Microsoft offers cut-down Windows for old PCs

After officially cutting support for
Windows 98 and Windows ME last week, Microsoft has unveiled a trimmed-down
version of its flagship operating system dubbed Windows
Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
. Windows Fundamentals is based on the
Service Pack 2 release of Windows
XP Embedded
, a spin-off of Windows XP Professional aimed at embedded
devices. According to an older report by CNet, Windows Fundamentals—previously code-named
Eiger—is essentially a thin client that can only run a few
programs locally. Such programs include Internet Explorer, Windows Media
Player, and anti-virus software. However, the limited functionality
allows the operating system to be squeezed onto much older systems than
vanilla versions of Windows XP: CNet says Fundamentals can run on
machines with original Pentium processors and just 64 MB of memory.

According to Microsoft, Windows Fundamentals is aimed at customers who
have older computers, are unable to upgrade their hardware, but still
need up-to-date security features. Since Microsoft will no longer be
providing security patches for Windows 98 and ME, an upgrade to Windows
Fundamentals may be a more viable option for some organizations than
moving to Linux or coughing up the cash for new machines. Microsoft says
Fundamentals is only available to its Software
Assurance
customers, though, and it doesn’t reveal how much the
operating system costs. Thanks to reader Shinare for the tip.

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