Microsoft Windows 7 to drop support of your old 90s beige box Windows PC
Younger generations may have no idea what it was like to use a PC, prior to the year 2000. PCs were bulky, slow, and incredibly limited, compared to today’s devices... and that includes smartphones.
The “beige box” was iconic, because it represented the very beginning of mass commercialization of the personal computer, as well as the first generation of desktop computers capable of connecting to very young Internet.
Intel was very much part of that nostalgic era, with its Pentium family of processors, during a time when desktop CPUs enjoyed very little competition, until AMD began to gain traction.
At the turn of the Millennium, Intel announced the Pentium 4, as the successor to the Pentium III, the most popular processor of its generation, and with it, it introduced SSE2, a new set of multimedia instructions that allowed computers to play multiple streams of content, such as videos and music, simultaneously.
SSE2 became very popular, very quickly, and went on to become a standard that still exists today, as well as one of the hard requirements for installing and running Microsoft Windows 10.
Up until recently, a relatively small slice of Windows 7 users have enjoyed the ability to install and run Windows 7 on computers as ancient as the pre-Pentium 4 era, which includes computers powered by Intel Pentium II and III, although performance have always been subject to individual experiences. With that said, Microsoft has provided support for those ancient PCs, considering the extremely small volume of licenses running on such old machines.
That changes this year, as Microsoft is dropping all support for Windows 7, on computers powered by processors that lack SSE2. The move comes amidst concerns of security.
While some may interpret the announcement as a breach of Microsoft’s commitment to Windows 7 customers who are supposed to enjoy support under their licenses until 2024, the Microsoft Business Developer and Desktop Operating Systems Policy, addresses this very concern:
“...Microsoft is committed to providing products with improved security. Although we strive to remove vulnerabilities during development, software vulnerabilities remain a fact today and we must be prepared to respond when they are discovered. Microsoft advises customers to install the latest product releases, security updates, and service packs to remain as secure as possible. [...] Older products may not meet today's more demanding security requirements. Microsoft may be unable to provide security updates for older products. [emphasis added]...”
By this token, starting with its March update, Windows 7 patches will not install on Pentium III systems, which feels as good a time as any to perhaps... finally shop for a new PC.