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  • Chromebook expiration dates

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Chromebook expiration dates

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    This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  rc primak 4 weeks ago.

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    • #1914793 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      Just read an article by Tim Anderson in The Reg that explains how to find your Chromebook’s “Auto Update Expiration” date. every Chromebook has an “Au
      [See the full post at: Chromebook expiration dates]

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    • #1914854 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      There’s a bit of an inaccuracy in that citation from The Reg:

      every Chromebook has an “Auto Update Expiration (AUE) Date” after which the operating system is unsupported by Google.

      That’s not quite right.  Per Google’s update terms, the AUE is the date after which that model or device is unsupported by Google.  The OS is ChromeOS, and it remains supported… just maybe not on any particular installation of ChromeOS.

      Woody comments on the above citation:

      That’s a concept every Windows user should understand – but the big difference is that Google sets the expiration date before the machine is put on sale. Microsoft arbitrarily decides when a specific chip goes out of support – and the decision is made way after initial release.

      The version of Windows a PC came with has a predefined end of support date, only in Windows it’s ten years instead of six and a half, though the timer starts when the OS is released, whereas Chrome’s starts when the model of Chromebook is released.  In either case, the end of support date is equally well understood in advance.  When Windows support ends, though, the user generally has the option of upgrading to a new version and continuing support, while the Chromebook user is supposed to throw the unit away and buy a new one, apparently.

      This business about MS making changes that break driver models within a given version of Windows is for the most part a recent “innovation,” but MS did make a pledge to keep supporting the version of 10 that could not take any more feature updates until the Windows 8.1 end of support date on the Clover Trail machines (which came with 8.1 from the start).  In each case, customers got the full 10 years of update support (from the start of the 8.1 life cycle) they were promised, whether they had stuck with the preinstalled Windows 8.1 or upgraded to 10.

      I have a Core 2 Duo laptop that I bought new more than 10 years ago.  It came with Vista x86 on it, but I quickly changed that to XP.  When XP finally went EOL, I upgraded it to 7 x86, then 7 x64, then 8.1 x64, and then I had 10 x64 on it long enough to test it out and to get the upgrade registered in case I ever wanted 10.  All of them worked fine, and that laptop would have six more years of time under 10 if I’d kept it, in addition to the nearly eleven years it already had.

      Microsoft did declare that new CPU architectures would not be permitted to run Windows other than 10, but that was only an imposition that affected end users attempting to perform downgrades on their own (or individuals buying/assembling PCs that came with no Windows).  OEMs were forbidden by Microsoft’s licensing terms to preinstall 8.1 (any version) or 7 Pro after October 31, 2016, and 7 (other than Pro) was cut off two years prior.  Kaby Lake and AMD Ryzen, the first CPU architectures that were not permitted on 7 or 8.1, were released in early 2017, by which time Windows 10 was the only Windows that OEMs would have installed on them.

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      • #1915013 Reply

        anonymous

        Agreed.  I don’t find the Google ChromeOS style of upgrade all that promising.  If you live outside of the US and buy your Chromebook when it’s on sale after Christmas, that 6.5 years might be closer to 4-4.5 years of support.  This is the same kind of upgrade process that a phone goes through, however phones are normally made available at reduced cost by your cell provider, and as long as you sign a new contract you can get it for free

        If you’re going for a cheap Chromebook (sub $500) this isn’t horrible as most of those laptops have a usable life of about 2-4 years in Windowsland.  But if you’re going for something more ultra-booky then it’s a bad limitation.  My current daily driver is 5 years old, with my workstations being 10 (first-gen i7 desktop and a Sandy i5 laptop).  I don’t have much of a reason to upgrade for 3-5 years as my systems can do anything currently required, even gaming outside 4k resolution.  Thanks to the slowdown in Moore’s law, my now decade-old systems are still better than most mid-line laptops.  That will apply to Chromebooks, barring any major advancements upcoming.

