back to article Supermium drags Google Chrome back in time to Windows XP, Vista, and 7

Supermium is a browser based on the Google Chrome 121 codebase that works fine on Windows 7 and even, for the truly desperate, for Vista and XP. The third-party adaptation of Chrome works on versions of Windows that the official product no longer supports. It installs and runs on Windows 7, which stopped getting updates for …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    I can see very good reasons to keep XP and similar going for specialised hardware or software that has no (affordable) replacements, but why in $DIETY name would you be browsing the web from that?

    If not tied to hardware then run in a VM and use the supported host for your email/browsing! If tied to hardware get a 2nd PC to browse!

    1. SVD_NL Silver badge

      My thoughts exactly...

      Even using SMB to transfer files between XP and windows 10/11 (like you'd need to do on the x-ray machine mentioned in the article) is a pain in the ass these days, requiring you to open up security vulnerabilities you don't want on any internet-connected network.

      This sort of stuff needs to exist in their own little time capsule network, and any access has to be heavily firewalled or offline.

      And software virtualized/sandboxed. Although i'd say that any business relying on 10-25 year old software, and is unable to affort another long-time investment for a newer version, should probably take a good look at how healthy their business actually is... (no comments on personal use there).

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        We have that problem at work. We have a couple of Windows 7 machines. Thankfully, they do not need internet access, so they have been physically disconnected. The offices the PCs are in do not need any data access, so we have just disconnected the network sockets at the patch panel end.

        The PCs themselves are connected to (and controlling) large, expensive (> £100k to replace) scanning machines This large machinery is controlled by software that requires Windows 7. The manufacturer does have a Windows 10 compatible version we can download, but this does not support the model of the machines we have, so we'd need to replace them. Apart from the out of date software, the machines are still fine.

        The fact the PCs are connected to these large scanners does a good job of discouraging people from moving them to a room with an active network port. That, and the fact that that department has a good supply of PCs that are up to date, and are allowed on the internet, so if any staff need internet access, there is probably a machine free.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          All my computers at home have Internet access though a firewall that filters and blocks virtually everything bad. So Supermium is not just a BONUS, it's a browser designed to help users, not new PC suppliers.

          1. SVD_NL Silver badge

            You have way too much trust in your firewall... (and i can confidently say that without even knowing what you're using)

            If you're browsing the web, you're using https. it's all encrypted traffic over 443. Unless you know the IP of every bad actor on the internet, you're simply not safe if you're just trusting a firewall.

            Antivirus helps, but you'd need one that still updates definitions and/or the client itself for XP systems.

            You're also vulnerable to a lot of vulnerabilities due to outdated hardware. You're lacking TPM, memory safeguards, boot record integrity checks, and encryption of basically anything on your PC. And that's just what i can think up in under 10 seconds.

            If you're not happy with Windows and are willing to sacrifice a little bit of usability and interoperability for a different OS and more open source options, just use a Linux distro ffs.

          2. theregisteruser2

            At home i'm have a block pihole. :D

          3. theregisteruser2
            Happy

            pihole

            At home i'm have a block pihole.

          4. theregisteruser2

            At home i'm have a block pihole.

          5. Version 1.0 Silver badge
            IT Angle

            Do the "upvote" and "downvote" counts indicate the ratio of IT readers on El Reg vs Hacker readers?

            There's no proof so I guess this is just a Joke?

        2. 43300 Silver badge

          Do you have a stock of old W7-compatible machines for if / when the current ones break?

    2. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

      it's "Deity"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Hey, no dyslexia-shaming!

      2. kend1
        Pint

        a rose by any other name ... is not a pink wine

        $Deity your god of choice, $Diety god of weightloss, $Dodgy demigod

    3. Steve Foster

      A lot of kit provides management capability over HTTP(S). Being able to run a reasonably current browser to access that is preferable to using IE (hell, poking your own eyes out with a blunt pencil is preferable to using IE).

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        But should you be managing newer kit from an old, say W7, machine that exists now for some legacy reason?

        That is kind of my original point: yes keep older OS for specific software/hardware reasons, but for goodness sake divest any external and non-essential tasks off it so you are really only doing what you absolutely have to there, and all the rest is done on newer supported machines.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      May be valid reasons

      Some people struggle to use 8 and newer due to the shocking UI.

      7 is the last proper version of Windows, UNLESS there is some way to drop the entire UI on top of 10 or 11, wome people are stuck.

      Already using larger fonts.

      Hereditory eye diseases are not fun.

    5. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      I have XP SP3 installed on a much more modern Dell machine with a Xeon 3.something GHz 4 core CPU and 16BiB of RAM simply so I can use a DDS3 tape drive to read DDS1/2/3 tapes at work.

