Some time ago I got a chance to help someone to do clean install an old Windows operating system on a new internal hard drive. Installing the operating system itself is quite easy, but things after that is something you need to know. There will be some challenges along the way because the operating system is no longer supported.
It is always advised to use the latest operating system as you will get the latest updates to fix the security holes, etc. If paid operating system is not an option, you can look into open source OS such as Ubuntu that is based on Linux.
However, I do understand that on some cases, people insist to install an old operating system that is no longer supported. It is usually because of some important software they use have that old operating system as the latest supported operating system, and those software do not work on the newer operating system (maybe not yet).
Whatever the reason, if you still feel adventurous to try installing an old operating system, below are things you should be aware of beforehand.
The Hardware Drivers for Old Operating System Are Rare
The next step after installing operating system is installing hardware / device drivers. The drivers are important to make the operating system communicate well with the hardware. For normal use, at least we need drivers for audio, video graphic card, and mouse/keyboard/trackpad. Without drivers installed, you will get a rather crappy experience when using the computer and in some cases, software will refuse to install if it can't detect some hardware, such as a graphic card.
When you buy a computer / laptop, you usually get CD / DVDs containing the drivers necessary for your computer / laptop. If you still have those driver backups, then you are good to go. If you do not have it, try to find it on your computer / laptop's manufacturer's website.
The computer / laptop manufacturers usually provide the drivers for their laptops on their support site. Go search for your computer / laptop type there and you will be redirected to the drivers download page for your computer / laptop type. Worth to note that almost all of the manufactures only have Windows XP as the oldest operating system supported. If the operating system you want to install is not listed on the driver's download page, then you are out of luck.
Below is list of the common manufacturers' support site (sorted alphabetically):
- Acer Download page
- Asus Download page
- Dell Drivers & Downloads page
- HP Software and Driver Downloads page
- Lenovo Support Home Page
* The links are accessed and collected on 27th June 2015. Feel free to add other manufacturer's information on the comment section below.
Be Ready to Go Through Archives to Search for the Compatible Older Version of Supporting Software
After installing hardware / device drivers, now it is time to install the software you need. However, be it a game, graphic card setting options or other software, they usually need supporting software to be able to run or even to be installed. The most common supporting software needed are Adobe Flash Player, Java, DirectX, and Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package. If you can find the version compatible with your operating system, then you are good to go.
Below is list of the archive pages for some supporting software:
Adobe Flash player's older versions archive.
Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package
Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package's older versions archive. The archive lists the latest versions of Microsoft Visual C++ 2013, Visual C++ 2012, Visual C++ 2010, Visual C++ 2008 and Visual C++ 2005.
* The links are accessed and collected on 27th June 2015. Feel free to add other software archive's information on the comment section below.
Be Careful of Virus and Other Malware From The Internet
The old operating system that are no longer supported can expose you to greater danger than if you use the latest OS. The old OS is no longer developed and that means any security holes found will not be patched. This can be taken advantages of by the hackers or bad guys out there.
As many antiviruses have stopped supporting old operating systems, you need to be more careful when surfing on the internet. It is said that as long as you avoid shady websites and do not stick any devices you do not trust, you will be fine. However, you still need to be cautious as malware can come from any unexpected sources.
Those are things you need to know the most before deciding to install an old no-longer-supported operating system. If you have anything to add, please feel free to leave comments below.