What Is VBScript, and Why Did Microsoft Just Kill It?

Internet Explorer shortcut on a Windows 10 desktop.

VBScript is gone. Once a scripting language to compete JavaScript in Web browsers, VBScript is now disabled by default in Internet Explorer on all supported versions of Windows after a recent update of Windows. But VBScript has faded for years.

Goodbye, VBScript!

August 13, 2019, Microsoft VBScript disabled by default in Internet Explorer on Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 systems through a Patch Tuesday update. Microsoft has released a similar update for Windows 10 on July 9, 2019. From now on, on any supported Windows system on which the latest updates are installed, VBScript will be disabled by default.

VBScript was already largely gone. Microsoft has never supported VBScript in Microsoft Edge, which meant that it was limited to Internet Explorer 11. Other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari did not work. have never implemented VBScript.

VBScript in competition with JavaScript

VBScript was a scripting language inspired by Microsoft Visual Basic. His full name is "Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition".

This language appeared for the first time in a consumer product in 1996, when it was added to Internet Explorer. Web sites could use VBScript as they could use JavaScript, and Internet Explorer supported them. However, VBScript only worked in Internet Explorer, while JavaScript was a multi-browser solution that also worked in other browsers. This is one of the main reasons why JavaScript has won and most web pages have never adopted VBScript for client-side scripts.

Microsoft has disabled VBScript in the browser. By default, Internet Explorer 11 will no longer run VBScript found on Web pages. It was rarely used, but some old internal business websites can still rely on VBScript instead of JavaScript.

The Microsoft Edge browser team wrote about "say goodbye"To VBScript and old technologies like ActiveX In 2015, pointing out that "JavaScript has become the de facto language of the Web," Edge has never supported VBScript.

VBScript was not restricted to web browsers

A VBScript file in the file explorer

Although this latest update is for Internet Explorer, VBScript was much more than that. Microsoft's Internet Information Services (IIS) Web server could run server-side VBScript. The Windows Script Host (WSH) can run VBScript files, often with the .vbs file extension. He appeared in all kinds of places. For example, Microsoft Outlook 97 used VBScript as the macro language, although this is the only Microsoft Office application to do so.

VBScript has been used by Windows administrators for scripts outside the web browser, replacing batch files. But VBScript has fallen out of fashion most of the time. As Paul Thurrott points out, "at the turn of the century, Microsoft was moving to .NET and VBScript was being left behind. "

System administrators who want to automate tasks with scripting now typically use PowerShell instead of VBScript. Modern versions of Microsoft Office block VBScript controls.

Why is VBScript going?

This update is not a surprise. Back in 2017, Microsoft has explained that he intended to disable VBScript by default in Internet Explorer in the future is now.

VBScript is too old, even for Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer 11 only displays VBScript for Web pages that are running in a legacy document mode. The Microsoft Edge browser team wrote that it was a "temporary solution. "Microsoft may support Internet Explorer 11 in the near future, but the company also does not support VBScript.

Of course, Windows contains many old compatibility features, but VBScript is potentially dangerous. This is all a scripting language available for Web pages in Internet Explorer, an old web browser. Few Web pages still use it and no one develops it anymore. Disabling it by default is obvious.

How to reactivate VBScript (if you absolutely must do it)

This change should not affect anything for the vast majority of people. If a website required VBScript, it would only work in Internet Explorer. Assuming you do not use old websites exclusively for IE, you're okay. Even if you do, most of these old websites do not use VBScript.

However, if you still need VBScript in Internet Explorer for any reason, there is always a way to use it. System Administrators Can Enable VBScript for Specific Security Zones through a registry or group policy setting.

Microsoft has not made this option easy to find. This is because this feature is really for the companies that need it. Ordinary people should not touch it.

In fact, Microsoft states that it will only offer these options "for a limited time". Expect to see them disappear in a later version of Windows 10, thus completely removing VBScript support from Internet Explorer.

Enabling VBScript in Internet Explorer through Group Policy

Although this language was long, it faded for a long time. The recent update of Windows does not change much. The vast majority of Windows users will not notice that VBScript has been disabled and will have no reason to be interested.

RELATED: How to open old web pages in Internet Explorer under Windows 10

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