Windows 7 has quietly dropped support for CPUs without SSE2 compatibility
Users that have old machines (or machines with old CPUs, to be precise) running Windows 7 for basic productivity or dedicated server hosting purposes should take note, as an update to Windows 7 from this past May could cause quite a few headaches in the near future.
As reported by Martin Brinkmann at gHacks, the official page for Windows 7 update KB4103718 from May 8th, 2018 has stated for users to "upgrade [their] machines with a processor that supports SSE2 or virtualize those machines" in relation to a stop error (Blue Screen of Death) that occurs on computers with CPUs that don't support Streaming Single Instructions Multiple Extensions 2 (SSE2).
What this amounts to is Microsoft recommending users with non-SSE2 compatible machines to either upgrade to continue receiving security updates until the company discontinues support for Windows 7 in 2020 or leave their machines at risk unless they install an alternative operating system without this constraint. However, this eliminates later versions of Windows from the running, as Windows 8 and later require CPUs with SSE2 support. This leaves alternatives such as operating systems that are built upon the Linux kernel (such as Linux Mint) to fill in the gap for those who are not willing or able to upgrade the CPUs in their machines.
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Windows 7 is the successor to https://alternativeto.net/software/windows-vista/ . The new OS introduces a compelling combination of welcome innovations and much-needed polish. Windows 7 is built with the codebase from Vista and is a minor upgrade (6.❯ Alternatives to Windows 7