Windows 7 support ended on the 14th January 2020. To be fair, we should all be on Windows 10 by now or if your PC can’t run it or you want a free alternative, Linux. But those who rely on Windows applications and can’t afford to upgrade are left on Windows 7. It’s important to take security seriously when running an unsupported OS. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported on Windows 7 and therefore no longer getting security updates so you will want to look for a new browser to use if you’ve been using Internet Explorer all this time. This is where you may come across Google Chrome.
Chrome on Windows XP and VistaGoogle Chrome dropped support for both Windows XP and Vista at the same time with Chrome 50 in 2016. It was a shock for Windows Vista support to be dropped considering Windows Vista did not reach end of life until 2017, but it was obvious Google were prepared to move on, not to mention Windows Vista was not as popular as XP or 7 as it was known to be quite buggy. Microsoft tried fixing bugs with updates but it was too late and Windows Vista’s reputation was already tarnished and never properly recovered.
Windows XP support ended in 2014, two years before Chrome support was dropped. Unlike Vista, Windows XP was very popular and one of the most loved Windows versions in history. Even when support ended, many users and organisations worldwide kept using it. The WannaCry ransomware outbreak made Windows XP users realise it was time to move on.
Because of Windows XP’s reputation and figures of people still using it, Google decided to support it for another couple of years with Chrome. But will they do the same with Windows 7?
Windows 7 Chrome to be supported for ‘at least 18 months’On Google Cloud’s page about helping businesses still on Windows 7, Google mention that they will continue supporting Chrome for at least 18 months from Microsoft’s EOL date for Windows 7.
Despite this article being aimed at businesses and enterprises, it also applies to home users too. Google will continue updating Chrome for at least 18 months, maybe even longer regardless of if you’re in the workplace or not.
So if your current PC is still on Windows 7 and you need time to plan a migration to Windows 10, you can still use a secure browser whilst you’re still on Windows 7.
What other browser options are there?Chrome may have stated how much longer they will support Windows 7 for, but Firefox hasn’t specified this, so it is assumed that they will continue supporting Windows 7 until further notice. And when they do, it’s likely they will release an ESR (Extended Support Release) as the final version so that they will continue maintaining that for a little while. Opera is still actively updating Opera 36, the last compatible version for Windows XP and Vista, with security fixes, so it can be assumed that when Opera decide to stop providing feature updates for Windows 7 that they will still maintain the last compatible version for a while.
ConclusionIf you are stuck on Windows 7 there are still plenty of browser options. Browsing with an updated browser gives you some added security even on an old OS like Windows 7, and it’s good to see web browsers continue support for Windows 7 especially considering its popularity.
But all good things must come to an end, and so must Windows 7. Web browsers won’t support Windows 7 forever. It’s good that browsers are giving Windows 7 users time to migrate to Windows 10, but soon that time will be up.
If you haven’t already it’s time to plan your migration to Windows 10 or to Linux so that you can be on a secure, supported OS by the time programs start dropping support for Windows 7. Google’s post can help businesses migrate, whilst home users should create a plan to help them get to Windows 10 or Linux by the end of the year. Windows 7 was great in its day but now it’s time to put the past in the past and move on.