What does NCBI’s Internet Explorer 7 warning mean?

Over the past several months, you may have noticed a warning message if you’ve accessed the NCBI site using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser:

Internet Explorer Warning
If you have been using Internet Explorer versions 7 or 8 (on “compatibility mode”) to surf the web, you may have seen this warning at the top of NCBI webpages.

This message has caused some concern among some users about exactly what changed on January 1, 2013 and whether or not they will still be able to access PubMed and other NCBI resources.  We hope that this post will address some of the more common questions.

Why are you no longer supporting the IE7 web browser?

We consider several factors when deciding to stop support for a browser, such as how many of our web requests come from the browser, how much staff time is required to support the browser and the general level of support for the browser among other internet content providers.

What does “stop supporting this browser” mean?

When we stop supporting a given browser, we will no longer test new or updated web pages on that browser, and can no longer guarantee that the features on our web pages will work well or at all in the browser. Additionally, if we become aware of problems on our web pages that only occur only on that browser, we will no longer fix them.

What happened on the NCBI website on January 1, 2013?

Actually, nothing.  We didn’t turn anything on or off. As described above, we simply will no longer test our pages or fix problems in IE7.

What does this really mean about my use of the NCBI website?

Practically this means that after January 1, IE7 users should still be able to use NCBI resources; however, as we update our pages, we expect that over a period of time (which could be weeks or months), the ability of IE7 to render our pages correctly will degrade.

What should I do?

The best course of action is to upgrade your browser to a more current version. Examples of the most current versions of browsers that we support are as follows:

For more information about Browser Support for the NCBI site, please see this page: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/guide/browsers.

2 thoughts on “What does NCBI’s Internet Explorer 7 warning mean?

  1. Well, I run explorer 10 and yet you still send me the message that I am running IE7…I have no idea what the deal is!

  2. Please see the message on the page that is linked in the message at the top of your page: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/guide/browsers .

    Since you are using Internet Explorer version 10 (IE10), it is likely that you are running it in “Compatibility Mode”. Newer versions of Internet Explorer (after IE7) were enabled to run in “Compatibility Mode” in order to guarantee that the browser would display webpages that had been designed to work on the existing IE7 framework. As web page programming has evolved, changes in coding were developed for proper display and function in the newer web browsers. However, these changes added the potential for the older IE7 browser to have problems with javascripting used in many newer webpages, including ours.

    Running IE8, IE9 or IE10 in “Compatibility Mode” makes it appear to our web servers that you are actually running IE7. Turning off the “Compatibility Mode” should fix the issue.

    Here is a direct link to Microsoft’s website for a discussion about IE10-specific Compatibility Mode: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/internet-explorer/use-compatibility-view#ie=ie-10

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