Pale Moon - Your browser, Your way

End of Windows XP support in Pale Moon

Starting with Pale Moon 25.0, support for the Windows XP operating system in main-line builds has been dropped. This page aims to clarify the situation and provide alternatives to current Windows XP users who wish to continue using Pale Moon as their browser.

For the impatient: you need to use the Atom version.

Why was Windows XP support discontinued by Pale Moon?

Unlike Firefox, that will continue to offer Windows XP as a supported operating system in its main-line products, Pale Moon has discontinued support for this OS. Considering the large number of users still on Windows XP, this has not been done without some good reasons, outlined below:
  • OS security considerations: Windows XP is no longer supported or maintained by its developer (Microsoft) and lacks continued security updates that are needed in this day and age of malware. It's considered End of Life since April 2014, and using it is inherently taking a security risk. Also understand that Windows XP lacks some features in terms of program security and stronger security certificates.
  • OS Life considerations: Windows XP has the status "obsolete". It has never been one of Pale Moon's goals to support particularly old systems from its very inception. That includes obsolete operating systems.
  • POSReady2009: There is an alternative version of Windows called POSReady2009 that will receive continued updates beyond the end-of-life date of Windows XP, but it should be noted that this is not a desktop operating system and has been designed specifically around use in cash registers and other Points of Sale situations with single-application use (and not desktop use) in mind. Using that alternative version is never recommended for general use and is not considered by Pale Moon as a viable target operating system to run on, and for technical reasons we cannot provide support for it.
    Even though Microsoft will continue to provide some security updates for specific POS applications using embedded versions of this operating system, these updates are not necessarily compatible with Retail/OEM installations of Windows XP. A number of people have applied an unsanctioned configuration change to their Windows XP installations to receive these updates (by tricking the Windows Update servers into thinking it is POSReady2009) even though they are not meant for Windows XP. Please understand that we cannot provide more than self-serve community support (by users for users) for either POSReady2009 or hybrid installations of POSReady updates on top of Windows XP.
  • Stability considerations: Forcing NT 5.x kernel compatibility has shown to cause stability issues, especially with the optimizations used in Pale Moon's main-line builds. Being able to use more modern (Vista and later) windows kernel functions improves stability and overall performance of the browser.
  • Compiler support: Windows XP support was only added as an afterthought to the compiler in use by Pale Moon (Visual Studio 2012). This support for Windows XP has never been part of the compiler's design and the resulting binaries in this forced compatibility are at least suboptimal and at most prone to severe compiler bugs and crashes.
  • Graphics subsystem compatibility: Pale Moon's graphics subsystem is really aimed at being able to use DirectX 10 or later, something that is not available in Windows XP. Apart from having to build in all sorts of workarounds for DirectX 9 (the highest version supported by Windows XP) and the inherent problems with that, it also means that nobody on Windows XP will be able to benefit from the acceleration and graphics features available in later operating systems. Users on Windows XP are therefore already running on "extended backwards compatibility" and this part of the graphics subsystem is not really maintained or updated anymore.

What are my alternatives?

There are a few alternatives to consider, and a few (although logical) things that are not recommended:
  • Recommended: Of course the top recommendation, if your budget allows for it, is to upgrade to a later operating system. Windows 7 is strongly recommended in this case for current users of Windows XP. It will be supported until 2020 and provides the most familiarity and customizability that Windows XP users would be looking for. On top, it is a very stable and well-rounded operating system. Once you have upgraded, running current and future versions of Pale Moon will not be an issue.
  • Recommended: Since the specialized Atom version will continue to support Windows XP (because of the large amount of netbooks being limited to that operating system) you can switch to that version.
  • Of course another alternative is to switch browser. We will be sad to see you go.
  • Not recommended: stay on Pale Moon 24.7.2. With the release of Pale Moon 25.0, simply "not upgrading the browser" is not recommended because the previous major version will not receive updates or further support. We simply do not have the manpower or resources to continue updating and maintaining multiple different versions of the same product. If you stay on Pale Moon 24.7.2, you will not receive any security and stability updates that the current version receives, and you will put yourself at (even greater) risk.
  • Not recommended: attempt to build your own from source. Building Pale Moon from source is not extremely difficult but it will require some advanced knowledge, since you will have to make edits to the source code to enable Windows XP compatibility before building. In addition, we will not provide any support for your own builds so you are pretty much "on your own" if you run into trouble.

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