Chrome drops support for Windows 7 & 8.1: what to do
Chrome dominates the web browser world, with Statista reporting that it held a staggering 67.19 percent market share in August 2022. The browser has grown exponentially since its inception in 2008. It continues to be an essential part of many people’s daily lives.
However, Google recently announced that it would no longer support Windows 7 or 8.1 operating systems (OS) in 2023. This leaves users who still use these versions of Windows without access to important updates and security patches.
So, what should Windows 7 and 8.1 users do? Read on, and let’s take a closer look at some of the things you need to do moving forward.
Overview of Google Chrome’s decision
With Google’s announcement, Chrome will not be available for download on Windows 7 and 8.1 after the end of 2023. Those using these operating systems may experience degraded performance as they won’t receive any new features or bug fixes.
The decision is part of Google’s effort to focus on more modern operating systems like Windows 10 and above, which are better equipped to handle the ever-evolving web landscape. Therefore, users who want to continue using Chrome should consider upgrading their OS before the deadline to ensure a smooth browsing experience.
What this means for users with these operating systems
Users with older operating systems may experience challenges once Google drops its support. Users may be exposed to risks without access to security patches and updates. Older versions of Windows are particularly vulnerable to malware and other malicious attacks.
There are other alternatives to Google, such as Microsoft Edge, but it may not offer the same level of compatibility. This limitation can be a hindrance, as Microsoft’s native browser may not support some extensions and features.
Benefits of using a newer version of Windows
If you are still unsure about upgrading your Windows OS, here are some key benefits of using its newer versions.
1. Enhanced security
Windows 10 and up provide enhanced security features over the older Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems that Google Chrome no longer supports. These newer versions of Windows come equipped with a suite of advanced security features to protect users from malicious attacks better while they browse the web. Here are some security features you don’t want to miss:
- Windows Defender: One of the essential security features offered is Windows Defender, Microsoft’s anti-malware and virus protection system. Windows Defender automatically runs in the background and can detect and remove malicious files before they do any damage to your computer. In addition, it can block suspicious websites that could contain malicious content and alert you if a website is not secure.
- Biometric login: Windows 10 also comes with Windows Hello. This biometric login system helps protect users from identity theft and other forms of fraud. With Windows Hello, you can log into your account with just a few touches or glances without remembering complicated passwords.
2. Improved performance
The new OS options are better equipped to handle the ever-evolving web landscape, providing faster performance and a smoother browsing experience. Windows 10 and up improve performance compared to the older Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems. These newer versions come with a range of optimizations that help improve the speed and responsiveness of your browsing experience.
3. Access to the latest features
When upgrading to Windows 10 or later versions, users are granted access to the latest features and functionality. The latest Windows version includes a range of features unavailable on lower versions. Here are a couple of notable ones:
- Improved taskbar: The newest version of Windows also includes an improved taskbar, allowing users to easily access their open apps and programs from the desktop. They can also immediately see their notifications and calendar events without opening additional programs.
- Virtual assistant: Windows 10’s latest version includes a virtual assistant called Cortana, which allows users to ask questions and receive answers quickly. It can also offer reminders and other helpful tips throughout your day. With modern user interfaces such as Cortana’s voice command support on Windows 10, performing tasks such as searching for files has become much more accessible than older versions which require manual navigation through menus/submenus, etc.
4. More efficient hardware usage
Newer versions of the OS are designed to be more efficient in using system resources so that users can get more out of their hardware. Windows 10 and up are better optimized for efficiently using a computer’s hardware, meaning users can experience improved performance with fewer system resources. That makes the operating system more responsive and less likely to slow down or freeze due to insufficient RAM or other resources.
5. Updated applications and drivers
By upgrading their operating system, users can access the latest applications and drivers for improved compatibility with hardware peripherals or software programs. These updated applications and drivers often provide better stability, performance, and compatibility with the latest hardware devices.
6. Improved compatibility with other devices and applications
With newer versions of Windows, users will benefit from improved compatibility with other devices and applications and access to new features such as network-based printing or cloud storage integration offered by modern programs like Office 365 or Adobe Creative Cloud.
