Google: Go ahead, XP stalwarts, keep on using Chrome safely all YEAR

Support deadline extended for upgrade stragglers

Even though Microsoft quit supporting the wildly popular Windows XP last year, Google has decided to give XP users a break by promising to ship updates and security fixes for its Chrome browser on the aging operating system for a few more months.

Wayyyyy back in 2013, the Chocolate Factory told Chrome users that they had better get off Microsoft's outdated OS by April 2015 if they wanted to keep using their favorite browser. That gave them a full year after Redmond officially discontinued support for XP on April 8, 2014.

But no matter how Microsoft has pushed, prodded, coaxed, and cajoled users into upgrading to one of its newer offerings, there are plenty of Windows users who are still stuck on XP. In fact, web analytics outfit Netmarketshare reckons that as of March 2015, Windows XP – which was released in 2001 – still accounts for some 17 per cent of global web traffic.

For that reason, Google has decided to loosen its earlier deadline. "It's April 2015 now, and we're extending that commitment," Chrome engineering boss Mark Larson said in a blog post. "We will continue to provide regular updates and security patches to Chrome on XP through the end of 2015."

That's not to say that the Mountain View firm thinks people should just keep using XP if they feel like it.

"At the operating system level, computers running XP are inherently in danger of being infected by malware and viruses, making it increasingly difficult for Chrome to provide a secure browsing environment," Lawson said. "That's why we strongly encourage everyone to update to a supported, secure operating system."

Microsoft itself encouraging XP users even more strongly. Internet Explorer 8 is the only version of Redmond's browser that is supported on XP today, and that support will end on January 12, 2016. Beginning on that date, only the most recent version of IE that will run on any supported OS will continue to get updates – and XP hasn't been a supported OS for over a year now.

XP diehards still have options, though. The latest versions of Firefox and Opera for Windows both still list Windows XP or later in their system requirements – at least for the time being. ®

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