GMail runs on Windows XP

…at least according to the user agent string that it sends along with its requests for remote images!

A friend recently mentioned that his GMail (webmailer and app alike) doesn’t show the preview images anymore when he receives an email update from my photography website.

“Weird!” I thought, since it all works just fine using Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and the webmailer from After a little bit of not-so impressive detective work, I was able to reproduce it though.

I’m blocking some (very, very) old user agents via .htaccess – most of them are just pain-in-the-youknow bots and scrapers that try to rip my photos. No actual human visitor is still using Chrome version 20, or Firefox version 11 (the current Chrome is 83, Firefox is 78).

And with that block in place, I stopped GMail from retrieving remote images from my website, because THIS is the user agent string of GMail’s webmailer and apps:

mozilla/5.0 (windows nt 5.1; rv:11.0) gecko firefox/11.0 (via googleimageproxy)

And since Windows NT 5.1 is the internal version number for Windows XP, we now know that GMail runs on Windows XP with Firefox version 11. Sweet! 😛

(yes, I could test for the presence of “googeimageproxy” in the user agent string and then NOT block that one but c’mon, Firefox 11? On Windows XP? Seriously?)