7. Better battery life
Newer operating systems feature power-saving mechanisms that allow laptops and tablets to last longer on a single charge while providing sufficient performance levels when needed. The latest OS features a battery-saving mode, automatically adjusting the settings based on how you use the device to conserve energy.
8. Increased reliability and stability
By upgrading their operating system, users can expect increased reliability due to higher quality code being used by Microsoft engineers. That should result in fewer crashes or bugs compared to previous versions of the OS (Windows 7/8).
Why you need to keep your software up to date
Keeping software up to date is one of the most critical steps organizations, individuals, and businesses can take when protecting their data, systems, and networks. In a world where cyber-attacks are increasingly common, installing the latest software on your devices is a must.
Users can ensure they have the latest security patches installed on their devices by staying up-to-date with software updates. Regular updates will protect them from any new threats or vulnerabilities that come with outdated software and leaving digital footprints. Older software and operating systems may have bugs or known issues that malicious actors or hackers can exploit to access a system or network. By keeping systems updated, users are ensuring fewer opportunities for exploitation.
Additionally, updating specific software’s latest version can provide access to new features or functionality. That is especially true for office applications like Microsoft Office, which often introduce new features and tools that make work more accessible and more efficient. Updating software is also vital for staying compliant with regulatory requirements such as those from General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which require specific security standards for businesses.
Overall, keeping software up-to-date is essential to protecting data and systems against cybercrime and enhancing productivity while complying with regulations.
Alternatives to Google Chrome
If you still prefer Windows 7 and 8.1 and would not want to upgrade, here are some alternative browsers to Google Chrome that you can try. However, they might also sunset their support for older Windows versions.
Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation in 2002. It offers an intuitive user interface, fast browsing speeds, support for various add-ons and extensions, and robust privacy features. This makes it a popular choice among users. Firefox focuses on providing an optimized web experience, ensuring that pages are loaded quickly while still delivering rich content.
Firefox has a robust feature set designed to deliver an enhanced browsing experience. Its built-in page inspector helps users identify and edit the HTML markup of any webpage they’re viewing. At the same time, its library of extensions and themes allows users to customize the look and feel of the browser and enhance its overall functionality. Firefox also includes additional security features:
- Tracking Protection: This limits third-party website tracking.
- Private Browsing with Tracking Protection enabled: Do Not Track requests sent to websites.
- Encryption standards: This uses TLS 1.2 for secure connections between clients and servers.
In addition to these secure browsing protections, Firefox also offers integration with other services:
- Pocket for saving articles offline or syncing data across devices
- Dropbox for cloud storage
- Evernote for taking notes directly from your browser window
These integrations allow users to take advantage of other services without leaving their browser window or switching between applications.
For those seeking an alternative to Google Chrome that’s secure and feature-rich, Firefox can be an ideal solution. It provides many of the same features found in Chrome while adding several new ones designed to enhance the browsing experience—all with a focus on privacy and security protection.
The next option on our list is Brave. Brave is a free and open-source chromium-based web browser developed by Brave Software. It focuses on providing a secure browsing experience emphasizing privacy and performance. Brave provides a highly optimized web browsing experience, loading pages quickly while delivering rich content.
Brave also has its own suite of features designed to enhance security and privacy. Its built-in ad-blocker helps users block malicious ads and protect them from being tracked or targeted by advertisers. It also includes a private window mode for browsing privately and support for blocking third-party cookies from websites.
Brave also offers integration with other services, such as its own cryptocurrency wallet, allowing users to store digital assets. It supports various payment methods, including bank cards, digital currencies, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Additionally, it has its own Brave Rewards system that allows users to earn crypto for viewing ads or contributing to sites they visit regularly.
