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Firefox 52 is the Last for Windows XP

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Firefox 52, the latest version of the browser, will be the last major version to support Windows XP and Windows Vista. It will receive security fixes for approximately one year, but it will not get any new features after this. But this version does come with a handful of good new features and it eliminates some old features.

The new browser version eliminates plugins using the old NPAPI model first introduced by Netscape, including Java, Silverlight and Acrobat, but not Flash. Firefox was the last major browser holding out support for Java or Silverlight plugins. Later this year, Firefox says it will improve upon its Flash support by making the user give explicit consent before Flash content is activated. 

MORE: Edge vs. Chrome vs. Firefox: Windows 10 Browser Battle

Dropping these plugins will cause problems for Google Hangout users. The company says "If you use Hangouts, you will have issues with audio and video calls, but chat will still work. This is a temporary issue while Google develops a way to make Hangouts work without plugins." Google says it's working on it. 

Firefox added support for WebAssembly in version 52. This low-level assembly-like language is designed to run alongside JavaScript to enable applications that have historically been too complex to run in browsers. Mozilla says this will lead to "near-native performance for games and apps," and those could include 3D games, design, video editing, and other resource-intensive processes.

WebAssembly will also let developers port code written in other languages to run inside of browsers or to write code in lower-level languages that can compile and run in the browser faster than JavaScript.  

Easier connections to Wi-Fi hotspots is also part of the Firefox 52 improvements because the browser can now detective captive portals and notify the user they need to log in to access the internet at places like hotels. Plus, Firefox now displays a security error message that says "this connection is not secure" when you click on pages that don't use HTTPS. Firefox says it patched 28 total security vulnerabilities with version 52.

Google Chrome stopped supporting XP and Vista in April 2016. Microsoft no longer supports XP, and Vista will stop being supported after April 11, 2017.