A legacy-free PC is a type of personal computer that lacks a floppy drive, legacy ports, and an Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) bus (or sometimes, any internal expansion bus at all). According to Microsoft, "The basic goal for these requirements is that the operating system, devices, and end users cannot detect the presence of the following: ISA slots or devices; legacy floppy disk controller (FDC); and PS/2, serial, parallel, and game ports." The legacy ports are usually replaced with Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. A USB adaptor may be used if an older device must be connected to a PC lacking these ports. According to the 2001 edition of Microsoft's PC System Design Guide, a legacy-free PC must be able to boot from a USB device.
These computers were introduced around 2000 after the prevalence of USB and broadband internet made many of the older ports and devices obsolete. They largely took the form of low-end, consumer systems with the motivation of making computers less expensive, easier to use, and more stable and manageable. Apple's iMac was the first example, drawing much criticism for its lack of a floppy drive, but its success popularized USB itself. Dell's WebPC was an early less-successful Wintel legacy-free PC. The Dell Studio Hybrid, Asus Eee Box and MSI Wind PC are examples of later, more-successful Intel-based legacy-free PCs.
Doing away with older, usually more bulky ports and devices allows a legacy-free PC to be much more compact than earlier systems and many fall into the nettop or All in One form factor. Netbooks and Ultrabooks could also be considered a portable form of a legacy-free PC. Legacy-free PCs can be more difficult to upgrade than a traditional beige box PCs, and are more typically expected to be replaced completely when they become obsolete. Many legacy-free PCs include modern devices that may be used to replace ones omitted, such as a memory card reader replacing the floppy drive.
As the first decade of the 21st century progressed, the legacy-free PC went mainstream, with legacy ports removed from commonly available computer systems in all form factors.
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