A stable release of Google Chrome version 50 was distributed yesterday, and with it support for a number of legacy operating systems was removed from the Web browser. Windows XP and Windows Vista are no longer supported, and neither are OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 on the other side of the Mac-PC divide.
Google gave users plenty of warning that this change was coming. Back in November 2015, the company announced that no further updates or security fixes would be offered on XP or Vista from April of 2016 — and it has to be said that its timing couldn’t have been much more exact.
Legacy versions of Microsoft’s flagship OS still manage to retain plenty of market share, as evidenced by figures released in early 2016 which showed that Windows XP still held a slight lead over Windows 10. These holdouts will perhaps be disappointed to hear that Chrome updates are being discontinued, but in fairness even Microsoft called time on its security patches for XP back in 2014.
Chrome will still work on these unsupported platforms, but this kind of usage really isn’t an ideal scenario. Without updates and security fixes, using the browser to surf the Web presents some unnecessary risks without any real rewards to speak of.
However, there are some options that users who are too stubborn to update their OS can investigate. Both Firefox 45 and the most recently released version of Opera should be compatible with versions of Windows as far back as XP, according to a report from Ars Technica.
While Google has its own reasons for discontinuing support, Microsoft will certainly be pleased to see XP and Vista slip further into the past. A huge factor in the development of Windows 10 was the desire to bring PC users under one all-encompassing OS — and as widely used applications like Chrome drop support, there’s all the more reason for holdouts to consider the upgrade.