I recently received a notification that my Acer Chromebook C720 is no longer receiving updates because Google no longer supports Chromebooks older than six years. I use mine to surf the Internet, send e-mails, and create documents that I send as e-mail attachments. The computer still works as well as it did when I first started buying, and I hesitate to exchange it for a new one.
I understand that I can install a new OS myself, but I really can not handle it. The reason I ever bought a Chromebook was its ease of use, simplicity and reliability. What are the risks if I keep using it without receiving any updates? Bill
The risk is unpredictable, as it depends in part on what you use your Chromebook and how careful you are. Today most attacks require a kind of user help. Among other things, this can mean installing fake Android apps with hidden features, installing incorrect Chrome extensions, visiting malicious websites, encountering phishing attacks or man-in-the-middle attacks, and failing to install important security updates ,
] You'll inevitably miss important security updates for the Chrome browser. However, we can not know in advance what kind of gaps will be in Chrome, or whether they could be exploited in unpatched Chromebooks, even though the security record on Chrome OS is indeed very good.
We also do not know how long it will take This happens before your legacy Chrome version can cope with new web technologies or when websites decline to work.
Google has other potential issues for schools and businesses that use Chromebooks. "Business and education customers using devices with AUE date [Auto Update Expiration] expired should not expect to be able to manage their devices as expected with the Google Admin console or take advantage of the new administrative features," they said.
Either way, quite simply Surfing the Internet may not be much riskier than usual, and there are ways to make it safer. If you're using your computer for financial transactions that do not use two-factor authentication, or if your email address is filled with private medical and financial information, passwords, etc., then I need to think about it. The risk could be low, but the use would be higher.
A new Chromebook is cheaper than getting £ 50,000 deducted from your bank account.
Google launched Chromebooks in 2011, but the early models were pretty awful, few people bought them, and their relatively short lifespan (about four years) did not matter much. Chromebooks have changed dramatically since then, giving them a more Windows-friendly look, touchscreen support, and access to Google Play with the ability to run Android apps. I assume this means that Google will have to test all old Chromebooks and Chromeboxes – probably about 150 devices – to make sure they're running new versions of Chrome OS. It would be time-consuming, expensive, and ultimately impossible for Google to support all Chrome OS devices forever.
In 2016, Google introduced an End Of Life (EOL) policy that provides support for five years. About a year later, the name changed to a name that did not require obsolescence – Auto Update Expiration (AUE) – and extended support for new Chromebooks to 6.5 years.
This is a reasonable lifespan compared to Windows or Mac OS laptops. Some people run their laptops longer, but usually they pay more in wasted time than they would cost to buy a new machine. (Assuming they have the money.)
The key point is that the AUE period starts when the manufacturer launches a Chromebook platform, not when you buy them. You can buy a brand new Chromebook at a discounted price, but if it's based on a three-year-old platform, it will only be supported for three and a half years, not six and a half years.
Theoretically, Chromebook makers could ship the same platform for five or more years. Your outdated specifications should warn potential buyers, but typical Chromebook users are unlikely to follow industry hardware trends. Therefore, every buyer on the AUE side of Google should search for end-of-support data.
In fact, the AUE date should be clearly visible in Chromebook ads. If I spent £ 1,699.99 for a Google Pixelbook or £ 1,738 for a Google Pixel Slate, I would certainly like to know that, according to Google's AUE page, support was discontinued in June 2024.
C720 Options  Effortless updates are one of the selling points of Chromebooks. "src =" https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/bdb0d81ba3c091bddd15ca2487c7e1fb621ce4d1/0_91_3000_1800/master/3000.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=5d871a0e1fd4513efd4d9eedb1336a42 "/>
However, your Acer Chromebook C720 probably has a 1.4GHz dual-core Celeron 2955U laptop processor. This is more of a core design than a cheap atom-based or ARM chip. It's probably not far behind a Celeron N4000, though it's hotter and consumes about twice as much power. You could use it again to run Neverware's CloudReady, a Linux like GalliumOS, or possibly even Microsoft Windows. I know you do not want to do that, but other users.
CloudReady works much like a Chromebook, but is really meant to save old Windows and Mac laptops. The Neverware compatibility list does not contain any Chromebooks I can see. You can, however, get it to work by opening the case, removing the "read-only" screw on the Chromebook, and flashing the firmware.
Brian, an Ask Jack reader, claimed to convert his unsupported Acer C710 Chromebook to the UEFI with the firmware utility script from MrChromebox. After booting from a USB flash drive, he said, "I have Cloudware installed and there seems to be no difference to the Chrome OS. Google has transferred all my bookmarks and automatically installed apps and extensions using the same account information.
The C720 is on the list of supported Chromebooks, but readers should check it first.
Warning: This is possible "brick" your Chromebook. You may be able to save it, but you do so at your own risk.
Chromebooks were originally designed to do everything online. Therefore, you should have very little personal information on your device. The C720 has a full-size SD card slot, so you should already be backing up your important files to this easily removable form of storage. If you only plug in the card when you need it, you should have very little to lose.
You can minimize the amount of information stored on your Chromebook by using privacy settings and disabling features such as saving web passwords and automatic storage. Fill out web forms. You can even browse in guest mode, ie start each time as a new user. The downside is that you have to log in to every website every time and your settings will not be saved.
Chrome OS has more than 50 security holes. However, Google has a long-term offer of $ 150,000 (£ 120,000) for anyone who can "compromise a Chromebook or a Chromebox with guest-persistent device persistence (ie guest-to-guest persistence, powered by a web page)." No one has collected it, so the approach is relatively safe.
If you find malware in any way, you can use the powerwash feature at the bottom of Advanced Settings … to restore your Chromebook to factory defaults. Page. Of course, all of your files and settings will be removed, so you may not want to do this often, but it's nice to have the option.
Do you have a question? E-mail to Ask.Jack@theguardian.com
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