Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Visual Basic Scripting Edition, or VBScript, has been a scripting language and automation tool for Windows since it was introduced in 1996. Microsoft has now confirmed VBScript will be made optional in Windows 11 later this year, before its eventual removal.

VBScript has been a preinstalled component since Windows 98, initially as an alternative to writing bash scripts. However, there have been many other scripting technologies added to Windows since that point, including PowerShell and JavaScript. VBScript is now more commonly used for malware attacks than its original intended purpose—the similar VBA technology is now turned off in downloaded Office documents for the same reason—so Microsoft is starting to phase it out.

Windows 11 22H2, the next major Windows release coming later this year, will turn VBScript into an optional feature, just like the legacy Windows Media Player app. It will still be enabled by default, so VBScript will continue to work, but that change will give users and IT administrators the ability to fully remove it from PCs if it’s not needed. Even if you’ve never opened or written a VBScript file, it might be a dependency for an application you have installed, so removing it right now for all PCs could cause unexpected issues.

Microsoft says it plans to disable VBScript by default “around 2027,” and turning it back on will require enabling the optional feature in Settings. Sometime after that, VBScript will be fully removed from Windows with no option to turn it back on, but there’s no estimated timeline for that yet. Presumably, that will only happen once most modern software has removed any dependencies on VBScript.

Microsoft said in a blog post, “In October 2023, we announced our commitment to providing the best and most efficient experiences by gradually deprecating VBScript. Beginning with the new OS release slated for later this year, VBScript will be available as features on demand (FODs). The feature will be completely retired from future Windows OS releases, as we transition to the more efficient PowerShell experiences.”

It’s great to see more of an effort to modernize Windows and phase out legacy components that may pose security or performance risks. The migration away from VBScript will be annoying for some people, but at least Microsoft is giving everyone a few years to figure it out.

Source: Windows IT Pro Blog, Bleeping Computer

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By John P.

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