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Windows 2000 runs AJAX apps on Google's Chrome browser

Born again
Thu Sep 18 2008, 11:27

THERE ARE a lot of users of Windows 2000 still out there, and the good news is that those old systems can get an extra speed boost on AJAX applications by running Google's speed-optimised Chrome browser.

All this despite Google, because the firm still refuses to support this old yet leaner and stable OS.


Surprise: Google's Chrome browser running on Windows 2000

Windows 2000 -Win2K hereinafter- is specially popular in corporate environments with support contracts; formal support for this OS ends in mid-2010 which means it still has two more years life. However, those Win2K users were not very happy when Microsoft left them running ancient IE 6 by refusing to support Win2K with Internet Explorer 7.

The complaints were repeated once again when Google released its Chrome browser officially supported only on Windows XP and Vista. In fact, if you attempt to download the installer from a Windows 2000 machine you cannot, and even if you download the small "active installer" elsewhere and then transfer it to a Win2K system, it refuses to install.

alt='chrome-win2k-1' We've been running it for over a week: it works

Needless to says, Win2K users weren't thrilled: "Another win2k user here. How hard is this to do, Firefox manages it. What's wrong with Google's engineers do they moonlight for MS."

"Yet another disappointed Win2k user. I've just tried it out at work, and like it, but we run XP and Vista there," Were some of the comments that could be read on the blogosphere the first few days after the Chrome release.

Others added: "I also would REALLY like to try Google Chrome. I use Win2K because I think it’s all that’s necessary and I won’t tolerate the DRM & “Mandatory Activation” in XP etc." And " W2K - it’s the OS I use 98% of the time, only booting up an XP machine as a last resort. There’s so much high-quality software out there that’ll run happily on W2K upwards, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just laziness that makes programmers code their apps for XP/Vista only," chimed another.

alt='chromewin2k-2' Here is what you get when you attempt to install it on Win2K

Fortunately for all of them, some users took things into their own hands, and a blogger in Japan found a solution which allows it installing and running Chrome on Win2K. We tested it and can confirm it works, so here is the easy way to do it.

First, the requirements: you need to have Service Pack 4 installed over Windows 2000. Then you need Security Roll-up 1. We just went ahead and downloaded the "unofficial Service Pack 5" from which integrates SP4 with the SR1. Just to be safe and since Gears is delivered as a .MSI installer, we also downloaded and installed Windows Installer 3.1 v2.

Once you have all this, you need to grab the latest Beta release of Google Chrome, which at the time of this writing is build 149.29. If you are using Windows 2000, the Google server won't let you have the files but you can use the direct download links for the full off-line installer we provided here.

alt='chromewin2k-4' Entering the information into your system registry

Once you have the EXE installer and the .MSI for Google gears you are halfway there. Then you need to grab this file from this Japanese blogger and extract it. Ignore the provided .Bat and run only the chrome2k.reg file which adds exceptions to the Google Chrome file names.

Then you can run the Gears and Chrome installers. After installation, and the first run, the browser will pop up a dialogue saying it detected Windows 2000 and that it's an unsupported configuration. Accept that, the browser will run just fine. The browser just runs perfectly fine in our tests, and it should give a new life to old, slower systems still running Win2K, specially for AJAX web based applications given the improved, faster Javascript engine in Chrome that is faster than Firefox's own.

alt='chrome-win2k-5' Procedure done: Chrome installed in Win2K

Extreme hacking
Okay, we hear all you saying, but how about this nasty pop-up dialogue box every time you run the browser?. The good news is that the Japanese didn't stand still and found a way to patch it. The more adventurous amongst you can download a freeware hex editor, and point it to the chrome.dll file located in

"\Documents and Settings\{your user name}\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\"

...and patch it to make the nasty "Windows 2000 not supported" warning dialogue go away for good. This probably violates the EULA, several international treaties, the Berne convention and will probably have former U.S. Secretary of War Defense Rumsfeld himself coming in a black helicopter to get you and translate you to an undisclosed location.

In any case, this Japanese guy dubbing himself "Black Wing Cat" says that if you patch at offset 0008F317 the sequence of bytes "83 F8 01" with "83 F8 00" -on build 149.29- the dialogue goes away.

We tested it and it works. Your mileage might vary. Consult with an attorney and your conscience. We neither condone nor disapprove patching bytes on files residing on your computer. *cough*

In short Despite the firm's official stance of not supporting Windows 2000 for its Chrome Browser, Google's latest software can be made to run just fine under Windows 2000, provided you follow this simple procedure. This could make your old Win2K system a lot more useful. We think Google should just make Win2K a supported platform and please a lot of users in the process, avoiding these silly unofficial procedures. µ

L'INQs Google Chrome does not work on Windows 2000? Internet Sh## Japanese blogger "Black Wing Cat"

[UPDATE: the same blog has published today the byte offset to patch in the new build 149.30 to remove the warning dialog on start-up, over here]


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