I want to ask a question about digital obsolescence but I am concerned it would be closed as too broad or primarily opinion based.

Title: Why do people run old Operating Systems?

There was a comment on a question recently asking why someone was trying to get Windows 3.1 run when there much more modern OSes available. I immediately thought of several, but that comment thread didn't seem like the best place for that.

So I am asking the question here so we can compile an exhaustive list of the reasons for maintaining older operating systems.

Why do you want to run an old OS?

Any comments or suggestions? Also please do not attempt to answer the question here but instead address the quality and viability of it.

  • 1
    How can we speak for other people? There are far to many legitimate reasons, for using a legacy operating system, to even begin listing the reasons. I thought of 5 just writting this comment.
    – Ramhound
    May 6, 2016 at 21:28
  • "Why do people run old Operating Systems?" because they have a need for them...
    – Moab
    May 25, 2016 at 23:10

2 Answers 2


Primarily opinion based in my opinion, even as a CW. Its polling for reasons, which can range from "I want to run old games" to "I have old hardware that won't run on anything else" to its a running joke (like my OS/2 VM).

The best place for this would be comments and/or chat.

Digital obsolence on its own could be a better question if the question needed a specific problem solved.


Yes, there could be a comprehensive list that would cover most reasons.
No, it would serve no purpose other than to refer people to it , to get them to shut-up about why persons are running an older system ;-) that being thier problem, not ours.

"Why do you want to" (run an older system), Asking for a poll, bad.
While the format is no place for a poll, the poll itself would prove to be of limited value because not enough people would be polled, and not enough "types" of people would even see or participate in a poll at SU.
There is no arrangment in the SE software to create an actual poll like many forums would have, and voting on 1 or more comprehensive list(s) would be of no value.

Therefore, I see nothing wrong with creating a comprehensive list of the reasons why people, would do, have done, and will continue to do such things. (but) I see no purpose to be gained in creating it , maintaining it, having it be searchable or found on the web. It may very well instead become a distraction filled with "keywords" that pop-up on search but provide no information for what a person was searching for. AKA not help.

There are expert people who would object to someones opinion of why they would be using an older OS or even hardware, and feel the need to correct them, edit thier post, or add commenting, because of that. Some of that could be valuable, but the discussions could become endless, and be argumentitive opinion, instead of methodological assistance and fact.

There are also experts who know exactally why and how to use an old OS or Old hardware, That type of information would be very valuable.
like: How do I secure a specific port on an XP system that we're stuck with that runs some machinery. How do I keep this old OS from ever going on the web at all ,etc. (tons of other specific questions)
Information of that type IMO would be very usable, if it didnt lead to #1 argumentitive opinion instead of assistance and fact. Questions of that type have been done before and work ok.

  • 2
    How do I secure a specific port on an XP system that we're stuck with that runs some machinery. ** - Is a legitimate question. **"Why do people run Windows XP t run some machinery is not, if yo want to know the reason, GO ASK THEM ;-)
    – Ramhound
    May 7, 2016 at 17:10

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