      A Windows 2022 server with backupexec 22 installed was not able to do it as the windows driver for DDS drives seems to not support anything below DAT72 drives, which is really annoying as there is no real reason why it shouldnt work as they are just SCSI tape drives at the end of the day and the generic driver supplied by microsoft is called dat4mm.

      So XP was chosen as it is the latest version of Windows that still has a fully functional NTBackup which along with backupexec can read these tapes (Backupexec uses NTBackup format). The main WIn 2022 server handles LTO and tapes the DAT72 dive can read.

      This Dell has 1 PCI slot but is mostly PCIe. NO big deal for XP, it was perfectly happy as long as I set the UEFI to enable CSM and I had to use SP3 as an SP2 install disc would blue screen after installation. SP3 is lightning fast on it and with a driver from Nvidia for the Quadro card I put in I get a decent resolution for the 22" Dell display port monitor.

      Several devices were obviously not recognised, HD Audio being one, but I dont need that. USB3 support too, but the motherboard has USB 2 ports as well so thats how I transfer the recovered data off.

  2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    a plan

    If there was only a way of installing security/driver updates in Win 7 (or even win10 in the future) so many of us would be happy ...

    If MS charged $15pa it would make them as much money as their average os lifetime ($100 over 7years perhaps), would be ongoing income and they wouldn't have to employ "coders" to produce awful new crapware ...

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: a plan

      I suspect that the quality of coders currently employed at MS is so low that any new security/driver updates they could write for ANY earlier version of Windows would be equally as crap as the current Win11 stack.

    2. SVD_NL Silver badge

      Re: a plan

      They actually already do this, only for 3 years though. ( windows 7 and windows 10)

      For windows 7 it started at 70$, and doubled every year (the previous years were not included, so for 3 years the cost was 70+140+280=$490, source)

      The increasing price likely has to do with the increasing amount of work and the shrinking customer base each year.

      The current lifecycle of windows is a new OS every 3 years, and 5+3 years of support. I think that's very reasonable.

      Technology progresses, they need to launch new products, and it makes no financial sense to keep supporting older OSes.

      They have also been doing a lot better in terms of backwards compatibility. I don't think i've ever had issues running windows 7 applications on windows 10/11. XP often works as well due to better emulation, most issues i have are related to drivers or old versions of protocols that have been disabled or removed due to security concerns.

      Drivers are not really Windows' responsibility to begin with, they are also harder to make work with generic emulation. This is also why windows is going to Apple route of going with generic drivers that work for every device, that way they can ensure backwards compatibility themselves at the cost of reduced functionality in some cases.

      Besides, they don't really care about the income of Windows licenses. I wouldn't be surprised if they made a loss on windows as a standalone product.

      They care about office 365 subscriptions, advertisements, etc.

      They don't employ anyone to make software for legacy OSes, someone just decided to do it themselves. MS doesn't care about XP anymore in the slightest, they don't want anyone to use it anymore. It's giving them headaches because they have to spend 10+ years with optional unsafe legacy protocols in their modern OS because some stubborn people refuse to upgrade. (see SMB1.0, only completely removed from windows quite recently, after a long time of warnings and pleas to please stop using it)

      1. Tubz Silver badge

        Re: a plan

        New OS every 3 years, and 5+3 years of support

        I totally agree, except when Microsoft in collusion with the hardware manufactures (and this should have been investigated by the EU etc) deliberately decide to end of life perfectly good hardware, when there is no excuse (TPM2 maybe justified but not essential) except for profit !

      2. 43300 Silver badge

        Re: a plan

        "I wouldn't be surprised if they made a loss on windows as a standalone product."

        They won't! Big OEMs won't pay much per license, but times that by the sheer number of PCs sold and it's going to be a significant amout of income. Also, most of the code base is the same as for the server versions, and the licenses for them cost oa fortune, whether bought as one-off purchases or as part of Azure subscriptions.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: a plan

        >"I wouldn't be surprised if they made a loss on windows as a standalone product."

        Doubt it, remember the only part of the traditional Windows sales model that has changed is the availability of new editions to existing users, which always was a small market which incurred relatively high distribution costs.

        So I expect Windows still pays for itself, just that the real money is on all the stuff they can do over Windows…

  3. terry 1

    I was actually on site yesterday as a vinyl cutters PC died. It was running XP. It was the 2nd time in around 5 years I had to repair it, the last time I dragged it from W95. Key issue is that it uses a sentinel dongle and the modern version is super expensive as they only do small inhouse jobs with it.

    Fortunately they are a hording company and found a twin PC, swapped the IDE drive over, copied the files and off they went. I have pointed out that it's just a matter of time, however I think I have old IDE drives kicking around.

    It was like an old friend

    1. PM.

      Ah

      An elegant weapon for more civilized times ...

    2. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Couldn't you move it to a VM on a new machine? Presumably the dongle is either USB or serial. If the dongle has issues being passed through to the VM then plug in a PCI-e USB or Serial card and pass the whole PCI-e card through to the VM.