        It looks like there’s an XDA forum for Chromebooks, so this might be an option for the future, assuming the devices remain hackable.  However this does require either self-knowledge or a dev who is willing to support your older device for whatever reason.  Linux could be an option, but a short Google made it seem somewhat complex.

      • #1915813 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        There’s a bit of a fly in the ointment of my previous post.  I see what Woody was getting at. I was not aware of how Microsoft had changed their support cycle for Windows 10.  Some of my statements were based on the old schema, not what is currently in place.

        Windows 10 used to have a predefined end of support date that was 10 years out.  This was published on their site in the usual way when Windows 10 was first released.

        It’s different now.  They have modified that page to be more in line with their “last version ever” statement, with the end of support date for each build being the only one listed.  The 10 year support date (without regard to a specific build) is nowhere to be found for consumer editions.  The length of support for each given build has been a subject of much debate, but now that length of support is all that’s mentioned for consumer editions.

        I don’t know how this works with people who entered into the Windows 10 EULA contract with the old promise of ten years.

        What this change means is that, in contrast to how it used to be with Windows 10, there is no predefined support period for Windows 10 as a whole anymore (outside of LTSB/LTSC/whatever they want to call it now).  There’s no arbitrary calendar-based cut-off date as there has been with every other version of Windows (and with ChromeOS).  If you’ve got Windows 10, you will be nominally be eligible for the next feature upgrade, and the next, and the next, forever… but (and this is a big but) there’s no guarantee it’s actually going to work with your hardware.

        With older versions of Windows, you knew that if it came with Windows 7, that meant it was compatible with Windows 7, and would remain so for as long as Windows 7 was supported.  You may or may not have been able to upgrade to a new version of Windows, as the hardware requirements do change sometimes, but at least your old version would keep working for a known period of time.  Now each build of Windows 10 is truly its own version of Windows, and MS may change the next build in such a way that it may not be compatible with your hardware anymore.

        With the existing version of Windows 10 only lasting a year and a half, that could mean trouble much sooner than you would find with ChromeOS… but on the other hand, there’s no arbitrary planned-obsolescence cutoff date anymore either.  My Core 2 Duo laptop could be supported by Windows 10 for another 50 years as long as Windows 10 has not changed in some way that renders it incompatible with my system.  It could also be that MS requires some feature that my old laptop lacks in the very next version.

        I have problems with both the Windows 10 and the ChromeOS support schemes.  I’d like to know at the time of purchase that I get a certain number of years of support.  With ChromeOS, you’d have to look up the model of the Chromebook to find out how much support you get, and if your model has been offered for several years, it may be closer than you think to its end of supported life the day you bring it home.  Arbitrary, calendar-based end of support periods rub me the wrong way.  If my hardware no longer cuts it, I will be annoyed that MS/Chrome/whomever decided to require some thing my hardware can not do, but at least I get it… hardware evolves, and sometimes older hardware has to be dropped to move forward.  Arbitrary cut off dates aren’t based on hardware, but on the calendar, and that is no good to me.

        With Windows, the longest period you can possibly know for sure that MS is contractually obligated to provide updates is a year and a half.  I can imagine a scenario where a given PC sat on the shelf for a long time, and it could be that the only version of Windows it is compatible with (the one it came with) is out of its support period by the time it is sold.  It’s not likely, but it is possible with the current rules as they are defined by Microsoft.  You’d have to send the thing in for warranty support (since warranties start the day the unit is sold)!

        I’d like to see all Chromebooks sold with the drop-dead date clearly stated on the outside of the box, at the very least, as a warning to the buyer.  Even better would be for Google to support the units for five guaranteed years, but to allow further updates for as long as the hardware is compatible afterward.

        That would work for Microsoft too.  They could keep the current system, but also issue a guarantee that the supported life will be at least a certain number of years.  If the hardware requirements of current builds of 10 were to be changed before that, those users could be moved to the version of 10 corresponding with the last version of LTSB/C that works on their hardware, so MS would already be writing the updates for that build.

