Microsoft Announces VBScript's Retirement

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Microsoft Announces VBScript's Retirement

Microsoft has announced their decision to phase out VBScript in favor of modernizing scripting environments within its operating systems, reflecting the evolving demands of web development and automation tasks. As detailed in a blog post by Microsoft's program manager, Naveen Shankar, this transition aims to enhance security and efficiency by adopting more robust and widely supported languages like PowerShell and JavaScript. Shankar highlights the benefits of moving to contemporary scripting solutions: JavaScript is recommended for web development due to its cross-browser compatibility and modern capabilities, while PowerShell offers a powerful and flexible alternative for automation and administrative tasks, capable of handling complex scripting needs more securely and efficiently than VBScript.

The deprecation of VBScript will occur in three distinct phases. Starting in the second half of 2024, VBScript will be available as Features on Demand (FODs) in Windows 11, version 24H2, enabled by default to ease the transition for users. This first phase is designed to support users as they migrate away from VBScript, ensuring that applications dependent on it continue to function without disruption. By around 2027, in the second deprecation phase, VBScript FODs will no longer be enabled by default, and users will need to manually enable the feature, reflecting Microsoft's strategy to gradually reduce the scripting language's footprint. The final phase will see VBScript completely removed from future Windows OS versions, including all associated dynamic link libraries (DLLs), effectively ending the functionality of any remaining VBScript-dependent projects.

Users are advised to assess their current usage of VBScript and begin transitioning to these recommended alternatives well before the final phase of VBScript's deprecation to avoid disruptions. This might involve rewriting scripts, which can be a significant undertaking for organizations heavily reliant on VBScript, particularly those using it within custom applications or for administrative automation. The gradual phasing out of VBScript reflects a broader industry trend towards more secure and maintainable coding practices. Outdated code often lacks the defenses necessary to combat modern cyber threats, and this deprecation not only minimizes security risks but also aligns with industry best practices advocating for the use of up-to-date technologies that are actively maintained and supported.

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