Microsoft might have stopped providing security updates for Windows 7 almost two years ago, but enough people are still using the legacy Windows operating system for Google to keep patching Chrome, for now at least.
As spotted by Ghacks, Google has updated an old blogpost from November 2020 to clarify that it will now support Chrome on Windows 7 “through January 15, 2023 for critical security and stability updates”.
In January 2020, just days ahead of Microsoft calling end of life (EoL) on Windows 7, Google said Chrome would continue supporting the OS until at least July 15, 2021 or around 18 months after Microsoft stopped supporting it.
Google offered extended Chrome support for Windows 7 to assist organizations that were still migrating from it to Windows 10.
Chrome, of course, is the dominant browser on Windows 7, Windows 10 and likely will remain so for Windows 11. Ahead of Windows 7’s end of support, Microsoft released Edge, a browser based on Google’s open-source Chromium project.
Google’s new one-year extension means it has extended Chrome support for Windows 7 for two years since its original end date. The new date is aligned with Microsoft’s plans for enterprise customers that still pay for Windows 7 security updates.
Back in November 2020, Google justified its decision to extend Chrome support for Windows 7 because 21% of organizations using Chrome were still migrating to Windows 10.
Google hasn’t provided updated statistics on the share of Chrome users still on Windows 7, but the additional year suggests a significant proportion of systems still use Windows 7.
Some of those systems would be in enterprises that pay Microsoft for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU). Microsoft in 2018 said it would provide Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for three years from EoL, meaning through to January 2023.
Windows 7 is expensive to maintain today, but earlier this month Microsoft clarified it would not extend support further.
“For Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 7 Professional for Embedded Systems, the Extended Security Update (ESU) Program will be entering its third and final year of extended support beginning on February 8, 2022 and ending on January 10, 2023,” Microsoft said in an update.
According to Statcounter, Windows 7 still accounts for 6.9% of desktops in the US and 13.5% of desktops worldwide.