Google announced back in 2015 that the company's Google Chrome web browser would support Microsoft's Windows XP operating throughout 2015 but would drop support shortly thereafter.
It revealed in November 2015 that it made the decision to add Windows Vista, Mac OS X 10.8 and earlier, all 32-bit versions of Linux, Ubuntu 12.04 and Debian 7 to the list of unsupported operating systems.
That time has come, and as of April 2016, all mentioned operating systems are no longer supported by Google Chrome.
What it means
According to Google, Chrome 49 is the last working version of Google Chrome that is available for operating systems that are no longer supported. While Chrome 49 will work just fine on those systems for now, it won't receive any more updates including security updates.
The recently released Chrome 50 is for instance not compatible with systems running Windows XP, Vista or any of the other operating systems that Google dropped support for.
If you try to install it, you will get the error message you see on the screenshot above.
This is problematic from a security point of view considering that future security issues won't be fixed on affected systems.
While you could point out that Windows XP is not supported as well anymore and that adding another unsupported program won't make much of a difference, that is not the case for Windows Vista.
Also, and that is probably more severe, the nature of web browsers exposes them to dangers on the Internet while that is not necessarily the case for the underlying operating system.
The effect on Chromium-based browsers
Since Google is largely in control in regards to the source that is used to create Google Chrome and other Chromium/Blink based browsers, Chromium and the majority of third-party browsers based on it won't support these operating systems as well anymore.
Vivaldi announced recently for instance that it will stop supporting Windows XP or Vista with the upcoming Vivaldi 1.1 release, and the same is likely true for other Chromium-based browsers like Iron, Comodo Dragon, or Torch.
Opera Software on the other hand announced that the company's Opera web browser would continue to support XP and Vista even after Google dropped support for those operating systems.
It has been announced on Chrome Blog that Windows XP and Vista support is ending including security fixes. We do care for our loyal users, which you could recently observe with 12.18 security update. While Opera 36 will be last one with features additions on Windows XP and Vista, we are still going to provide security and crash fixes to XP and Vista platform. You will no not be able to run Opera 37+ on Windows XP and Vista, we advise you update to more recent OS, if possible. Otherwise, we will have Opera 36 for you
While that is the case, support does not mean full support. Opera users who run XP or Vista will have to stay on Opera 36 as they won't be able to upgrade to Opera 37.
Opera Software will backport security and crash fixes to Opera 36 however for the foreseeable future which means that it is probably the only Chromium-based version that XP or Vista users can still make use of that won't be left insecure by the developing company.
Opera 36 is available as a download on Opera's FTP Server (and it will remain available there).
The main reason why Opera is an attractive option is that it is based on Chromium which means that it offers a similar browsing experience and support for the same browser extensions.
Firefox is another browser that continues to support XP and Vista for now, but migrating to it would change things around a lot more than a migration to Opera would.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.