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Upgrade to Windows 10 to hang on to the latest and greatest version of Gmail

Why it matters to you

If you're a big Gmail user, then you won't be able to hold out on upgrading to Windows 10 forever.

Windows 10 crossed the 25 percent market share threshold in January and at last count, more than 400 million users had migrated to Microsoft latest OS. While those are impressive numbers given that Windows 10 has only been available for about 18 months, that leaves quite a few stragglers who haven’t yet made the move.

Many reasons exist to upgrade to Windows 10, and for Windows XP and Vista users — which according to some data represent a bit more than 10 percent of all PC users — perhaps the biggest reason is for the night-and-day differences in support and security that Windows 10 provides. Google just offered another reason update to Windows, specifically that Gmail will reduce support for Windows XP and Vista, as Google announced on the G Suite blog.

More: Windows 10’s Anniversary Update cements its status as the best desktop OS

While those users will still be able to access their Gmail messages, they will be doing so with the much less robust HTML version as early as December. The Windows version is actually a secondary cause of the reduction in functionality. More specifically, Google will be shifting all users running Chrome Browser v53 or below and it just so happens that the latest Chrome version supported on Windows XP and Vista is v49.

Starting on February 8, Google will start displaying a banner for users running Chrome v53 and below encouraging them to upgrade to the latest version, v55. Google is concerned that older, unsupported versions of Chrome represent security risks as well as a lack of the latest features and bug fixes.

Google’s specific statement regarding the reduced functionality is as follows: “Gmail will continue to function on Chrome Browser v53 and below through the end of the year. Users who remain on Chrome v53 and below could be redirected to the basic HTML version of Gmail as early as Dec 2017.”

Anyone running Chrome v53 or below only has to update the browser to maintain full access to Gmail’s functionality. If you’re a Windows XP or Vista user and require all of Gmail’s functionality, then you will want to get your machines updated to Windows 10 by the end of 2017. You might as well do so, given that by some accounts, Windows 10 is the best PC operating system and well worth the investment.