Can Windows 2000 Still Be Used Now In 2010?

Posted March 29, 2010 6:10 am by with 15 comments

Unfortunately there are still some poor fools (yes, fools) out there are still using Windows 2000 at home. In the corporate environment I can understand why people use Win2k, but at home there’s just no excuse. You should be using Windows 7 or Linux at home. But I digress.

Officially, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 2000 on July 13, 2010. To be honest I’m shocked they’ve supported it this long.

I decided to run a few tests to see if Win2k is still usable with the modern internet.

Before I give you my results, I have to say I got a good dose of nostalgia by running Win2k. Even though I was using it in a contained environment via Virtualbox, it was interesting using The Windows That Once Was.

For those of you out there who have never used Windows 2000 Professional, think of it as XP without the fluff. It’s an all-business OS and boring to the bone. No theme support whatsoever. No ClearType support either. Sure, there’s a font smoothing option but that only affects bold fonts or font sizes above 12pt in most instances. It will only support IE up to version 6, Windows Media Player up to version 9, and MS Office up to 2003 (version 11).

Were I to describe the Win2k user experience, the best word to use is terse. Or maybe sober. Maybe both.

Most software titles still work – for now – in Win2k. Here’s a list of some software I tested that works with no problems at all even in their latest versions.

  • Firefox 3.6.2
  • Opera 10.51
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 (works if you follow these instructions)
  • AIM 7
  • OpenOffice 3.2
  • 7-Zip
  • Launchy 2.1.2
  • WinAMP 5.572

However it’s what doesn’t work that is cause for concern.

Nothing in the Windows Live suite nor Yahoo! Messenger 10 will work in Win2k at all.

You miss out on a lot by not being able to run Windows Live. WL Messenger is the most used IM on the planet. WL Mail is better than Outlook Express 6 (in more ways than I can count). Live Writer is the best blogging tool there is and even Mac users agree with that one.

When you can’t run Y! Messenger, you’re forced to use all Y! tools in the browser. This means no more Y! Mail notifier, and for messenger you’re forced to use an alternative client that cuts out a ton of Y! Messenger features.

Newer versions of MS Office not supported in Win2k whatsoever.

Microsoft Office 2007 requires XP or greater. The last version, MS Office 2003 (sometimes known as Office 11), is the last version that will run on Win2k.

Office 2010 is right around the corner. When released, that means MSO 2003 will be two versions behind.

Newer versions of Internet Explorer haven’t been supported for years.

This is the biggest deal of them all. Win2k only supports IE up to version 6. IE9 is going to be released very soon. When that happens, that means Win2k’s IE will be three versions behind. It’s also very well known that IE6 is a bad browser because it has more security holes than Swiss cheese.

How antiquated is IE6? It was released in August 2001, almost nine years ago. That’s dinosaur era as far as software is concerned.

How bad is IE6 to use? Would you want to use a browser that has over 20 unpatched vulnerabilities? I wouldn’t. And neither should you.

Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have all been telling you the same thing for years: STOP USING IE6. And they mean it, too. Google in particular very recently dropped support for IE6 on several of their web products.

Can you use Windows 2000 now in 2010?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is yes, but only for one good reason – you can run the latest Firefox or Opera with the current Adobe Flash Player in Win2k. That software allows you to browse safely and access all the content out there, which is what matters most.

Diehard Win2k users officially get a get-out-of-jail free card because of this – for now. But your days are numbered. :)

15 responses to Can Windows 2000 Still Be Used Now In 2010?

  1. Jase March 29th, 2010 at 6:41 am

    you scoff at people using 2000, I know people still using windows 95 to access the web, and a handful using windows 3.11

    Those whom you call fools, I call guaranted income.

    Oh I guess I should look into upgrading my fileserver then eh? which I built back in 2001 with the help of the very tutorial still available on this site, which hasn’t been updated since then either, maybe you should tell Dave to write a new one of those!?!

        Reply

    • Rich Menga March 29th, 2010 at 8:00 am

      YOU FOOL! (said in the style of Gilbert Gottfried)

      Yes you should upgrade your fileserver. 2001? Yikes. Use Linux or UNIX for your file server.

          Reply

  2. Jase March 29th, 2010 at 8:58 am

    it was around mid 2001. probably the first thing I came across on this site actually :o)

    I’ll upgrade as soon as I get more than a few hours free, I use that rig, because it works. its never crashed in all that time either.

    “Linux is for people with too much time on their hands” is a favourite quote of mine, although I have no idea where I first heard it.

        Reply

    • Rich Menga March 29th, 2010 at 9:07 am

      Per the Linux bit, I agree with that statement when referenced to a desktop. As for a server, the time is well spent.

      Here’s the deal with file servers at home: There’s no need for a GUI being the box just sits there and serves. With Linux, you configure the box, power it off, UNPLUG the keyboard and mouse, power it back up and control it 100% via Telnet or SSH through a client like Windows Telnet (but remember you have to add in Telnet.exe if using Vista/7 as the client).

      If you need a GUI badly enough, there’s always X via VNC. ;)

          Reply

  3. Lorne Babcock March 30th, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Windows Live sucks so bad that you can hear it all the way around the world. It’s like a gigantic sink being heard to drain and the sucking noise can be heard everywhere.

    Windows Seven is not a bad operating system however there are problems. If it were not for Windows Live I think I would be quite happy with Windows Seven but as it is the whole thing is an unmitigated disaster.

    Just try using the built in speech recognition program at the same time that you are using Windows Live Mail.

    Good luck with getting a web cam working with Windows Live Messenger. Sometimes it works but most of the time it does not.

    I could go on here for a couple hours and never repeat myself once. I think of Windows Live in a similar fashion that I used to think about Microsoft Bob and the unfortunate operating system called Millennium.

