How to keep dated software up and running

How to keep dated software up and running

Enterprises, SMBs, government agencies and other organizations wield a variety of applications to perform even the most basic of functions on any given day. From a user experience perspective, this isn’t a bad thing, especially since user interfaces are purposefully designed with fluid multi-tasking in mind. But from an enterprise IT perspective, maintaining such as diversity of software that performs specialized tasks creates huge workloads, particularly in regard to keeping applications up to date.

In some cases, software updates are non-essential, or might simply involve a minor or insignificant new feature. However, patches for popularly used applications such as Web browsers may include updates in response to newly uncovered security exploits. Thus, well-maintained enterprise applications often have a higher stake than meets the eye. To a large extent, this problem is easily solved by automated software update capabilities.

However, when running software on a dated operating system, this updating process is a little more complicated, mainly because it no longer exists. Eventually, OS developers stop supporting their older platforms. In response, third-party application developers will typically follow suit. This is where reboot to restore software can come in handy.

Google Chrome to stop supporting dated Windows, Mac OSs

This is exactly what Google has announced it will be doing with its immensely popular Chrome Web browser. As of April 2016, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 will no longer be supported by Google Chrome. Google explained in a blog post that Microsoft and Apple are no longer supporting their respective OSs, and as such the platforms are missing out on critical security updates.

While Chrome will still be operational on these older OSs, updated versions and security patches will no longer be provided. This means anyone running Chrome on the specified OSs will be doing so with a high risk of being infected with viruses and malware, or having certain sensitive online information compromised.

What this means for systems administrators

At first glance, Google’s announcement seems like bad news for systems administrators who are currently running Windows XP in an office setting and have made Chrome the browser of choice. That said, if they are still running XP on their machines in 2015, this probably isn’t their first rodeo: Microsoft officially stopped supporting XP in 2014.

When Microsoft first stopped supporting XP, loyalists to the OS began looking for ways to keep their beloved platform through a variety of duct-tape and chicken-wire tactics. One tech writer went as far as devising a registry hack in an attempt to give users the ability to continue accessing updates. Of course, the hack is not necessarily the most reliable solution, especially for a system administrator responsible for managing multiple machines in an office or computer lab environment.

A simpler, more reliable solution

That said, there are authentic enterprise solutions for IT staff that wish to continue running Windows XP as well as Chrome that may no longer support the OS. An administrator may wish to avoid upgrading for any number of reasons. Perhaps the organization simply can’t afford the migration at a certain time, in terms of time or monetary costs. Maybe it’s just a matter of user preference.

Whatever the reason, reboot to restore software such as Faronics Deep Freeze can help IT staff keep machines safe, even as they run dated OSes such as Windows XP. In the event of an infection, a simple system restore can be achieved by rebooting the compromised machine, giving IT staff and users a clean slate upon restore. Likewise, application whitelisting software makes it easy for administrators to prevent applications that are known to pose threats to the OS.

Ultimately this means that system administrators who are beholden to XP and Chrome can hold on a little bit longer, or at least until an opportune moment for upgrading arises.

About The Author

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.

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