Not long ago, Microsoft ended support for one of the most widely used operating systems in history, Windows XP. Now, Microsoft has ended support for a product that impacted the server world almost as much as Windows XP impacted the PC world, Windows Server 2003.
Windows Server 2003 was based off of Windows XP, sharing the hybrid kernel design and many other features. The significantly increased support and stability of the OS relative to older Windows-based operating systems made it extremely popular, and made setting up a server easier. As a result, the OS is still used today.
For those who are still using Windows Server 2003, just as it is with XP, if you don’t switch to another system, then you will become increasingly vulnerable to hacks and exploits.
The end of Windows Server 2003 is bad for some Windows XP users, too. After the end of support for Windows XP, it was possible to hack the registry of your system so that Microsoft’s servers would think you are using a version of Windows Server 2003. This would allow you to get updates for Windows Server 2003. Because the two operating systems were so compatible with each other, a great deal of the updates would work for Windows XP, and it basically extended your support for a few more years.
Because Server 2003 is also losing support, though, this trick won’t work anymore. On the bright side, for those still on Windows XP, Windows 10 will be out soon, and there are several easy upgrade paths to get it. Just buy Windows 7 or Windows 8, and you can upgrade for free when it comes out.
For those with a server, Windows Server 2016 is being beta tested right now and should be out next year (and it’s based off of Windows 10).