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How to use your Chromebook safely after AUE date

I’ve just taken a look at my Toshiba Chromebook 2 AUE date and I’m rather happy to see it’s not until September 2021. I previously thought it was June 2020, but I’ve got the model with a later AUE Date.

Although my Toshiba Chromebook is fantastic I’ve not used it for at least three years now. I’ve kept it, so I can see what happens when the AUE date eventually arrives. This got me thinking though about people who are still using a Chromebook where the AUE date is near or even ended.

If you’ve not heard of the AUE date before it stands for Automatic Update Expiry. All Chromebooks come with an AUE date at the moment. This is to help Google keep Chrome OS streamlined. Find out how to check when your Chromebook stops receiving automatic updates.

The idea being. If Google had to support Chromebooks indefinitely. It would have an impact on Chrome OS. This makes perfect sense because having to cater for every Chromebook ever launched would make Chrome OS a lot slower than it currently is.

If you’ve read any of my other posts; you’ll know I’m not too bothered about the AUE date. In fact, I think the AUE date for Chromebooks is possibly even a good thing.

However, I do accept not everyone agrees with this and while some like to buy a new laptop every couple of years. There will be others who like to get the most out of their purchase. So this article is all about continuing to use your Chromebook after the AUE date safely.

WHEN AUTOMATIC UPDATES STOP

There is no doubt a large number of people who dread the day automatic updates will stop for their Chromebook. We can get attached to our laptops and if they work fine you may think replacing it with a new one is a waste of money.

Automatic updates happen about every six weeks. Apart from providing improvements to Chrome OS. It also allows the Chrome OS team to deal with any potential security flaws.

This means your Chromebook is pretty well protected against viruses and any other potential threats. This is one of the reasons why Chromebooks do not get viruses.

Once these automatic updates have stopped. Google can no longer guarantee you’ll be safe using your Chromebook. So is this a risk? the short answer is yes. However, there are simple steps you can follow to dramatically lower the risk and still use your Chromebook after the AUE date.

FORGET ABOUT ANDROID APPS

If you’re using a Chromebook where the AUE date is soon. Then it’s highly unlikely your laptop is compatible with Android apps. This immediately removes the main reason why people think Chromebooks can get viruses. Android apps are programs so they can contain a virus is something you’ll hear a lot.

Android apps should not be a concern
Android apps do slightly increase the risk

The fact is Android apps are programs, which need to be installed on your Chromebook. Any program you install on a computer has the potential to contain a virus. So although the risk is low; it’s a risk.

So if your Chromebook does not support Android apps you have one less thing to worry about. If it does, then it’s unlikely you’re anywhere near your AUE date.

GET RID OF YOUR CHROME BROWSER EXTENSIONS

Ok, so the headline is rather dramatic. However, if you want to keep using your Chromebook after the AUE date. Then you do need to take some steps to keep yourself secure online.

One of the biggest risks is Chrome Browser extensions. Unless you’re fully aware of who created the extension. I would immediately remove it from your Chrome browser.

If you do use an extension, which is rogue. Then the risk will greatly increase once automatic updates have stopped. Personally, I’d be removing every Chrome Browser extension if I was using a Chromebook where the AUE date had passed.

GIVE YOUR CHROMEBOOK A MUCH NEEDED POWERWASH

I don’t think this is absolutely essential but you may want to give your Chromebook a powerwash. This will restore your laptop to factory settings. This will give you the peace of mind of possibly overlooking something.

It’s unlikely anything would be overlooked if you’re using a Chromebook without Android apps. The only thing you need to worry about is Chrome browser extensions. However, if you’d like to feel a little safer. Then a powerwash will not do any harm.

Before doing so ensure you back up any files in your downloads folder. Once a powerwash is performed all the files in your downloads folder will be erased. Any of your files in Google Drive will not be impacted by a powerwash.

NOW IT’S DOWN TO YOU

So you’ve removed all your Chrome browser extensions and even gave your Chromebook a powerwash. Is that all you need to do to stay safe online? well, not exactly.

The most important part of staying safe is how you use your computer. Remember it’s not possible to install programs on your Chromebook. So even after the AUE date. You don’t need to worry about your Chromebook being infected by a virus.

how to use a chromebook after AUE date safely
Only visits site you know and trust

The only thing you’ve really got to worry about is the type of sites you visit. To stay safe you should only visit sites you know and trust. If you’re using internet banking. Make sure you type the bank web address in the search bar. This is much safer than clicking on a link from another location such as from an email.

Always make sure any website you visit where you need to enter details is secured by HTTPS. Providing the website is secured by HTTPS and you trust the site. Then there is no need to worry about your information being compromised.

CONCLUSION

It’s not ideal to be using a laptop where the AUE date has passed. However, providing you follow the steps mentioned. You should not get into a situation where you put yourself at risk online.

The key thing to remember is not to install any Chrome Browser extensions. Even if you trust the extension. Hackers could have possibly found a way to compromise it. You’re not receiving AUE updates anymore so any known vulnerabilities will not be dealt with.

So you’ve got to minimise the risk. Do this by only visiting websites you know and trust, and by avoiding installing any extensions. Providing you do this. Then I cannot see any reason why you can’t continue to use your laptop safely.

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