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Windows Server 2003 End-of-Life: Breaking Up is Hard To Do

Community Manager

In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft’s technical support of a little thing called Windows Server 2003 ends on July 14th. And whenever a well-used piece of software reaches its end-of-life (EOL), it can feel a little bit like a breakup. As with any breakup, we know letting go can be difficult, time-consuming and sometimes just too painful to go through with. After all, as Neil Sedaka taught us all, “breaking up is hard to do.”

So, in honor of Windows Server 2003’s EOL and considering how hard it can be to end a relationship, even with software, we’d like hear some of the craziest stories you’ve got about encounters with software and other technologies being used well past their effective EOL. Ran into a machine still running Windows 98? Tell us about it! Met a dev who’s still coding on Fortran 77? Shout it out! Found a box running Windows Server 2000 (believe it or not, it’s been five years since it EOL’d)? Let us know!

Use the comments section below to tell us your story by Friday, May 29, and we’ll be sure to give you 250 thwack points to say thanks.

45 Comments
clubjuggle
Level 13

We had a couple Windows 200 machines that were needed for a few particular applications for about 2 years past the end of extended support. I was asked to put in a rule on our web filter blocking all Internet access to and from those computers to help mitigate the risk.

Jfrazier
Level 18

We have 3 Win 2k3 servers supporting an old legacy tool that has been out of support for a number of years from back in the day when everyone was cutting back to minimal staff and support....  Migration is a project on our plate...along with everything else. 

jkump
Level 15

That's a good idea.  It looks like we are going to have about a dozen W2003 servers hanging around past the date.  Might borrow your idea about the firewall rule.  Maybe we need to move them to a separate VLAN while we are at.   hmmm.. The possibilities.

mr.e
Level 14

I propose a minute of silence for Windows Server 2003 on May 29th.  Say from 10:00 to 10:01 am GMT ?

RIP-WS20031 (1).jpg\

Then, at 10:01, we can sing the song Celebration, from Kool & the Gang.  For those that were not even born back then, here's a YouTube link so you can learn it... 

Kool & The Gang - Celebration - YouTube

jkump
Level 15

Nice and tasteful!

mcam
Level 14

excellent song!

billyjbryant
Level 10

We have a server still in use in our environment that is actively running Windows Server 2000 and has a Legacy version of Cisco Call Manager (3.x) running on it.  It's the oldest piece of hardware in our data center and it scares the shit out of me every day, but despite its age, it just keeps chugging along. 

Past that, we are still using IBM's Tivoli Event Manager for an Event Management Dashboard/Console.

P.S. Does any one have any thoughts on a good replacement for Event/Alert Management console/dashboard that gives mean time to acknowledge slas?

Radioteacher
Level 14

Sounds good but I would play "I Just Want to Celebrate" by Rare Earth.

Until July 14 I will play "When will you Die" by They Might Be Giants.

In the song they ask over and over "When will you die?"  They want to know the date so they can celebrate that wonderful day.

For Windows 2003 the date is July 14, 2015!

Some of the Lyrics.....

But there's one thing

That everyone's wondering

When will you die?

Schoolchildren stay at home (yeah)

And all the banks will close (yeah)

Each year we'll mark the date (yeah)

On which we celebrate (yeaah)

I'd be counting down the days

Until the lovely one

On which you're gone

On that promised morning

We will wake and greet the dawn

Knowing that your wicked life is over

And that we will carry on

We'll exhale

We'll high five

We will know at last

How great it is to be alive

We'll be lining up

And buying tickets

And then we'll be jumping

Up and down on your grave

Radioteacher
Level 14

W2K...oh yea...your not the only company running this.

dragoon231
Level 11

At my last job when XP's time came up we set a policy in place that would not allow desktops to connect to network, nor allow laptops to connect to the network or our portal.  We started planning a year in advance (surprising considering it was an underfunded state department) to switch users to Windows 7, so they had plenty of time, but you know how stubborn users can be about what they are used to.  We had to put our foot down though.

shawn_b
Level 12

I still got Windows XP desktops . . . that is as wild as I let my network get

lots of Server 2003 servers to change out now

nenea
Level 9

Still have to work on 2003 server support for some clients. cos of some old accounting packages which i believe should have been upgraded or discarded.

But noooo, they can't spend more money on getting new hardware and software that can support latest and well patched updates and secure OSes and it is very tiring, but we got to endure, cos customer is king always.

dragoon231
Level 11

I feel your pain.  Good thing about healthcare though is HiTech HIPAA.  Throw a few compliance rules in regard to security and I can usually get things done.  My motto has always been what any tech would go by, "if it ain't broke....don't fix it".  I try to explain I don't want to create more work for myself than I need to, but when it comes to patients trusting their information is safe there is no discussion.

mr.e
Level 14

Believe it or not, my dentist's office had one of its computers running Windows for Workgroups!!!  Now, that was scary... 

When I saw that, I started to look around his office for an Abacus...     download (1).jpg

jkump
Level 15

This post got me thinking.  So, I checked on some of my old consultant work and found out that one agriculture establishment still had their Lantastic network running.  That took me back!!!

dargrotek
Level 9

Well, we have a few NT machines off the network running specialist equipment but I have in my own personal collection an old 486 box.

Don't recall what exactly but it's about the same size as a micro ATX, one tiny 3cm fan on the case and a passive heat sink on the inside for the cpu.

It didn't have an OS on it when I stumbled across it, and it's been quite a struggle to find a floppy image of Linux old enough to put on it.

Luckily I have no shortage of floppys kicking around here!

I'm keeping it till it's worth a small fortune.

theuns.jonck
Level 8

We had a few applications that couldn't run on 2008 when 2k3 EOL was looming. Ended up putting them on 2K12 without issues.

