I don’t know if the email I received was legitimate, but it’s a sad day for Windows users. Below are the listings of stop dates for Windows support of various platforms.
|Product||End of Support (EOS) Date|
|Windows Vista RTM||April 13, 2010|
|Windows XP SP2
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows 2000 Server
|July 13, 2010|
This does spring to mind a few bitter sweet thoughts on modern PCs. It is pretty amazing how far we’ve come in the PC market. My entry into the world of PCs started with my dads old Tandy computer. It had an abysmal processor and no hard drive. I had to insert a boot disk, then swap the 5.25″ disk for the application that I wanted to run. He later got a second drive, so that we could simply leave the boot disk into the primary drive. It was pretty space age stuff. I was pretty young at the time, and it was hard for me to even fathom what I was looking at. It was cool and interesting, and maybe even a little mystical to see little monochromatic pixels flicker on that heavy terminal display. The whole thing could have crushed me, had it fallen on me.
Year’s progressed, and I didn’t get back into computers until later versions of DOS. This was around the time that video games on the PC really hit their stride for me. Shareware disks were flying off the shelves of every mom and pop computer store and big budget games shipped on a metric ton of 3.5″ floppy disks. Hard drives were tipping the scales at a whopping 80MB, and it felt like every new PC on the market was showing revolutionary leaps in performance, not just evolutionary. I can still remember the day that I installed the Windows 3.11 update that finally put color on the screen.
Eventually, somewhere between Windows 3.11 and Windows XP, we lost something. The growth of PC performance seemed to be fighting to keep up with the successive versions of Windows. Features, like “real mode”, that once gave us console-like control over the PC was gone, and 2x increases in our clock rates only seemed to give us a perceived boost of maybe 1.2x. For every upgrade to the hardware, we had to give more to the operating system. The standard practice seemed to be a consumption of 50% or more of your resources, even in more recent iterations of Windows. It is not difficult to imagine sometimes, why it would take 3x the system memory and dedicate video memory to run a port of a console game that was released on 5 year old hardware. Open your Windows task manager some day and you’ll see an endless scroll of processes and services that may only be used in the most rare occasions, and yet they wait patiently, consuming physical memory and random idle clock cycles.
I wonder sometimes, what it would be like to exploit the power of modern PC’s with a more streamlined OS made for gamers. With all of the security measures and anti-virus abstraction layers in place for a modern OS, like Windows 7, I don’t know that it would ever be possible. I would like to believe that Microsoft is trying to do the right thing for gamers, but I have to question them when I can’t even browse the web on my quad-core laptop, without being plugged into an outlet, because Windows 7 services are consuming my CPU cycles.