Re: Sounds like a winner
"But Microsoft wouldn't deliberately degrade these OSs would they?"
My experience is that they already have done.
For testing purposes, I have maintained a number of machine images for various OSes over the last decade or so. They are "clean" images in the sense that they contain only the basic OS. If I actually want to use them, I make a copy of the disc image and install whatever I want on the copy, then discard the copy after I've finished with it. The only action that the pristine images see is that they are exposed to Windows Update every month or two. A fairly easy life for an OS, you might have thought.
Near the end of XP's life, the XP images were taking half an hour or more to crawl through Windows Update. Perhaps the accumulated cruft of over a decade of patches was finally beginning to take its toll, I might have thought ... except that I'd seen this before.
My Vista images showed the same symptoms after just 2 or 3 years, to the extent that they eventually updated themselves into a state of unbootability. Faced with the choice of re-creating them from scratch and re-applying several years of patches, or just not supporting Vista anymore, I initially took the former option but after the second or third repetition of this self-inflicted death I just gave up on Vista, about a year before giving up on XP.
I've been seeing similar slow-downs on my Win7 images for a couple of years now and one of them turned up its toes the other month. I haven't replaced it. I don't honestly believe that MS are giving it any love. It is "out of support" in all but name.
Windows Update is a deeply, deeply, crap piece of software that is slowly killing off all of Microsoft's OSes. Win10 is currently offering a temporary respite, since the Win7 images that I've allowed to upgrade have lost about 10GB of disc usage and knocked about half an hour off the time taken to apply updates. However, I expect it to "grow old and fat" in the same way, and Microsoft's proud boast that this is the last ever release (because they are moving to rolling updates) scares me. For the last 15 years, a completely new release from a clean ISO has been the cure for MSI-related sclerosis. Are we/they about to lose that?