Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope

Legacy may refer to any of the following:

legacy hardware device

1. Legacy describes old software or hardware that's outdated but still in use. With a legacy hardware device, this commonly indicates that the device contains older hardware, such as jumpers or dip switches, to configure the device. Many programs and computers may support or have limited support for legacy software and devices for backward compatibility.


See our obsolete page for hardware and computer-related equipment that's also considered legacy.

What is a legacy system?

A legacy system describes a computer that's running older hardware and software. For example, a computer running MS-DOS released in the 1980s is considered a legacy system.

What is legacy media?

The term legacy media describes any media rarely used. For example, a floppy diskette is considered legacy media because it's no longer used and has been replaced by other media, like a CD (compact disc) and USB (universal serial bus) thumb drive.

Media becomes legacy when a better solution with more storage capacity, faster performance, and easier to use is introduced.

When is something considered legacy?

With computers, something becomes legacy when the product meets some or all of the following.

  • The product hits its EOL (end-of-life) and is no longer supported by a manufacturer or developer.
  • The latest operating systems no longer support the product or its features.
  • The product is over ten years old.
  • The product's manufacturing or developing company goes out of business.

Why you may not want to use legacy hardware and software

It's a difficult choice to upgrade when you have a legacy computer, hardware, or software running reliably for years. However, there are many reasons why you should not run legacy hardware or software, especially if you're using legacy hardware or software to run a business.

Loss of support

The developer or manufacturer no longer supports legacy products or offers support at a high cost.

No longer updated

With the loss of support, if problems are found, they're no longer fixed or patched.

Security risk

Most problems with legacy hardware and software are not fixed or patched. If security vulnerabilities are found, they remain open and could compromise the computer, company network, and important or private data.

Increased difficulty in maintaining support

As things become older and not used as much, fewer people know how to use and troubleshoot the legacy product. If problems occur, finding people who know how to fix them is more complex and expensive.

More complex or impossible to replace

If the legacy product or part of the product goes bad, it can be difficult (sometimes impossible) to find the necessary parts to fix the product.

2. With a game, Legacy is the name of an early 90s game. See our Legacy game page for further information.

Abandonware, Hardware terms, Obsolete, Software terms, Update