Versions No Longer Supported
Windows versions earlier than Windows Vista are no longer supported by Microsoft (or almost any current software or hardware). Windows Vista was the most recent to lose support.
Windows XP & Vista
Support for Vista ended on April 11, 2017.
Support for XP ended on April 8, 2014.
Unsafe to Use
Unsupported versions of Windows (or any operating system) are increasingly unsafe to use. As new patches are released for newer Windows, hackers will test for those vulnerabilities in legacy Windows versions that are no longer patched.
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT & 2000
Beginning with Windows 95, Windows began to move away from DOS (Windows 3.1 ran on top of DOS) and increasingly ran Windows natively on its own.
Prior to Windows XP, separate versions of Windows were provided for consumers and businesses:
- Windows 95, 98 and Millennium Edition (ME) were consumer operating systems.
- Windows NT and 2000 were aimed at business users.
The Legacy Hardware & Software page deals with these obsolete computers.
Win98 Shutdown Issue
Windows 98 had a well-known issue with shutdown. Robert Chou's Shutdown was a small 13Kb utility that fixed a serious security flaw in the Windows 9x log-in where a user can just click “cancel” to bypass the password. Unfortunately, the link to this software no longer exists.
Why Does Lack of Support Matter?
If you continue to use software this old, be sure to unplug your computer from the Internet.
Be assured that not all the vulnerabilities have been patched nor have those that design malicious software decided to ignore users of older computers.
Once Microsoft removes active support that version of Windows is no longer safe, particularly if your computer is connected to the Internet.
In the same way that locking car doors, keyed ignitions and seat belts are necessary for the protection of a vehicle and its passengers, computer security is an annoyance that provides similar benefits in protecting your computer and its data — giving you peace of mind.
Windows was designed to be used by ordinary folks. This is both a blessing and a curse since Windows was easier to use but also suffered from poor security. Virtually every user had total access to the computer (also called administrator privileges) in most Windows installations.
Optimizing & Troubleshooting Older Hardware
Most of the resources that were available have now disappeared. Only this page remains:
Free Zip Utilities
Zip Function Built Into Later Windows Versions
Windows 2000, Me 98/98SE (or earlier) needed a third-party program to deal with compressed (.zip) files. Windows Me (a precursor to Windows XP) was the first to deal natively with .zip files.
Zip utilities provides recommended alternatives and support for the less common (but sometimes encountered) .RAR and .ARJ extensions as well as the 7-zip format, a much improved compression formula.
Updated: March 30, 2017