After officially cutting support for Windows 98 and Windows ME last week, Microsoft has unveiled a trimmed-down version of its flagship operating system dubbed Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. Windows Fundamentals is based on the Service Pack 2 release of Windows XP Embedded, a spin-off of Windows XP Professional aimed at embedded devices. According to an older report by CNet, Windows Fundamentals—previously code-named Eiger—is essentially a thin client that can only run a few programs locally. Such programs include Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and anti-virus software. However, the limited functionality allows the operating system to be squeezed onto much older systems than vanilla versions of Windows XP: CNet says Fundamentals can run on machines with original Pentium processors and just 64 MB of memory.
According to Microsoft, Windows Fundamentals is aimed at customers who have older computers, are unable to upgrade their hardware, but still need up-to-date security features. Since Microsoft will no longer be providing security patches for Windows 98 and ME, an upgrade to Windows Fundamentals may be a more viable option for some organizations than moving to Linux or coughing up the cash for new machines. Microsoft says Fundamentals is only available to its Software Assurance customers, though, and it doesn’t reveal how much the operating system costs. Thanks to reader Shinare for the tip.