Jeff is using a Chromebook to do the finances for his elderly father. Is it secure enough? Leo says YES! Chromebook's are very secure by design, and using them solely for online banking makes it VERY secure. Google does a lot to protect ChromeOS, and one can't modify it in any way. And if something goes wrong, users can powerwash it. The only risk may be browser extensions. So if users avoid those, they are golden.
Google uploaded an update to ChromeOS this week that was missing the "&" ampersand code, causing many Chromebooks out in the wild to be locked out of ChromeOS. This comes fresh off another update that left out the "%" sign, causing similar issues should your wifi network or password rely on it. Google didn't announce the problem, but it was ferreted out by a Reddit user this week. The only fix was to powerwash your Chromebook and start over.
John recently bought a new Chromebook, per Leo's recommendation. He got a 17" Acer, and John says wow, it's really fast. Leo says that for most people, the Chromebook is ideal. Faster, more secure, and more affordable. And if you don't have to do anything specific, like gaming or photo and video editing, a Chromebook is the ideal online computer.
Dave has a Chromebook. Leo says that Chromebooks are secure, and now you can run Android apps on it. Soon, you will be able to run select Windows 10 apps as well. Your Chromebook doesn't run Windows per se, at least not without a lot of modification, but soon you'll be able to use some Windows apps, which is cool.
Bob's Chromebook is "expiring" this month. Leo says he hates that Google does that. But even though Google will stop updating your Chromebook, that doesn't mean it'll stop working. It will be fine for most things. Will it be a security issue? Not really. Chrome is inherently secure as it is. So Leo wouldn't really worry about it all that much. When you're ready to upgrade to a new one, then buy it. Acer's Aluminum Chromebooks are great for around $300. But no need to feel pressured to do so now.
Rich has an original Google Chromebook that isn't supported anymore. Can he wipe it and install Linux? Leo says you can, but it's a bit tricky. There is a physical hardware switch you must enable to turn on developer mode. Once you do that, you can install Linux. Look up the model, plus Linux, and you should be able to find step by step instructions. Check out AboutChromebooks.com as well.
Mike wants to get his parents a new Chromebook, but he's concerned that Google won't update them after a few years. Leo says that Google says that they will update them up to five years. But one, Chromebooks are extremely secure by design, so even after its end of life, you still can use it online and two, Chromebooks are cheap to replace. Worst case, you may run into issues visiting some websites. Check out about Chromebook's end of life and Auto Update policy here.
Tom grows saltwater coral, and you use an LED light to simulate reef light from morning to evening. But it's very smart and he needs to connect it to an app. It requires Windows, but he's a Chromebook guy. Is there an emulator that can work with Chromebook? Leo says that he thinks the hardware has a generic interface and a BIN file. There are Linux apps that can do that. Google is starting to support using Linux on a Chromebook, so that's one way to go.
Jose wants to know if he should get a Chromebook. Leo says that a Chromebook is great for those looking to get stuff done, but most of the things they do are online and in the cloud. Can he get the same by putting Linux on an older laptop and still be secure? Leo says that you can, but you have to update it regularly to keep it healthy. Leo recommends PopOS. But there's also an obscure OS called Qubes because it's very locked down. But it's very hard to use as well.
Lex hears that "end of life" support is coming for some Chromebooks. How safe will a Chromebook be after those dates? Leo says that new devices will have six and a half years of auto-updates, while much older generation Chromebooks have already been phased out of support. But Chromebooks are still incredibly secure. It'll be fine to continue to use. Will a VPN help? Leo says not really.