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Legacy Windows On Technet RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've noticed that the only legacy Windows versions posted on Technet are the Windows 3.1 versions.  I would definitely like to see the Windows 9x versions posted, as well as the other legacy Microsoft versions.  I know that, until very recently, Microsoft posted all legacy software on the Technet site.

     

    I frequently run into clients who have legacy devices that can only be accessed through a Windows 9x OS.  I usually end up scambling for an old installation CD and installing the Windows 9x version on a VMWare virtual machine to access the legacy device.  This is probably not Emily Post licensing manners, but you have to do it in the field to get the job done.

     

    The economic fact is that many organizations will not spend the appropriate amount of money maintaining their IT infrastructures.  This is usually why they end up paying high dollar consultants after the fact.  These organizations usually have much more money earmarked for support than they do for capital purchases, so they keep old equipment for a long period of time.  I know it's not the right way to run IT and it increases TCO, but it's a fact of IT life.

     

    Non-profits, especially, keep equipment for a long period of time because, since they pay no taxes, there is no tax incentive for them to routinely replace capital equipment.  It's very hard to get a non-profit to spend on large capital "Administrative Costs" which impact their charitable contribution performance numbers.  They can usually fund support costs under the radar, but not capital costs.

     

    For example, I have a non-profit client who has a large number of legacy HP LaserJet 4 series printers.  They are solid, workhorse printers and they still work well for my client.  HP released firmware versions earlier in the decade to support modern Windows OSes.  Unfortunately, the only way to initially upgrade those devices to the HP Windows 2000+ compatible management firmware, which can be further upgraded through Windows 2000+ systems after the initial upgrade, is through a Windows 3.1 or Windows 9x OS.

     

    I can't imagine that posting the legacy software on Technet would take much space; DOS 6.0 is only 10MB.  I would also like to see full versions of the legacy software posted, not upgrade versions.  I don't think anyone is going to pirate a full copy of a software package from 1993.  It would be really helpful for consultants faced with upgrading extremely outdated legacy equipment to more modern standards.

     

    Thanks.

     

     

    Sean Toomey, MCSE, MCSA

    Monday, September 24, 2007 5:01 PM

Answers

  • Sean:

     

    If you still have access to the CDs, you can still utilize the software, but as Andy mentioned, Microsoft cannot distribute or provide these versions any longer as a result of legal proceedings.

     

    An additional very important point is that the software obtained through the subscription is ONLY licenses for evaluation purposes (TechNet) and development and testing (MSDN) - and NOT for production use.

     

    These versions are also beyond the Microsoft standard and extended support lifecycles.

    Monday, October 1, 2007 5:47 PM

All replies

  • Sean,

     

    Generally speaking, we post all versions of Windows that we legally can exactly for these sorts of needs - the versions you mention above are affected by a number of Java-related lawsuits and consent decrees, and so we are not able to provide them for download.  We do post DOS 6.22 (it is, ironically, a very popular download) as well as Win 3x versions, and I do not believe they are upgrades.  Windows 95, 98, etc, however, we are not able to provide.

     

    Sorry for the inconvenience,

     

    Andy Boyd

    Lead Product Manager

    MSDN and TechNet Subscriptions

     

    Friday, September 28, 2007 4:43 PM
  • The DOS 6.0 posting is a full version.  The DOS 6.22 posting is an upgrade version.  I installed DOS 6.0 on a VMWare virtual instance and then upgraded it to DOS 6.22 using the download.  Then, I installed Windows 3.11.

     

    I was able to get the printers upgraded to the Windows 2000 generation firmware through Windows 3.11.  Thankfully, the HP Download Manager version I was able to acquire supported Windows 3.11

     

    Still, I wish there were some way for Microsoft consultants to legally acquire the legacy Windows 9x versions for migration purposes.  If Microsoft can no longer provide the versions, would Microsoft be willing to relax copyright restrictions on these specific versions so we can copy them for support/migration purposes?

     

    Once again, I don't think there's any danger, at this point, of someone using those old versions as a primary machine.  It usually takes a lot of technical skill to get them running on modern hardware.  There's not much economic value in the older versions, other than consultants who need to upgrade legacy clients to more modern Microsoft OS levels.

     

    Perhaps, there are legitimate third party websites that would be willing to host distribution of the versions if copyright restrictions were eased?  CNET?

     

    In reality, providing these versions to consultants would allow better implementation of the consent decrees.  It would give us a tool to upgrade legacy users and help take more of the offending code out of circulation.

     

    As I said earlier, you will always have a significant percentage of, often poorly managed, IT organizations that have completely exceeded the economic lifespan of their IT investments.  Fixing these kinds of shops is where Microsoft trained and certified consultants come into play. 

     

    Thanks for your response.

     

     

    Sean Toomey, MCSE, MCSA

    Monday, October 1, 2007 3:28 PM
  • Sean:

     

    If you still have access to the CDs, you can still utilize the software, but as Andy mentioned, Microsoft cannot distribute or provide these versions any longer as a result of legal proceedings.

     

    An additional very important point is that the software obtained through the subscription is ONLY licenses for evaluation purposes (TechNet) and development and testing (MSDN) - and NOT for production use.

     

    These versions are also beyond the Microsoft standard and extended support lifecycles.

    Monday, October 1, 2007 5:47 PM