Last week, I mentioned that Microsoft was finally dropping
support for Windows 98 and posed the question about whether or not
Microsoft really intended organizations to make the jump to Windows XP as a
result. Apparently it does at least partially. Microsoft wants to turn
Windows 9x-class workstations into dumb terminals.
Microsoft is releasing a new program called “Windows
Fundamentals for Legacy PCs”. Microsoft understands that many Windows
9x workstations are still in use in business. Its also aware that these
workstations are underpowered to run XP full blown and that many organizations
dont want to spend the money necessary to replace this equipment. At the same
time, by abandoning support for Windows 9x, businesses are now left vulnerable
to attacks that may appear in 9x. WFLPC is meant to address all of those needs.
WFLPC is built on Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 code.
As such, its supposed to have the smaller footprint necessary to make it run
on older Windows 9x workstations. To use WFLPC, the workstation will need as
little as 64MB of RAM, a Pentium processor and 500MB of hard drive space. It
will also need a network card, because essentially what WFLPC does is turn the
workstation into a dumb terminal.
WFLPC gives businesses the ability to continue to use
Windows 9x-class machines while maintaining security on the system. Because of
the terminal aspect, the systems can be even more secure because youll be able
to centralize control over them in ways not possible in Windows 9x.
Unfortunately, your run of the mill small business or home
owner wont the get the chance to use WFLPC.
You cant just buy if off the shelf. Instead, its included as part of
Assurance program. Plus, naturally you have to have Microsoft software
running on the back end for the WFLPC workstation to talk to.
So is Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs the
way to go with old workstations? Its
hard to tell. With Windows 9x remaining unpatched in the future, continuing to
use it will be a gamble. Ive always thought terminal-based machines can make a
lot of sense from both a security and a management standpoint. Whats your