent version of IE for their systems will be required to upgrade or lose security related patches and support.

In order to facilitate this process, Microsoft plans to deliver a cumulative security update next month that will begin reminding those users of the need to upgrade.

According to Microsoft there are multiple reasons to upgrade to IE11:

Internet Explorer 11 offers improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility, and support for the web standards that power today’s websites and services. Microsoft encourages customers to upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser for a faster, more secure browsing experience.

The new "End of Life" upgrade notification for Internet Explorer is listed under KB article 3123303. Surprisingly, that update article is already published on the Microsoft Support site. Normally, patch related information for monthly Patch Tuesday cycles are not made available until after the updates are released.

There are two Windows operating systems this patch and reminder process will apply to if they are running any of the below listed configurations:

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1 x64 Edition

  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Internet Explorer 9
  • Internet Explorer 8

Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 x64 Edition

  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Internet Explorer 9
  • Internet Explorer 8

There is no info in this article that describes how the reminder process will but it could work similarly to the Get Windows 10 app which Microsoft used to encourage user to upgrade to the new OS.

If you are in the process of transitioning your organization to IE11 in any of the above configurations there is a registry edit in KB3123303 that will disable the reminders.

So how many people are impacted by this mandatory upgrade? According to the US Digital Analytics Program there are nearly 124 million people running IE10 or older on their systems (via ZD Net).

Microsoft actually provided users an 18 month heads up about this pending change in August 2014 over on the IE Blog but I have no doubt many will not be ready for it or find this as a surprise.

If you are still running IE10 or older is there a specific reason why you have not upgraded to the latest version of IE yet?

But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.