I would like to know if questions about Windows 2000 are on-topic for this site.

I saw a meta question from almost 4 years ago asking if Windows XP is on-topic for this site.

  • One of the answers indicated that XP still had over 5% market share at that time and therefore it cannot be considered retro. But Windows 2000's market share is so low that the linked article doesn't even list it.
  • Another answer said that "XP marks the edge of its technology type which is still common with that of Windows 7". That suggests Windows 2000 may not have that much in common with Windows 7.
  • The answer also said that "XP would need to be in End of Life status for at least 6 years before anything could be considered retro." The extended support end date for Windows 2000 was July 13, 2010.

Also, questions about Windows 98 are considered on-topic (and there is a tag). I see that the earliest Windows 98 question was posted in 2016, 18 years after Windows 98 came out, and 10 years after its end of life. It is now almost 21 years since Windows 2000 came out and 10 years past its end of life, so could Windows 2000 also be on-topic?

4 Answers 4


I’d argue that Windows 2000 questions are prima facie on-topic.

Quoting Robert Cartaino’s “foundational” answer to What constitutes "retro"?,

Retrocomputing is the use of older computer hardware and software in modern times.

Following that premise, I would consider a retro-system as anything that a reasonable person would not consider contemporary to what is modernly available.

I tend to think of this with a slight variant: I consider “retro” as anything that wouldn’t be used for production purposes in most cases; put another way, anything that would in most cases only be used out of curiosity, or to re-live a by-gone era of computing.

As far as I’m concerned, Windows 2000 is now in “out of curiosity” territory. I also think it’s potentially interesting for Retro.SE because resources describing it are disappearing off the Internet, and most primary users of Windows 2000 have by now forgotten most if not all of its quirks, and its place in computing history.

If we care about parallels with other topics on Retro.SE, it’s contemporaneous with Windows 98 (although dates on their own aren’t a primary criterion), and it’s technically very similar to a combination of Windows 98 and Windows NT 4, both of which are on topic.

There are some limitations to this; for example, I would say that anything which is done in the same way on current versions of Windows as it was on Windows 2000 would be more likely off-topic than on-.

  • I would think the last paragraph is the most the most important here and must result in a clear NO, but about Wind2k at whole. As Another-Dave mentioned, Win2k is the direct ancestor of today's Windows - most important next to all of its interfaces are still supportet. Making OT related to version numbers of the very same software is a classic slippery slope. So, I take the conclusion from above that Win2K as such is clearly off-topic - unless a question is about something absolute unique to Win2k - the exception to this rule. Personally I would still ask such rather on SO than here
    – Raffzahn
    Dec 29, 2020 at 21:55
  • I’m explicitly trying to avoid making an argument based on the version number. The slippery slope extends uphill as well as downhill, and your argument can be used to exclude NT 4 and, why not, NT 3.51 and NT 3.1, and then tangentially (through the UX), Windows 3.x, and then through ancestry again Windows 9x etc. Windows 2000 has more in common with NT 4 than it does with Windows 10. Your argument that “all of its interfaces are still supported” also applies to Windows 95 and Win32s, and even Windows 3.0 and DOS on 32-bit editions of Windows 10. Dec 30, 2020 at 8:52
  • True, but as further back it goes, as lesser it works. Also, I do believe that there are enough differences between Dos/Win(on DOS)/NT to take each separate. And yes, I do not really see Win NT being fit for RC.SE. In fact, it's the same way as with PCs and/or their CPUs, because they as well do give a gradual evolution. We have a clear yes for a 8086 and a clear no for Threadripper (Do you agree?), but were is the line to be drawn? Personally I'd say after the 486, as 80386 code is still teached at universities (got even a new granddad story about that :) but I'm sure this may differ.
    – Raffzahn
    Dec 30, 2020 at 13:38
  • 1
    Oh, I think we agree more than we disagree on this topic ;-). So yes, DOS, Windows, and NT are different and deserve different categories (but I do think that NT is retro). 8086 is definitely retro, and Threadripper definitely isn’t (we’ll revisit that point in 15 years’ time). The whole sliding scale problem is why I think the purpose angle is useful: teaching x86 development on 386s in a modern-day course isn’t retro, likewise for the many courses in India that use Turbo Pascal on DOS; but building a classic Pentium-based system to run old DOS games is retro IMO. Dec 30, 2020 at 14:51

As far as old Windows versions go, I'm inclined to say the following:

Windows 2000 / ME - Yes
Windows XP - Maybe
Windows Vista - No

I say "Maybe" for XP, because I think retro stuff comes with a certain amount of memory fading and feeling of rediscovery when you try using it again, and XP doesn't quite have it just yet, whereas I barely remembered Windows 2000 was even a thing until I ran across this ("Oh, yeah, the business counterpart to ME."). However, other people may have had enough time to forget it enough to say yes, and if they do say so, I'm not going to make a fuss over it.

I suspect I may be on the slower side for XP, as I didn't stop using it as my daily driver until 2009, when I moved from 64-bit XP to 64-bit Windows 7, and even after that, I haven't entirely stopped using it, as I end up using it a couple of times a year in a VM to use an old scanner which lacks drivers for newer versions of Windows and which doesn't work properly under Linux (everything comes out pink).


I'm afraid not.

Windows 2000 (the same goes for XP, Windows Phone, all that jazz), are more old than retro. Retrocomputing.SE is more about things that are "distinctly old", not "just past end-of-life".

As for Windows 98, I suppose a case for ontopicness could be made on the grounds that '98 is architecturally quite different from 2000. So 95, 98 and ME are all in this "only just on topic" group IIRC.


I'd say "not". Windows V5.0 is just an earlier version of an operating system still being sold today, Windows V10.0.

There have been only two major version changes after V5.x -- V6.x and V10.x.

5.0  Win 2000       
5.1  XP
5.2  Server 2003
6.0  Vista / Server 2008
6.1  Win 7 / Server 2008 R2
6.2  Win 8 / Server 2012
6.3  Win 8.1 / Server 2012 R2
10.1 Win 10 / Server 2016

The versions are not different in any particularly fundamental way.

Are we going to say that for any given software, some versions are retro and some are not?

  • Agreed. Unless it's about something unique to Windows2000 that is not supported by any later Windows, I'd consider it off-topic. And even with such it might be better hosted on SO. As OmarL mentions, W2k is old, but not retro.
    – Raffzahn
    Dec 29, 2020 at 21:49

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