      1. Roopee Silver badge

        PITA

        I bet the dongle is parallel, like all the ones I’ve come across, not serial or USB. Using them with a VM is a pain, to put it mildly.

      2. BenDwire Silver badge
        Pint

        The original Sentinal dongles I had were parallel port, but as you say that should be easy enough to pass through to a VM.

        All this talk of dongles reminded me of my first 'Professional' PCB design package, that came with a parallel port dongle. This was in the PC XT days (4.7MHz 8086 ! *) but did what we needed it to do, and was still faster than laying out designs by hand using black tape on an A0 sheet.

        Of course I wanted to work at home from time to time (the coffee was way better) but found the need to take the dongle home rather irritating. The obvious solution was to pull the dongle apart and reverse engineer it, and thankfully I had this new program that could help me do just that. Life being much simpler in the mid 1980's, the dongle was just a couple of TTL shift registers attached to the parallel port lines, so it was a trivial exercise, and I was happy. However, the sales rep who brought us regular updates on 51/4" floppies was less than impressed when he saw a familiar looking board on the screen - my draughtsman was using that file as a simple demo to test out the new features of the update ...

        Ah, such simple days.

        * I upgraded the PC hardware with an NEC V20 processor, which ran at 8MHz, almost doubling the performance! Yes kids, that's Mhz.

        1. PRR Silver badge

          > in the PC XT days (4.7MHz 8086 ! *) ..... ..... * I upgraded the PC hardware with an NEC V20 processor, which ran at 8MHz...

          The IBM PC XT used the 8088. This, like the 8086, was 16-bit inside, but the 8088 was 8 bit on the outside. Any real data had to be eaten in two bytes. 8-bit I/O and RAM was far more affordable that year.

          The V20 in an IBM XT still clocked 4.77MHz. (The V20 was released in 8 and 10 speed but on the PC-XT mobo it only ran the 4.77MHz.) The V20 had twice as many transistors and a cleverer instruction processor so did a lot more work per second than a 8088. My dim recoolection on half-hour simulation runs is that a V20 would do the job in 70% of the time.

          In this day of 4- 8- and 10-core processors, it is hard to remember the pure joy of a very marginal increase.

          V20 also had a 8080 mode, handy to run CP/M. In fact I think Ward Christensen's pioneering CP/M BBS got ill and was rebuilt on a V20.

          V30 was the same deal for 8086 machines. Less of a boost cuz the 8086 already had 16-bit I/O.

    3. Roopee Silver badge
      Happy

      I have a brand new 500GB IDE drive sitting in a cupboard - just waiting for the price to peak :)

      1. DJO Silver badge

        After having them sit in a cupboard for xx years, last week along with other ancient crap I finally threw away a stack of 4.3GB SCSI drives - I dread think what the purchase costs were for what I dumped that weekend.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          [Author here]

          > last week along with other ancient crap I finally threw away a stack of 4.3GB SCSI drives

          Bad, naughty, mustn't.

          Never *EVER* throw away working kit.

          Stick it on eBay, or FB Marketplace, or Freecycle or Freegle, or just drop a box off at ComputerAid or Computers4Africa or something like that.

          Someone somewhere can use it.

          It's not about money: it's about reuse, which should *always* take precedence over recycling.

          1. DJO Silver badge

            If they were 100GB+ then yes but these were just 4.3GB around 20 years old that had not been spun up for 10 years.

            To be used someone would need a working ultra wide SCSI card that fits a current motherboard which if new would cost a fortune, if old would probably need some capacitors replacing.

            Then what would you have? If they used 5 drives then about 21GB and an annual power consumption that would be greater than just buying a USB stick of higher capacity. Unless the starts can be staggered it'd need a really beefy PSU to cope with 5 drives starting up together, more unnecessary expense just to use drives that are long past their use by date.

            OK there might be one person out there with some archaic kit that just has to have a ultra wide SCSI 4.3GB disc but really I doubt it.

            These have no viable use that can't achieved easier and cheaper with less old surplus kit. Also after sitting unspun for 10 years it's probable that some if not all wouldn't work and I was not going to waste my time trying to get an ancient SCSI card to work just to test drives prior to disposal.

    4. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Even if not, there are plenty of cheap options for using either SSDs or Compact Flash cards in place of IDE drives.

    5. terry 1
      Happy

      Parallel port dongle. I left the site running disktovhd and plan to test out the VM and usb PP adapters, but I have a feeling that I did something similar many years ago and was down to HASP. that couldn't pass the key through. I will also introduce a sata drive and clone the IDE to it. As it's a gigabyte mobo so fairly robust. points of failure will be the drive and PSU, both I can deal with.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        As it's a gigabyte mobo

        Just now replacing two capacitors on a Gigabyte P4 motherboard. (WinXP) Turned off for probably 5 years, but the capacitors must have been on the way out when the PC was shelved.

