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article imageGoogle Chrome to end support for Windows XP and Vista next year

By James Walker     Nov 11, 2015 in Technology
Google has announced that its Chrome web browser will no longer be supported on Windows XP, Windows Vista and some older versions of Mac OS X from next year. Users still have a little time left but the company is keen to get people upgrading.
The move is most likely to affect people running Windows XP, an operating system from 2001 that Microsoft itself discontinued in April last year. Google will release the last XP-compatible version of Chrome in April 2016, two years after Microsoft stopped supporting its own software.
Google has remained committed to the ageing OS for longer than anyone thought it would, including itself. With Microsoft's April 2014 deadline looming, the company announced it would keep supporting Chrome for XP until at least April 2015. When the month came around, it simply extended support again, putting it at the end of this year.
The Chrome and XP combination is now receiving yet another last hurrah with Google giving it an extra four months of life to April 2016. The company will also be ending Chrome on Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 around the same time.
When that happens, Chrome users won't find the browser suddenly uninstalling itself or not working. They will be able to keep using it as normal but will not receive any security updates or new updates.
Google reiterates its earlier message to people still using older operating systems. The company strongly encourages users to update to newer versions as the old platforms are often missing critical security updates and are more easily infected by viruses and malware. It said: "If you are still on one of these unsupported platforms, we encourage you to move to a newer operating system to ensure that you continue to receive the latest Chrome versions and features."
Google joins Microsoft in advising Windows users consider installing Windows 10, if their computer supports it. Upgrading from XP or Vista isn't free though and many of the newer OS' features are unlikely to run so well on machines designed for software as old as these platforms.
Windows 7 and 8.1 are still supported by Microsoft and continue to receive security updates and improvements, along with new Chrome versions. Notably, Windows Vista is technically supported until April 2017, making this the first time Google has withdrawn support for an OS that is still supported by its creator.
Apple customers currently have the choice of OS X 10.11, 10.10 or 10.9. The company only ever supports three versions at a time, discontinuing support for whatever is three years old with each new Mac OS X release.
Some users of these older operating systems are likely to be upset by the changes but supporting aging platforms can use up development time that would be better served developing new features for modern devices. Windows XP was officially discontinued 18 months ago, leaving the OS increasingly vulnerable to the malware found online. Mac OS X 10.6 is also exceedingly dated and even 10.8 is three years behind the latest release. All these older systems put their users at increased risk of infection from malware and viruses, justifying Google's suggestion of an upgrade.
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