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If you are user of old Intel hardware, be sure to create a backup of your drivers or BIOS updates as Intel will no longer make them available for download once they reach end of life.


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When an Intel driver or BIOS reaches end of life, the driver, BIOS, or firmware update has historically still been available for download, but would no longer be updated to fix any security vulnerabilities or bugs.

'As this Software relates to “End of Life” products, it may contain security vulnerabilities. Intel does not intend to offer updates to mitigate any security vulnerability in this Software, whether currently known or discovered in the future. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY OF ANY KIND INCLUDING WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NONINFRINGEMENT, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Intel does not warrant or assume responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links or other items within the Software.'

It has been noted by users on the Vogons forum, a site dedicated to getting software running on older hardware, that Intel has started to delete downloads from their Download Center when the software reaches end of life.

When you visit a download that has been marked for end of life, a text alert will be displayed at the top of the page stating what date the download will no longer be available. For example, this bios update will no longer be available after November 22nd, 2019.

'End Of Life - This download, BIOS Update [SOX5810J.86A] 5600, will no longer be available after November 22, 2019 and will not be supported with any additional functional, security, or other updates. All versions are provided as is. Intel recommends that users of BIOS Update [SOX5810J.86A] 5600 uninstall and/or discontinue use as soon as possible.'

When examining various downloads offered by the Intel Download Center, BleepingComputer has noted that that this practice has been going on for some time and affects all Linux and Windows downloads including network drivers, bluetooth drivers, Aduino drivers, graphics drivers, BIOS, etc.

For example, this Intel Graphics driver was removed on Sept. 13, 2019 and when visiting the download page, users will simply be shown a 'Page not found' error. Sept. 13, 2019 is the oldest end of life date that BleepingComputer could find being listed in Google's cached search results.

This was noted by old hardware programmer Foone Turing, who noticed the deletion of old drivers in September as well.


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Why does this matter?

You may be asking yourself why this matter?

When new hardware is released, older hardware goes down in price dramatically. This allows users who do not need high-performing hardware to get components at very low prices that can be used to build servers for tasks that do not require a lot of resources.

For example, a local file sharing or storage server, reverse proxies, private VPN servers, or even simple media servers.

In order to get older components working with new operating systems, though, you need their drivers. By removing drivers for older hardware, it makes it difficult to get these components working with newer versions of operating systems.

So if you have older Intel hardware that you plan on using in the future, be sure to make a backup of your drivers, as they most likely wont be available at some point.

If your download is already gone, then you may be able to find it in this backup of Intel's FTP site from 2014 that is hosted on archive.org.

H/T Ycombinator's Hacker News

Update 11/18/19: Added Foone's tweet from September about the same concerns.

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