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    • #1914863 Reply

      zero2dash
      AskWoody Lounger

      No wonder they don’t advertise this artificial expiration date, because they’d lose sales.
      I’m now glad that I don’t own a Chromebook.

    • #1914992 Reply

      jburk07
      AskWoody Plus

      I agree that the end-of-support date really should be publicized better by Google and Chromebook vendors, and I might be upset if I hadn’t known about it before I bought ours – or if I had paid a lot of money for an “upscale” Chromebook. But I paid $99 for our 11” Chromebook a few years ago and less than $200 for our 15” model, and both have been uncomplicated and reliable as secondary/travel machines. I find them much easier to work with than a tablet. I understand the objections of those who don’t like Google’s intrusiveness. However, for us as retirees on a fixed income, these Chromebooks have had good value.

      Even at those prices, of course, I don’t like the prospect of “disposable” machines. I’m happy to hear that you continue to use yours after the expiration date, Woody. As an alternative, I understand it’s possible to run a lightweight Linux distro on an out-of-support Chromebook, provided it has an Intel processor. The instructions I’ve seen involve a powerwash/factory reset and a switch to Developer Mode, and I haven’t tried it myself yet, but I’m looking into it as a possibility for when my Acer cb3-111 no longer gets updates (this month is its Auto Expiration Date). Maybe someone here has had some experience with that and can speak about its feasibility.

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      • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  jburk07.
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      • #1915582 Reply

        Seattle27
        AskWoody Plus

        I have two Chromebooks that are approaching their end-of-updates (an Acer C910 and an HP 14). A while back, I felt like experimenting and had seen the possibility of side-by-side installation of linux and chrome OS. It did take me several tries to find a linux version I liked, which turned out to be Lubuntu with LXDE desktop environment. It’s fairly lightweight and is acceptably visually appealing to me. Most chromebook processors can’t handle the full eye-candy versions of Linux (Unity or gnome desktop), while the ultralight versions of linux are really plain-looking. I attached a screenshot of my LXDE desktop. I could go into steps, but perhaps it would be best to start a new thread in the Chromebook section for that.

        Getting more on topic, I have found a couple ideas for using Chromebooks after end of updates:

        ~ Use Guest Mode or a separate gmail account. Don’t store any passwords or do any online banking or shopping with this new separate account. (You can’t store anything when in Guest Mode anyway.)

        ~ Mine already have a linux version installed, so I can just start up, acknowledge that I am in developer mode (Ctrl-D), enter guest mode, open a terminal and start up Linux. The linux install ‘sees’ the wifi internet connection, and everything else that I want works (audio, HDMI out, etc). I have Firefox installed as the browser in those. I’ve been using them for months now without any problem; even did full OS version changes on them. (Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04).

        There’s probably a way for a hacker to get into them, but there would be nothing of value there. I think it’s pretty secure though ~ I’m in a guest mode, then using an encrypted linux sign-in to reach a long-term OS and Firefox, both of which get security updates.

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        • #1920576 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          Just convert an EOL Chromebook to Linux, if you can do so. Replacing the firmware is the major obstacle. As for security, a fully locked down Chromebook will be more secure than even an encrypted Linux substitution. But Linux security is plenty good enough, unless some State Actor is on your tail. Then, even a Chromebook’s native security won’t save you.

          -- rc primak

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    • #1915130 Reply

      anonymous

      My Samsung Chromebook 2 13 inch screen 16 Gb just reached its OS update end date a couple of months, ago. I’ve only had it five and a half years. But as anonymous said above, it was purchased just after Christmas 5.5 years ago and was quite inexpensive (about $329.00 USD) and was likely already a year old then, though brand new. I don’t store anything on it; so the 9.9 Gb of available storage doesn’t bother me at all. I use it like a 13 inch 1080p tablet with a keyboard and a longer battery life. Plus it has a full size usb port and an hdmi port for connecting to a flat screen tv. I still love it with its 13″ full hd screen and use it nearly every day for an hour or so in the morning with my coffee and breakfast; and it only needs charging about once a week. Since I only use it with Google Chrome Drive and Sheets and the Chrome browser, I undoubtedly will continue using it until something bad happens. The battery is not replaceable, so I’ll probably use it until the battery no longer keeps a charge.