Embedded XP is the next bugger to get out of the way :-)

jkump
Level 15

I did not think about Embedded XP in our discussions towards removing XP and 2003.  Of course, with over 300 XP workstations to still migrate.... who has time to think about the Embedded stuff.

mr.e
Level 14

By the way, newer does not necessarily mean better.

I remember a meeting, about 15 years ago, when our CIO told us we'd be migrating away from Novell NetWare to Windows 2000. To be honest, I was with the ones that freaked a bit.  After all, I had been managing NetWare for over a decade and the O/S was very stable and virus issues were almost unheard of.  Server patching? Maybe once or twice per year.

15 years later, I still miss those old NetWare servers -- almost as much as I miss having hair to comb.    I still believe that Novell had a good thing going with NetWare,  they just had very poor marketing strategy -- or maybe they did not even have a strategy. 

download (10).jpg

jangliss
Level 12

I wish I could say I was joking when I took this screen shot... Unfortunately I'm not.

sad_face.png

jkump
Level 15

Ouch, I just travelled back to 1998 and remembered the feeling of getting my Original MCSE. 

xbod
Level 11

Still have 1 2003 server that's hopefully going away soon. 

I support an office that, until this year, used a database that required Access 97.  When I first encountered this situation (nearly 15 years ago), no one had an Office 97 or Access 97 disk.  There was no way to rebuild a client.  I scrounged through my personal junk and found an Office 97 disk and kept it in mint condition ever since.  I had to use it a few times over the years as they got new computers and I had to migrated their database.

Now that they've moved on to a hosted solution, I guess I can retire the disk.

Radioteacher
Level 14

Last year we moved to a 64 bit platform for desktops.....and found one group using Cardfile.exe from Windows 3.1.

Thank goodness it would not work on the new OS!  They were not happy but they did finally moved it to a currently supported solution.

RT

Cardfile.png

Cardfile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

techbender
Level 10

We're in the process of trying to decommission all of our 2003 servers right now. Folks don't want to give up their servers though and are making it hard on us. We told them a year ago this was going to happen but they're still trying to hold on to them. People get attached to their servers and name them like a pets.

goldengal256
Level 8

Just two months ago I finished upgrading the last Windows 2003/SQL Server 2000 instances for one of my clients -- we jumped from SQL Server 2000 to 2014. And yes, I do have a process and a checklist tool that I'd be happy to share if you're contemplating doing something as nutty as that!

Cheers,

Michelle Poolet

Zachman-Certified™ Enterprise Architect

Mount Vernon Data Systems LLC

Golden Colorado 80401    303-526-1839 

Michelle@MountVernonDataSystems.com

Radioteacher
Level 14

goldengal256‌ what a jump "SQL Server 2000 to 2014".  I had a flashback to a migration I did in 1995 from Novell Netware ELS 2.2 to Netware 4.0 NDS.  I it was my first migration and took about eight hours.

Later when I got more experience I realized I could have just rebuilt their whole environment from scratch in Netware 4.0 in less than four hours.

That when I came up with "Experience, if you are really working at it, is gathered one year at a time."

RT

jkump
Level 15

After 33 years in IT, I appreciate the quote and may use it in the future!

terryedwards519
Level 10

Still a handful of Windows 2003 machines running legacy software where the developer no longer exists and we no longer had the installation software so I can't even try to move it. In those cases we have P2V everything that we can and keep trying to get the business to purchase replacement software.

jbakervt
Level 8

Still two damned XP machines in operation here... ugh. I even have replacements ready to go, but waiting on programmers.

I did, only 4 years ago, run into a Windows 98 computer, running 24/7, with mission-critical connectivity to clients provided by modem. Yikes.

scuff
Level 13

Too many occurrences of Windows 98 or Windows 95 workstations still in micro business (eg car mechanics) and manufacturing (running application software that controls machinery) because the owners have not sought to find an alternative application or the machinery manufacturer hasn't kept up with the times. First step is to make sure they are not connected to the internet, ever. Second step is to help them find another IT provider.

jkump
Level 15

A plan from someone in the trenches.  And some of those CNC machines are really, really proprietary.  Hard to get small businesses to move forward as what they have still works. 

scuff
Level 13

Faxes still work, but people have moved to email. Oh, wait. How many micro businesses still fax?

maria.bungau
Level 16

Hey guys,

Thanks again for sharing your stories. 250 thwack points just went to your accounts.

isdc1316
Level 8

We actually have 2 Windows 2000 servers still running, admittedly both are now VMs. We also still have a SQL2000 database!

ecklerwr1
Level 19

donottouch.jpg

Just do not touch that cable on the w2k3 server over there o.O!

Jfrazier
Level 18

That just begs someone to touch them....

mr.e
Level 14

It seems like Spidey paid a visit to your LAN room!!! 

jkump
Level 15

The trouble light is a nice touch! 

goldengal256
Level 8

I simply am not believing that it could get this bad...

solaradmin
Level 13

Today, I was asked to download server 2003 32bit from Microsoft and burn it to a disk.

Then i was asked for a key. Surprisingly still available.

**Forgot to mention we had to get a floppy drive to load the raid controller drivers for  the machine.

jkump
Level 15

That takes me back.  Were you even able to find a floppy drive that works?  I figured by now the only working floppy drives were in the Arduino Floppy Drive Music machines.   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_Q6jMUdfYc

solaradmin
Level 13

We made a call to helpdesk, they brought us a case of floppys and a floppy reader/writer

Sometimes pack rats are a good thing...

ecklerwr1
Level 19

Some of those plug and play usb floppies are handy for this purpose.

usb_floppy.jpg

Jfrazier
Level 18

These USB floppy drives work well...these are cheap in comparison to when these were the only game in town.

clubjuggle
Level 13

Those are awesome!