    The word is that there will be a service pack for Windows Seven in the fall. It won’t come and minute too soon.

        Reply

    • Rich Menga March 30th, 2010 at 4:08 am

      Your argument against Windows Live is completely baseless. The WL suite has proven time and time again to be a solid, stable set of applications. And to date, the Windows Live Mail client using the Hotmail service is the *only* free offering that synchronizes mail, calendar *and* contacts seamlessly from client to web and back again.

          Reply

      • Aaron Fournier March 30th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

        I agree with you Rich! Honestly, it may sound funny, but Windows Live Mail is the only thing I miss about Windows xD

            Reply

  4. Jase March 30th, 2010 at 1:37 am

    as I said, I’ll look into some form of Linux for it.

    I’ve already got a seperate box running smoothwall so I’m familiar with dedicated uses to which linux can be put

    my server doesn’t have direct web access anyway, (deliberately, due a somewhat overly-complicated wiring and configurative setup) and your point re: win2k, while valid, is more toward those using win2k or (older setups) online.

    win2k still has its uses.

        Reply

  5. bob March 31st, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I’m still using windows 2000 on some old office computers…we use them to print invoices for our customers.

    There’s nothing wrong with Windows 2000, it never crashes.
    I don’t have any problems with it so why change?
    Of course when the boss decides to buy new computers then we will have a new operating system.

        Reply

  6. marc April 2nd, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I usually run in XP, 7 and Ubuntu, but I also have an old 20GB HDD in my dual-boot 7 and Ubuntu box with Win 2K. Why? Because it has IE6. I need IE6 to test web pages and prefer not to run Win2k in a virtual machine.

    For some inexplicable reason there are quite a few poor chumps out there still using IE6 – many of them are running XP – and if any browser can mess up a well-designed web page, it’s the non-compliant with any standards IE6. I do wish it would just go away. My life would certainly be easier if it did.

    I don’t do anything else with Win2k. One observation, though, about running it on modern hardware: it’s blazingly fast..

        Reply

  7. Max April 14th, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Can Windows 2000 still be used now In 2010? Of course!

    While I’ve upgraded the hardware every couple of years,
    I’m delighted to say that I’m still using Windows 2000 on my desktop PC, and that I have no problem running a *very* large selection of software on it too – image editing, audio editing, web development, CAD, translation software, and much else besides. Current versions of almost all current software – except software from MS – still run well (and very fast on modern hardware) on W2K. And W2K is very stable too. I do occasionally need the extra compatibility of MS Office for work, instead of Open Office, so I run that under XP on my laptop, which I also use from time-to-time for testing websites in more recent browsers.

    I did consider upgrading to XP – but it didn’t have anything extra that I needed, though I was tempted because it did look pretty. Then along came Vista, which is a dog, so I didn’t part with my money for that either – why would I when W2K was doing everything perfectly well?

    Windows 7 really still doesn’t offer a huge amount of extra functionality either – it is, after all, ‘only’ the operating system – other than a supposedly more user friendly GUI (and yes, I have installed and used it elsewhere). However W2K support is expiring, and no doubt so will support from other software houses, so, when I upgrade my PC this summer I will be installing W7 alongside Kubutu. And, unless there is a compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 8 or 9, I may well just upgrade to the Windows 7 Pro when support expires in in 2015, so that I get the extra 5 years support until Jan 14, 2020. Or perhaps by then I’ll be able to run everything I need on Linux.

    Poor fools? Those are the users that were seduced by the glossy GUI into ‘upgrading’ without significant functional benefits.

        Reply

    • Rich Menga April 15th, 2010 at 5:02 am

      Whether you choose to go with Win 7, Linux or both, stop using Windows 2000 now if for no other reason than to use an OS that is native 4K HDD sector aware. After 2011, all those 512 byte sector HDDs are going bye-bye and you won’t even be able to buy a new 512 byte sector HDD any longer. Win2k and WinXP do not have ANY native support for 4K sector HDDs, and only Linux kernels after Sep. 2009 have native 4K aware support.

      Convert now to whatever newer OS you decide to use as long as it will support 4K sector HDDs. Win 7, Linux or both. I don’t care what you use. Just STOP using Win2k, you fool. :)

          Reply

  8. Jdlocator135 July 21st, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Question… If I'm running W2K and using alternative based applications and browsers such as Firefox, OpenOffice, GOM Player and etc… and have a software or hardware firewall installed, Malware, Spyware and Antivirus all running on this OS, what the heck could possibly go wrong “security wise” that would want me to get off this OS? Again, in terms of security as there are security software still available for this OS. Anyone?

        Reply

  9. Blake August 27th, 2010 at 1:43 am

    stop using windows 2000? NEVER! (with an exception of OSX ), i sitll use windows 2000 on my windows box and it has always been the most reliable OS for me, XP was allright still had alot of issues, vista was a complete joke, and 7 is the next best thing to 2000, but i dont find a reason to run it and my windows box has crappy video (intel 845G) so 7 is just a waste of disk space. as for windows live…. well ive only used the live messenger and found it to be complete crap, way to bloated compared to windows messenger 8.5, for mail just going to gmail from firefox works best… only thing i wish windows 2000 had was windows movie maker but again there are better programs for that like imovie on my main pc. and theres sony vegas for windows which im sure an older version will work on win2k just never bothered to try it.

        Reply

  10. Martyn Hare September 8th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Or he could just run Windows 2000 inside VMWare Player after having made the leap to Linux? After all VMWare Player supports HW accelerated Direct3D, can create VMs now and is free of charge.

    Or he could use KVM if he’s not worried about 3D rendering by then. No need to worry about hardware support with virtualisation around ;-)

        Reply

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