        I don't actually need that MB, but it seems like a fun thing to do.

        I'm running applications that require direct hardware access: written for 3:11, they transferred to Win95 because Win95 virtualized the 8086 I/O machine langue, then transferred to XP using an unsigned driver for I/O bus access. Because of the cost of driver signing, the generic port drivers never made it to Win7, so were still using XP.

        1. Citizen99

          About 50 years ago I bought what would then have been a ~20 year old table-top radiogram at a 'car boot(trunk)' sale. I laid in a set of spare valves (vacuum tubes) whilst still available.

          It still works with the originals. Also with the original electrolytic capacitors, a pleasant surprise.

          (Devuan with Trinity desktop; Windows 7 for Skype, here).

    6. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > I think I have old IDE drives kicking around.

      A CF card in a £3 adaptor will do the job. The CF card interface *is* EIDE.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        I tried using a CF card, and writing was unbelievably slow. OK for a data drive, not suitable for an OS drive.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Interesting! Write speeds are much slower but I would have thought nonetheless quicker than PATA spinning rust.

  4. Joe Drunk
    Windows

    Legacy OSes are for experts

    This is excellent news as the other XP browser offerings were falling behind. I have been test driving this for about a month and so far is compatible with all websites that work with Chromium 121. Bonus - you can install extensions from Chrome web store without relying on third party repos since Google has blocked older Chromium versions from downloading extensions.

    I run an internet-connected XP SP3 PC, a few Windows 7 PCs. Never had any problems with ransomware, malware etc. I image them regularly. I don't use any security/AV utilities because I find them to be resource hogs. My brain is my security shield. I don't use social media and block all ads so there's 2 attack vectors eliminated so that just leaves email. Gasp! There's a security issue with my Paypal/bank account! Click here to very your account! Seriously scammers? You used to be more creative with Prince Motumbo of Nigeria offering me 1 million dollars if I help move some money out of his country. I realize your email scams are just carpet bombing campaigns targeting the low hanging fruit but you're getting lazy.

    I did get a virus once - on purpose. I switched from Acronis to Macrium on my XP PC and wanted to test its restore capability. I imaged with both Acronis and Macrium then did a search for keygen and got lots of results from dodgy websites. Most I downloaded did nothing, probably because they were outdated but one installed one of those fake AV programs. Numerous pop-ups with critical error messages that dozens of trojans, keyloggers etc. were found on my computer which slowed to a crawl. Click on the 'remove virus' button naturally opened a website where I would enter my credit card number to unlock the 'pro' features. I giggled, powered off, booted off rescue media and restored with Macrium. My PC went back in time to the moment I imaged, like nothing happened.

    When it comes to the internet a little cynicism goes a long way.

    1. theregisteruser2

      Re: Legacy OSes are for experts

      why your use windows XP?

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    > Once again, we urge you not to run Windows XP on any internet-connected computer in the third decade of the 21st century

    I would suggest not running *any* Windows computer directly connected to the internet. Make sure it is behind a strict proxy (the inbuilt firewall is too limited) to ensure the contained spyware (official and 3rd party) is contained and controlled.

    So ultimately, Windows XP or Windows 11 makes little difference. Especially since neither should be logged into via the admin account.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      In all cases also use a third-party security suite (currently supported versions do exist), plus the usual browser extensions: uBlock etc.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > *any* Windows computer directly connected to the internet

      Please note that I intentionally did not specify "directly".

  6. JoeCool Bronze badge

    Ahhhhh yes

    Now I just need to get the msi on a usb of 8GB or less.

  7. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Hmmmm. I tried to access the Supermium website, and I kept getting either "insecure website" or "blocked by ISP virus list".

    1. storner
      Devil

      Yeah - our Palo Alto firewall also deems it as "malware". Bet that is Google and Microsoft doing their thing to push us to upgrade :-)

  8. Grunchy Silver badge

    My car dates to 1987

    My Toshiba Satellite 2400 dates to 2002 or so, it has the dvd/cd-rw drive, got the 1.44 MB floppy drive, even a SD card slot and 3x USB poking out the back. 1600 MHz Pentium 4M including full SSE2 support. Also ethernet, a wi-fi radio, and even a fax modem. This baby has been upsized to a 150GB hard drive which can boot amongst Win3.11-95-98-XP-Lubuntu 16.04, and you just know it has a 2GB partition set aside strictly for Kolibri OS!

    Obviously I surf this thing on the internet, are you crazy? If you can hack my 150GB of obsolete operating systems, my hat is off to you!

    (That’s a ‘87 Dodge Diplomat with headers, cam, FITech throttle body, and noisy glass-packs.)

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