Microsoft has extended support for Windows 98, Windows 98 SE and Windows ME.
The software giant has extended support for the operating systems until 30 June, 2006. During that time paid over-the-phone support will be available, and "critical" security issues will be reviewed and "appropriate steps" taken.
Support for the Windows 98 family of operating systems was scheduled to end on Friday, with support for Windows ME due to expire in December this year.
"Microsoft made this decision to assist our customers worldwide who are still dependent upon these operating systems and to provide Microsoft more time to communicate its product lifecycle support guidelines in a handful of markets -- particularly smaller and emerging markets," said Microsoft Australia's senior Windows desktop product marketing manager, Danny Beck.
The support expiration dates for all three of the older operating systems was made the same in the interests of clarity, he said.
"We made the decision to also lengthen support for Windows 98 and Windows ME customers through the same date in order to provide a clear and consistent date for support conclusion for all of these older products," Beck explained.
"Microsoft also wanted to bring Windows 98 SE into compliance with the company's current lifecycle policy for new products, which provides for support for seven years instead of the original four," he added.
ZDNet Australia's staff reported from Sydney.