Microsoft drops Windows 7 support for Pentium III processors
More than two decades ago, I remember that a buddy of mine got a brand-new desktop PC with an Intel Pentium III processor inside and everything about it was quite impressive. Now, as incredible as it may seem, there are people still using such machines with Windows 7. Sadly, Microsoft has just confirmed that they will no longer be able to keep their operating system up to date unless they upgrade to a more recent processor that supports Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2).
Back in March 2018, Windows 7 received a security update labeled KB4088875 that came with a warning. In the "Known issues" list, the following problem was included: "A Stop error occurs on computers that don't support Streaming Single Instructions Multiple Data (SIMD) Extensions 2 (SSE2)." There was no workaround available, but at least there was hope because the text alongside that issue said that Microsoft was working on a solution that would be provided in a future update. Sadly, the text has been changed this month to "Upgrade your machines with a processor that supports SSE2 or virtualize those machines."
For most users, the Pentium III (and the AMD or Cyrix processors of that period which did not support SSE2 either, of course) is an ancient piece of computing history that can be found on eBay for ridiculous prices and in museums. Those still using them with Windows 7 now will probably have to finally leave them to rest or — not a bad idea at all — make the move to a Linux distribution that supports such old architectures with the latest updates.
If you happen to know people or businesses using pre-Pentium 4 (the first Intel processor to support the SSE2 set of multimedia instructions) in 2018 — or you happen to be one of them — let us know in the comments. Do you think that Microsoft should still support such pieces of hardware?