Google announced yesterday that its Google Drive software won't support Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003 anymore starting January 1, 2017.
Google Drive is the company's official desktop program that enables Google users to manage and sync files between their devices and the Google cloud.
Today, we’re announcing that on January 1, 2017 we will discontinue support for the Google Drive desktop app on Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003 since these platforms are no longer actively supported by Microsoft. The Google Drive desktop app (officially: "Google Drive for Mac/PC") will continue to function on these platforms, but will not be actively tested and maintained.
Two things are particularly interesting about the announcement. First, that the programs will continue to work.
Google won't add a kill-switch to those programs or change compatibility information. This means that Windows users on XP, Vista or Server 2003 will be able to continue using the software for the foreseeable future.
Google notes that it won't support, maintain or actively test new releases on these platforms. It seems likely that things will fail to work eventually, but not right away because of that.
The second interesting observation is that Google mentions that these platforms are no longer actively supported by Microsoft. While that is indeed the case for Windows XP and Server 2003, it is not for Windows Vista.
Windows Vista is in its extended support cycle currently which means that it will receive security updates just like any other supported version of Windows. Vista's extended support cycle ends in April 2017, but until that day, it is actively supported by Microsoft.
Granted, Microsoft has all but forgotten about Vista and ignores it for the most part. Still, security updates are released on each Patch Tuesday, and will be until April 2017.
Google recommends that Google Drive users on these platforms "move to a newer version of Windows to continue using" the Google Drive desktop app.
Google Drive customers who run unsupported versions of Windows may use third-party clients instead should the official Google Drive desktop program stop working at one point.
There is the free version of MultiCloud for instance, and you can always use the web version of Google Drive to manage files. The latter is not super comfortable for large file operations, but it is better than not being able to access the files at all anymore.