How to use a Chromebook after AUE date safely in 2022 and beyond

One thing that many people get frustrated about when it comes to Chrome OS is the AUE date. All Chromebooks and Chromeboxes have an AUE date. The Auto Update Expiry (AUE) date means your device will not receive Chrome OS updates once this date is reached.

The AUE date will depend on the Chromebook you own, so it’s a good idea to check when your Chromebook reaches its AUE. The AUE date has increased from five years and any new Chromebook released after 2021 will receive Chrome OS updates for at least eight years. That’s a pretty long time to own a laptop, so many people may not be too bothered.

However, if you buy a brand new Chromebook, which was launched to the consumer a couple of years earlier. It’s worth noting the AUE date isn’t when you bought the laptop. It’s from when the Chromebook was originally launched. Therefore, you may want to check how long a specific laptop will receive updates before spending your hard-earned money.

Why there is an AUE date?

Although I totally understand why some may find the AUE date annoying. I also totally accept that an AUE date is necessary. Chrome OS was released in 2011 and since then we’ve seen a huge number of laptops and Chromebox devices since then.

Chrome OS devices have changed quite a lot since they were originally launched. For example, many devices now come with a touchscreen, which wasn’t an option previously. Newer Chromebooks will have newer processors, which offer better performance and may even provide enhanced security over older processors.

Therefore, it’s impossible for Chrome OS to continue to offer us more functionality if it is held back by older computers. This would stop the Chrome OS team from bringing us new features if older laptops were not capable of handling them. Chrome OS needs to be able to offer new functionality without having to worry about a laptop that was launched ten years ago.

What to do with your Chromebook after the AUE date

There are a number of options you have available for your Chromebook once the AUE date is reached. The first and most obvious choice is to buy a new Chromebook. This is by far the best option because it will mean you’ll continue to receive Chrome OS updates and any new features that may bring. If you’re interested in buying a new device take a look at my list of Top Ten Chromebooks in 2022.

However, if you own a Chromebook, which is working perfectly fine and you’ve fallen in love with it. I totally understand you may want to continue using it. Therefore, let’s take a look at the other options you have once your Chromebook stops receiving updates.

Continue using your Chromebook as normal

You could continue to use your Chromebook even after the AUE date. Nothing happens to your Chromebook after the AUE date is reached. You’ll receive a warning message a few weeks before your last update takes place.

Chromebooks currently get updates every four weeks, which changed from the previous six weeks. This change was to bring updates in line when the Chrome browser receives updates. This was a necessary step to get us one step closer to Chrome OS working separately from the Chrome browser.

You’ll be able to use your Chromebook for at least a month after the AUE date without any concerns. That being said, if you continue to use your Chromebook past this date, you may be open to risks when browsing the internet. This is because the browser is currently integrated with Chrome OS. If Chrome OS stops receiving updates your browser will stop receiving further updates as well.

Install a new operating system

Another option you have once your Chromebook reaches the AUE date is to install a new operating system. It’s worth pointing out this isn’t as easy as simply installing a new OS. All Chromebooks come with physical write protection, which is an extra layer of security to stop anything from being installed that shouldn’t be.

This means before you can install any new operating system you would need to open up your Chromebook. Once you’ve done this you would need to remove the physical write protect before putting your Chromebook back together. Ensuring you don’t do anything to damage your laptop, so it still works when you’ve put it back together.

Cloudready and Chrome OS
I installed a new operating system on my Toshiba Chromebook 2 once the AUE date was reached

Personally speaking, I don’t like working with anything mechanical and I’m sure many of you feel the same. That being said, I installed Cloudready on my Toshiba 2 Chromebook. To do this I had to go through the process of removing the physical write protection.

Although this allowed me to install a new operating system. I did have issues with some drivers, which meant I could not get any sound from my speakers. Therefore, I don’t think installing a new operating system is the right approach for most people.

Install a new browser via Linux

This is possibly something you’ll not be able to do with a Chromebook that has reached its AUE date in 2022. This is because I don’t believe any Chromebooks that reached the AUE date in 2022 were designed to use Linux.

To install a new browser you would need a Chromebook that supports Linux. Therefore, this is an option you will have open to you if your Chromebook has Linux capability.

The best option is to enable Lacros

You may or may not have heard of Lacros. It’s a project Google has been working on for some time now. It’s a huge project because once finished it will mean Chrome OS and the browser will no longer be integrated. Lacros simply stands for Linux and Chrome OS.

At the moment any updates to Chrome OS or the browser can only happen when an update of Chrome OS takes place. This is because the browser and operating system are joined together. Once Chrome OS and the browser is separated it will mean updates can take place for the OS and browser separately.

Chromebook AUE date
Lacros allows safe internet surfing after your Chromebook has reached its AUE date

This means even when your Chromebook stops receiving updates to the OS once the AUE date has expired. It will not stop you from receiving updates for the browser because it will work independently from the OS. Essentially, putting an end to anyone worried about being safe when surfing online on a Chromebook where OS updates have stopped.

The good news is you can use Lacros now

Lacros may not be finished just yet but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. The good thing about the Chromebook is you can get access to new features using Chrome OS flags. Some Chrome OS flags are only available in the developer channel whilst others are available in the stable channel.

You’ll be happy to know that you can now access all the flags needed in the stable channel for Lacros. This means you can keep your Chromebook in the stable channel and still take advantage of using Lacros.

You will be doing this by using a Chrome OS flag. Therefore, you should expect that some things will change from time to time. That being said, Lacros is now pretty stable when using Chrome OS flags, so it’s a perfect choice to use a Chromebook after the AUE date.

To find out more about this I’ve added a video above that goes through all the information you need. I go into further detail about all the options you have available once your Chromebook reaches its AUE date. You’ll also find out how to enable Chrome OS flags to start taking advantage of Lacros right now.

Summary

The days of worrying about not being safe using a Chromebook online after the AUE date is almost over. I say almost because Lacros isn’t yet available as standard. The Chrome OS team will more than likely have a lot more to iron out before the OS and browser are separated by default.

The good news is you can already take advantage of this using Chrome OS flags. Something I think makes sense to do if your Chromebook has reached the AUE Date and you want to continue using your Chromebook for surfing online.

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