In addition to these enhanced security features, Brave also provides several integrations designed to make the overall browsing experience more efficient:
- Syncing across devices: access your bookmarks and history across all your devices without needing any setup
- Voice search: use voice commands within the browser window
- YouTube enhancement: block autoplay videos and other distractions when visiting YouTube
- Secure password manager: store passwords safely in the browser itself
The Brave Browser is ideal for those seeking a secure alternative to Google Chrome, emphasizing privacy protection with additional features designed to enhance the overall user experience. With its feature set and focus on security protection, Brave offers an optimized browsing experience. It can help protect users from malicious actors or hackers while enhancing their productivity and compliance with regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA.
The next one on the list is Opera. It’s a chromium-based web browser that has been around since 1995. It offers an intuitive user interface that makes it simple to navigate and customize, as well as advanced features designed to enhance the overall browsing experience. Opera includes features such as a built-in ad blocker, support for private browsing, and integration with services like bookmarks and notes. Additionally, it has its own web-based wallet for storing digital tokens, allowing users to securely manage their crypto assets from within the browser.
Regarding security protection, Opera offers several robust features to protect users from malicious actors or hackers. Here are some of its key features:
- Encryption standards: This uses TLS 1.2 for secure connections between clients and servers
- Automatic malware scanning: It scans downloads for malware before they reach your computer
- Built-in VPN for anonymous browsing: This hides your IP address for anonymous browsing
- Control over data sharing: This allows users to control how their data is used and shared online
- Multi-level authentication: It requires multi-factor authentication for user accounts
Opera also provides several integrations designed to enhance productivity while you browse:
- Built-in messaging app: Message your team on the fly
- Workspaces: Group windows together based on tasks
- Sidebar notes: Take notes directly in the sidebar
- Personal news feed: Enjoy tailored news content based on your interests
- Screenshot capture tool: Quickly capture screenshots of any page or content you’re viewing
Opera is an excellent choice for those seeking an alternative to Google Chrome, emphasizing privacy protection and enhancing productivity. With its intuitive user interface, robust security measures, and convenient integrations, Opera can help make your online experience faster, more secure, and more productive than ever before.
Last but definitely not least is the Tor Browser. Tor is a free, open-source web browser developed by the Tor Project. It’s based on Firefox and provides additional privacy protection features to protect users from online surveillance or tracking. The Tor browser has been protecting the identity of countless people since its inception in 2002. The browser utilizes a network of volunteer-run servers to route traffic through multiple ‘hops’ to obscure the user’s origin and location. This routing makes it difficult for malicious actors or hackers to track users’ browsing activity or identify their IP addresses.
In addition to enhanced privacy protection, Tor offers users several other benefits.
- Bypass geo-restrictions: It enables access to websites that platforms may otherwise block due to geographic restrictions.
- Browse anonymously: It also allows users to surf the web anonymously. This prevents websites from collecting data about them, such as their IP address or other identifying information.
- Advanced encryption: The browser has built-in support for encryption protocols like HTTPS and TLS 1.2, which helps protect sensitive data from being intercepted in transit.
Furthermore, Tor provides numerous integrations designed to make the overall browsing experience more convenient and secure.
- NoScript: Prevent malicious scripts from running on websites
- Vidalia: Manage multiple connections within the browser
- HTTPS Everywhere: Enable HTTPS on all sites you visit
- Flashblock: Block flash content on sites without your permission
Overall, Tor is ideal for those seeking an alternative web browser. It emphasizes enhanced privacy protection with additional features designed to make their online experience more secure and convenient. With its robust security measures, convenient integrations, and ability to bypass geographic restrictions, Tor is well worth considering when looking for an alternative to popular browsers.
The bottom line on alternative browsers
Overall, there are many web browsers and operating systems to choose from, each with its own set of features and benefits. While Google Chrome is the most popular browser, Opera and Tor offer unique alternatives emphasizing enhanced privacy protection or productivity enhancement. Whether you’re looking for an alternative to Chrome that offers additional security measures or has convenient integrations designed to make your online experience more efficient, either option is worth considering.
Regardless of your route, it’s crucial to maintain good Internet practices to protect your company or yourself. So be sure to take the necessary steps to protect your identity and online data, no matter which browser or operating system you choose.