Just a few thoughts on the abandonment of Windows 2000 support.

I'm a Win2K-SP4 user. Five years from now, I'd guess this will still be the case. In fact, I used to be an XP user and downgraded "on purpose." Why? Put simply, Win2K-SP4 is the last OS (operating system) that (A) supports the NTFS file system but (B) doesn't require "activation" scenarios - or the constant "phoning home" routines to make sure it's a "legit" version of the software.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a pirate. I "bought" a legitimate OEM copy of Win2K-SP4 while it was still available for purchase. The problems with OS software after Win2K-SP4:

1) Sometimes, merely changing a hard drive or other peripheral will raise a "piracy" flag during the WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) "phone home" routines of XP/Vista - requiring the user to contact Microsoft directly and "beg" for reactivation.

2) The legitimate OEM version of Win2K-SP4 is supplied on a CD that is "not" copy-protected. In short, you can make a working "backup" CD in case the original is lost or damaged. Last year, I had a hard disk failure. After installing a new hard disk, I used the "backup" CD to install the version of Win2K-SP4 I'm using right now. XP/Vista disks can't be copied easily. And even if you managed to make a backup CD of XP/Vista, using it to reinstall (in case of a catastrophic hard disk failure) may raise that "piracy" flag again during the WGA routine.

Here's another point to ponder. Software vendors (and Microsoft) are constantly using fear as a tool to scare people into upgrading their OS. They'll tell you that, when support ends, older OS platforms will be more vulnerable to attack by hackers and other malicious malcontents. Uh huh (grin). Ask yourself this question. While viruses do exist for Linux and Mac OS platforms, why are users of these platforms not plagued by them as much as PC users? Simple. Hackers and malcontents generally target the most prevalent OS (bigger targets are easier to hit). As OS platforms evolve, so do the hackers and malcontents. A virus whose purpose is to infect the HAL.DLL file could disable a Vista system ... but not a Win2K-SP4 system because the filename simply doesn't exist.

So, as an operating system ages and less people use it, the OS becomes a less attractive target for virus writers. They'll simply move on to the "next best thing," the bigger target, and ignore the smaller target. In short, the aging of an operating system is less of a "risk" and more a "blessing in disguise."

On CD, I have archived the installation program for ZoneAlarm 7.0.483.000 - the last Win2K-SP4 compatible firewall. And, I've also archived EVERY installation program for EVERY piece of software I currently use on my computer (including necessary driver files for peripherals). I've also archived EVERY security update issued by Microsoft since Win2K-SP4 was last installed. In short, 5 years from now, I could install an exact replica of the system I'm using right now.

Hardware (grin)? You'd be surprised to see how much older hardware you can get out there. So even if computer hardware evolves to a point where it's incompatible with Win2K-SP4, I can always find replacement parts - usually, dirt cheap. And if I can't, I know a few people who can build them.

It really boggles my mind to hear of people who upgrade their OS/hardware merely to be "one of the crowd." Ultimately, the purpose of an OS or computer is to serve its user. And if your current OS or computer does everything you want it to do, why upgrade?