Detect IE version (prior to v9) in JavaScript

Detect IE version (prior to v9) in JavaScript

I want to bounce users of our web site to an error page if they’re using a version of Internet Explorer prior to v9. It’s just not worth our time and money to support IE pre-v9. Users of all other non-IE browsers are fine and shouldn’t be bounced. Here’s the proposed code:
if(navigator.appName.indexOf(“Internet Explorer”)!=-1){ //yeah, he’s using IE
var badBrowser=(
navigator.appVersion.indexOf(“MSIE 9”)==-1 && //v9 is ok
navigator.appVersion.indexOf(“MSIE 1”)==-1 //v10, 11, 12, etc. is fine too

// navigate to error page

Will this code do the trick?
To head off a few comments that will probably be coming my way:

Yes, I know that users can forge their useragent string. I’m not concerned.
Yes, I know that programming pros prefer sniffing out feature-support instead of browser-type but I don’t feel this approach makes sense in this case. I already know that all (relevant) non-IE browsers support the features that I need and that all pre-v9 IE browsers don’t. Checking feature by feature throughout the site would be a waste.
Yes, I know that someone trying to access the site using IE v1 (or >= 20) wouldn’t get ‘badBrowser’ set to true and the warning page wouldn’t be displayed properly. That’s a risk we’re willing to take.
Yes, I know that Microsoft has “conditional comments” that can be used for precise browser version detection. IE no longer supports conditional comments as of IE 10, rendering this approach absolutely useless.

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Any other obvious issues to be aware of?


Solution 1:

This is my preferred way of doing it. It gives maximum control. (Note: Conditional statements are only supported in IE5 – 9.)

First set up your ie classes correctly

<!DOCTYPE html>
<!--[if lt IE 7]> <html class="lt-ie9 lt-ie8 lt-ie7"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 7]>    <html class="lt-ie9 lt-ie8"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 8]>    <html class="lt-ie9"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if gt IE 8]><!--> <html> <!--<![endif]-->    

Then you can just use CSS to make style exceptions, or, if you require, you can add some simple JavaScript:

(function ($) {
    "use strict";

    // Detecting IE
    var oldIE;
    if ($('html').is('.lt-ie7, .lt-ie8, .lt-ie9')) {
        oldIE = true;

    if (oldIE) {
        // Here's your JS for IE..
    } else {
        // ..And here's the full-fat code for everyone else


Thanks to Paul Irish.

Solution 2:

Return IE version or if not IE return false

function isIE () {
  var myNav = navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();
  return (myNav.indexOf('msie') != -1) ? parseInt(myNav.split('msie')[1]) : false;


if (isIE () == 8) {
 // IE8 code
} else {
 // Other versions IE or not IE


if (isIE () && isIE () < 9) {
 // is IE version less than 9
} else {
 // is IE 9 and later or not IE


if (isIE()) {
 // is IE
} else {
 // Other browser

Solution 3:

If nobody else has added an addEventLister-method and you’re using the correct browser mode then you could check for IE 8 or less with

if (window.attachEvent && !window.addEventListener) {
    // "bad" IE

Legacy Internet Explorer and attachEvent (MDN)

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Solution 4:

Use conditional comments. You’re trying to detect users of IE < 9 and conditional comments will work in those browsers; in other browsers (IE >= 10 and non-IE), the comments will be treated as normal HTML comments, which is what they are.

Example HTML:

<!--[if lt IE 9]>

You can also do this purely with script, if you need:

var div = document.createElement("div");
div.innerHTML = "<!--[if lt IE 9]><i></i><![endif]-->";
var isIeLessThan9 = (div.getElementsByTagName("i").length == 1);
if (isIeLessThan9) {

Solution 5:

To detect MSIE (v6 – v7 – v8 – v9 – v10 – v11) easily :

if (navigator.userAgent.indexOf('MSIE') !== -1 || navigator.appVersion.indexOf('Trident/') > 0) {
   // MSIE

Solution 6:

Here is the way AngularJS checks for IE

 * documentMode is an IE-only property
var msie = document.documentMode;

if (msie < 9) {
    // code for IE < 9