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“Version 100” – Problems Ahead for Chrome, Edge and Firefox?

 

Potential problems like the ones the many popular browsers are facing right now are more common than you’d think – although they don’t always have such an impact.

Many will remember the lead-up to Y2K and the mass panic that ensued over how some computer systems would handle the switch-over from 99 to 00, and whether it would cause widespread bugs and issues. In the end, it turned out nowhere near as bad as predicted – but this was only partly due to it being media hype. The other part was that people had heard about it, and had prepared or updated their systems to handle the change.

Some of the most common browsers in use today are facing a similar kind of issue.

 

What’s the Problem?

Chrome, Edge and Firefox are all very close to hitting version 100. This won’t mean much to most everyday users, but it’s actually a huge change when it comes to software.

There are many websites out there that will check your browser version. This is partly for their own metrics, but also can be used to check if a browser is new enough to run their particular web-based software (such as with Microsoft 365) or for digital rights management (Netflix or other streaming sites) – or even more important things like checking to see if your browser is old enough to be a security risk – and potentially warn you of that fact.

The problem is that some websites currently check only the first two digits of the version number – meaning that once your browser switches to version 100, this will be read as “Version 10” – which would obviously be way, way out of date. This may cause websites and services to restrict your access or deny access entirely, despite the fact your browser is up to date and can handle the requirements perfectly.

 

Y2K22?

While it might sound ridiculous that huge issues could come from adding a single extra digit, it’s really down to the way that these systems have been designed to parse (read and process) this information. In actuality, the issues are unlikely to be very far-reaching as many important websites and services will update or be using a system that will be unaffected. There may, however, be some outliers – currently, testing shows that Yahoo, Slack and various other high-profile websites seem to be having issues. While there’s a bit of time left yet for them to get their changes made, you may still face some issues when attempting to access some websites once the version ticks over 100 for your browser.

 

Should I Turn Off Updates or Change Browser?

This is not something we’d recommend. While this may be an issue that affects you, the impact of it will certainly be dampened by Mozilla, Google and Microsoft’s efforts to put in workarounds, and vendors’ efforts to update their websites. Regular updates bring not only bug fixes and feature enhancements but also help to close potential security holes and other flaws that could, in the long term, have a far greater impact than just being locked out of a site for a day or two.

If you have any issues, you first port of call should be your IT support – If that’s us, great! Give us a call and we’ll do the best we can to help.

In the case that it’s a regularly-used product or service that you will be unable to access, we will try our best to help you regain access with a workaround or additional stopgap software; however, the problem will need to be reported to that website and fixed accordingly on their end.

 

Need assistance or advice on hardware or software? We can help! Give us a call on 0121 312 1500 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk
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