       

      • #1915160 Reply

        anonymous

        Inexpensive? My Hisense 11 has been flawless – the “google docs offline” app had an issue for 10 months that google finally resolved- and I paid $89 at Wlmrt! AUE is June 2020. Hope it still does docs offline after that! But, probably an easy workaround like when the offline function was glitched.

    • #1915138 Reply

      anonymous

      I read the article, went to the cross reference site, but still can’t figure out when my AUE is from the chart presented.  Platform I have is  12105.100.0
      75.0.3770.144   “stable-channel veyron_jerry”.  Help?  Thanks…

      • #1915147 Reply

        anonymous

        Thanks, never mind, I found it listed clearly on another link, NOT the one in the article, but the link on woodys page (googles update terms)! Thanks again Woody!

    • #1915159 Reply

      John
      AskWoody Lounger

      Not a fan of Chrome OS, and most Chromebook buyers would not know how old the Chromebook is from initial release which is how Google decides end f support. So it may be years or just months. In my opinion it’s worse then Windows PCs because every Chromebook has a planned obsolescence date which given that Chrome OS is based off Linux a OS that supports some of the oldest hardware and has stellar support is embarrassing for Google to set such end of life dates.

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      • #1920622 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        It may be too much of a stretch for most Chromebook buyers, but many Chromebooks can be converted to Linux. This extends the Chromebook’s lifetime until the hardware itself breaks, which is about how long I’d keep any laptop or notebook.

        I originally got my Intel-based (core-i5) Chromebook to dual-boot with Fedora Linux and Chrome OS. But Fedora changed their boot routines and took away the Docker Base Image which the install scripts were using. So I had no choice but to complete the conversion.

        My “Linuxbook” now works just fine and is no longer subject to Google’s arbitrary EOL specs. I did have to modify the keymap due to Chrome OS’s peculiar layout, and I did a little other tweaking. Linux does not support the internal audio components of my Chromebook, so I got a low-cost DAC and now I can use external speakers or analog headphones for sound. Or HDMI output, which has always worked through the Chromebook’s USB-C ports. A multi-port external dock also helps, but that would be true even if I had kept Chrome OS as the only OS on the Chromebook. There have been occasional issues withe the internal SD card reader, but as of Fedora 30 and Linux Kernel version 5.0 or later, all is well with the reader again.

        Most folks can run CHRX and just use Gallium OS, which is a modified Ubuntu made for Chromebooks. Then the dual-boot could be preserved. But Gallium OS does not keep pace with Ubuntu’s upgrades, so this caused me to abandon it for security concerns. Gallium OS is now available in a version which is up to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, but this is a recent development. By that time, I was long gone into Fedora.

        For those who know the technical side of these “Linuxbooks”, I used the CHRX scripts and chose Fedora. Those scripts still work to replace or update the replacement firmware (SeaBIOS), but now if I ever want to update the firmware, I’ll have to Reset the Chromebook, go into the Chrome OS Shell, and do the firmware install for the new version. Then go back and reinstall Fedora from a bootable USB installer. I wrote down the partition structure and sizes I need, and I clone Fedora with Clonezilla Live. So restoring the “Linuxbook” is really not that much work, and I get back to where I left off before the firmware update. SeaBIOS does not have frequent updates, so this is not a frequent hassle to go through.

        You can Reset a Chromebook even after its firmware version has passed EOL, by the way. Just keep the USB Reset Media handy, and test it once in awhile.  This allows firmware to be updated if you use something like the SeaBIOS.

        -- rc primak

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