Google pulls Chrome Browser support for Windows XP in April

For the fewer and fewer who are still running Windows XP, Google will drop support for the Chrome browser for Windows XP in April [and don’t be surprised when Vista retires that Google will stop support on the same day as Microsoft].

Those who are using a recent version of the Chrome browser will have noticed by now the bar at the top of the browser window when the Chrome browser is opened.

Right now, the next alternative is Firefox. For now, Mozilla is still supporting Firefox and Windows XP.

This brings me to something which you may already know: The support by companies that support Windows XP is dwindling.


Microsoft denies Update 2 on Tuesday for Windows 8.1 and some rumors

This is starting to remind me of the days when the iPhone was “king”. You would hear all kinds of rumors about the next iPhone or maybe the next iOS. [I think somewhere in my blog I list rumors of what was to be in an iPhone a couple of years back].

Now, it seems Microsoft is taking a cue from Apple as rumors continue to fly about Windows 8.1 updates. Strange, since Windows 8.1 still isn’t that popular.

Well, a Microsoft official has stated there will be no Update 2 for Windows 8.1. He doesn’t know where all this started from. Maybe that’s why the first update was called Update and not Update 1. I do find it odd that only days before Patch Tuesday did the official deny the rumors.

OK. So instead of the dead/rumored Update 2, expect the same monthly updates that have been coming out since Windows 8 was released.

In addition, more rumors that Office 2015 will be released next year. This is probably more likely since whenever a computer OS release comes out, an Office release comes out about the same time or shortly after.

The most interesting rumor – but this has been flying around for a while – is that Microsoft may give out Windows 9 free of charge to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users.

OK. I can see this for Windows XP users but if you take a look at some of the older machines, few of them have the resources [i.e. meet or barely meet the minimum requirements for Windows 9 – assuming similar to Windows 8]. Even if they did meet the minimum requirements, they will be sluggish.

If Windows 9 requirements don’t change much from Windows 8, then technically all Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems will be able to upgrade – although those cheap models would still be an issue.

Finally the rumored Start menu coming back [or a variation of] still persists. Who knows.

Another Microsoft blunder

Here’s what I would call a bit of a blunder by Microsoft. Just 3 months after the end of support of Windows XP, Microsoft decided to update the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit [EMET] to version 5.

Why am I mentioning this?

Well, EMET is an application that can help secure Windows XP. A reminder that about 25% of the computer population is still using Windows XP.

I sent off a message to Tim Rains, Director of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft. He was the one that announced it in the TechNet blogs. Never received a reply.

[If you are a Windows XP user, maybe leave him a comment as well.]

Part of the reason why I complained is that Microsoft went against their own rules when they released a security update for Internet Explorer in Windows XP after the support for Windows XP died.

If they can release a security update why not release this to include Windows XP?

[Note: It is Microsoft’s policy not to release any updates for a product that is out of support – unless you have a contract with Microsoft to extend the support which costs in excess of $100,000.]

I am not saying that EMET should be continued to be supported on Windows XP, but at least this last update.

Here is my original blog on EMET 4.1.


The Windows XP Catch-22

Here’s a bit of an odd one.

I was at someone’s house recently. Seems she got notified that Yahoo Mail wouldn’t support Internet Explorer 8 anymore. [I’m guessing they haven’t supported Internet Explorer 7 and before for a while.]

So, that would be normal since Windows XP is not supported by Microsoft but Internet Explorer 8 is also still used on Windows Server 2003 as well could be used on Windows Vista,  Windows Server 2008 and even Windows 7 [RTM]. [Now I didn’t see it say specifically Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP – just Internet Explorer 8.]

The person was already using Safari [ya, I know] on her iPad. So, install it for Windows XP as she would be a bit familiar with it. I could barely find any reference on the Apple web site for it [to install] and ended up going to grab a copy from a shareware site.

Installed and then went to Yahoo Mail. Same message. Unsupported browser. As this is the latest I could find for Windows XP [version 5.1], I guess Apple gave up on Safari for Windows.

So, down to two major browsers. Firefox and Google’s Chrome. I asked, she had no opinion. I suggested Firefox. Chrome is too buggy in my opinion.

So if you are still running Windows XP, you may see issues like this appear as well.

A reminder that while support for Windows XP has died, some software will still be supported at least until July 2015 – but will vary by the developer.  After July 2015, it will get even harder to get updates or things to work.

PS – Google’s Gmail had dropped Internet Explorer 8 long ago. If they keep their support policy of supporting the current [IE11] and previous [IE10] version, then Internet explorer 9 isn’t supported either. Of course their major version numbering changes within a couple of months.

Recent Internet Explorer started a bit of a controversy

There was a bit of controversy when Microsoft decided to release an update for Internet Explorer [MS14-021] running on Windows XP systems even though Microsoft had announced long ago that the last updates for Windows XP would be released in April. This update came on May 1st.

Problem is that the vulnerability was so huge that the US Department of Homeland Security announced that people should stop using Internet Explorer – not just for Windows XP but all versions – until Microsoft releases an update to correct a problem.

So Microsoft decided that if an update was going out, it was better off to release for Windows XP as well.

Some argue that if Microsoft released this update some people will expect that Microsoft will release further updates to Windows XP. [And of course a minority who said that Microsoft has lied to them.]

Others gave kudos to Microsoft for releasing the update. Better to protect people especially if somewhere around a quarter of computer users are still using Windows XP.

Meanwhile, as Windows XP isn’t supported, expect other web browsers to take advantage of the situation.

[Unfortunately for Microsoft they still need to support Internet Explorer 6 as it is still supported as part of Windows Server 2003 support for about another year.]

A partial solution to some future Windows XP problems

There is a global fix for most issues that could affect Windows XP users in the future. It is called the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit [EMET]. This fix can also strengthen newer versions of Windows as well.

In order to run the toolkit, you need to first install something called “Microsoft .net Framework 4.0 Extended”. The easiest way to verify if this is installed is to check “And or Remove Programs” in the Control Panel.

To do so, go to the Control Panel and click on Add or Remove Programs. Let the list of installed applications load [take a minute or two] and search for “Microsoft .net Framework 4.0 Extended”.

Note: “Microsoft .net Framework 4.0 Client Profile” is not enough. Also “Microsoft .net Framework 3.5” [or others] aren’t the same.

If you don’t have the “Extended” version, click on this link and click on the Download button.

Note: If Microsoft asks to install any other downloads, say No thanks.

When ask, run the application. Approve the license agreement. Follow the remaining directions. It will download what is needed from the Internet and then install.

To install EMET, click on this link and click on the Download button. You only need the “setup” file.

Note: If Microsoft asks to install any other downloads, say No thanks.

When ask, run the application. Approve the license agreement. Follow the remaining directions.

After the installation is completed the EMET Configuration Wizard will run. Click the circle [known as a “radio” button] next to “Use Recommended Settings”. Click on Finish to exit the screen.

You should see the “dashboard”. No need to play with anything. The computer has been secured. Click on the X at the upper right corner of the window. An icon will stay in the tray.

A reminder that this isn’t guaranteed to protect your computer [nothing is perfect] and does not replace your anti-virus or anti-malware software.

Note:  You will have a bunch of updates related to Microsoft .net Framework 4.0 to install after.

Note: This will not fix all of Windows XP’s future problems. It will however help in fight some security issues by strengthen Windows XP’s security.