Microsoft Windows has changed a lot in the past 20 years, but there are many areas where it hasn’t. There are still a few visible features in Windows 11 that date back to Windows XP from 2001, or even earlier.
In stark contrast to macOS, which breaks compatibility with legacy software on a semi-regular basis, Windows is designed to break as few old applications and games as possible. That has many advantages, but it also means some Windows components haven’t significantly changed in years, as altering them could cause a chain reaction of old applications breaking. For example, even though Internet Explorer is slowly being removed from Windows 10, the rendering engine is used by some Windows software and won’t be removed anytime soon.
There are also some Windows components that Microsoft could modernize without risking backwards compatibility. That has been a focus for Windows 11, as apps like Notepad and Paint finally received much-needed makeovers, but there are still more system components that are the software equivelent of living fossils.
Windows was originally built to run on top of DOS,…
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