Long live the (Windows) king!

Long live the (Windows) king!

Summary: In another era, with the demise of anyone as long-lived -- in 'computer years' -- as Windows 98, they might have said 'The king is dead, long live the king!'  To be sure, the Windows 98 'king' has been ailing for a long time, and should have been put out of its misery long ago!

TOPICS: Windows

In another era, with the demise of anyone as long-lived -- in 'computer years' -- as Windows 98, they might have said 'The king is dead, long live the king!'  To be sure, the Windows 98 'king' has been ailing for a long time, and should have been put out of its misery long ago! 

Of course, the new 'king', Windows XP, is getting pretty long in the tooth as well, and while the new 'prince' (Windows Vista) is showing promise, it may not live up to Windows XP's reputation for quite some time to come! 

I've been an 'early adopter' throughout most of my professional career and through three generations of workstations (from a 120MHz Pentium to an 866MHz Pentium III) I have tried to like Windows 98 -- I really have.  But I never found Windows 98 to be particularly stable.  In fact, I downgraded a Pentium 120 to Windows 95 before moving to Windows NT 4 rather than put up with the instability of Windows 98. 

In 2002, I even upgraded to Windows XP on an under-powered 366MHz 128MB Pentium II system rather than tolerate Windows 98's sluggish performance and overall instability. 

In short, I do not understand what all this 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' is about.  This announcement has been anticipated since the first time Microsoft tried to withdraw support in January 2004.  It's not like any Windows 98 users are being caught with their pants down!

It's been estimated that there are 50 to 70 million users will have to upgrade to Windows XP in order to keep getting security updates.  Whether these numbers are in the ballpark or are wildly inflated remains to be seen but I would bet that the majority of those users are either not connected to the Internet or their connections are dial-up connections -- where the security risk is dramatically lower.  And, if those end users are anything like the end users I know, their Windows 98 installations are not anywhere near up-to-date anyway. 

To be sure, there are those out there asking why they should have to upgrade something that still works -- but they don't really have to.  These users have been running Windows 98 since sometime between 1998 and 2001.  Which means they have been running Windows 98 for at least five years, and perhaps as many as eight.  (Most people don't own a TV that long!)  If they have been as conscientious as they should have been, they have been enjoying free security updates over that entire period. 

And what exactly is Microsoft asking these users to do?  One thing...  Microsoft is asking them to spend $100 for a Windows XP Home (SP2) upgrade.  That comes out to about $20 per year for security updates since 2001, when Windows XP first shipped. 

This is cheap by any measure and any computer manufactured since 2000 is more than capable of running Windows XP so the number of people who have to buy a new computer to run Windows XP is very small indeed -- basically limited to anyone who upgraded from Windows 95 in 1998 or who owns a sub-300MHz system.  Some may want to add memory but PC133 memory is VERY INEXPENSIVE. 

Yes, I know that the Linux zealots will remind me that Linux is a 'free' alternative to Windows XP but anyone still running Windows 98 doesn't have the stomach for installing their own OS and Linux support is anything but robust for the uninitiated. 

It's time for Windows 98 users to stop their whining and move on -- upgrade or not!  Microsoft has more than kept up their end of the bargain! 

Topic: Windows

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  • Software is really non-perishable....

    Software is really non-perishable....

    While 98 was far from perfect, for some it is far better than XP. "the most secure system yet" as advertised. A "Consumer" system with raw sockets and 65000 open ports?

    There a quite a few people out there who use a computer only an hour or two a day and then only for solitare & AOL there needs are simple, have no need for newer hardware, probably have a PIII or K6 and probably serves then adequately.

    With a third party firewall & alternate browser Firefox, Opera or Seamonkey they really have no need until run into hardware dying they upgrade to completely new hardware...

    Even with a little third party help or manual manipulation you can remove or disable many of the offending MS Programs that cause much of the Stability & Malware problems.
    ROM2 ---(Revenge of Mozilla 2)
    Or manually changing the file types and/or hacking the reg.

    98, NT & 2k will be used by some for quite awhile, as it will still keep working as well as they ever did whether MS supports them or not... probably better

    It is ashame you almost got through the whole blog without making a stab at Linux. Why is it that any who advocate Linux are zealots. Guess your Looking for that kind of Traffic.

    An interesting blog by someone of the same Last name.

    BTW Linux is a great alternative/replacement for any Windows, for those that are interested, I would Recommend PCLinuxOS or SimplyMepis-- The new Mepis uses the Ubuntu repositories and is ready to go with many great apps & tools, only thing you would want to add dcss and that can be done with a simple command.

    You might be surprised how much is there on an installable liveCD.
    • Link again & Tinyurl

      That link again for

      or the tinyurl

      • After being advised of a potential problem ...

        ... the author of article made his first mistake by not re-partitioning and reformatting the hard drive before re-installing Windows XP. Re-installing Windows on an infected machine is a recipe for disaster.

        Regardless, his experience doesn't relate to thir post because he was not a typical user.
        M Wagner
        • That too might have been my procedure as well....

          But Only if XP was really really necessary and in this case it was not.

          Consider unknown but possible variables..

          Was there media or was it a hidden rescue/recovery partition?
          Could that have also been affected?
          Possible re-Activation, WGA issue or re-activation or extra cost.
          Time wasted on activation (phone) and patches & possibly new drivers.
          Possible reinfection. with or without precautions & regular maintenance.
          No Time or tools to properly maintain ongoing.
          Not really Necessary- - most of her main apps were OSS already

          So you seem to automatically excluded him from being "a typical user" because he did not choose XP?

          He is actually aware of the issues with both systems and the needs of his daughter. Apparently is also responsible for the Admin & maintenance of his family systems and made a logical choice for his families needs, based on benefit & value not marketshare.

          You know XP or even Vista is not the be all end all of systems, just another marketing push and for a lot of people not really all that necessary or important.

          I have to wonder
          Have you even bothered to look at any of these that I mentioned or even others? Or have you even worked day to day for an extended period of time with any, or for that matter anything other than MS.

          Really very easy & worth a look. But you need to have an open mind & interest........
          • I know he was not a typical user ...

            ... because he knew enough about operating systems to consider Linux a viable alternative to Windows or Macintosh.

            The fact that he didn't have an open mind about the suitability of Windows as an alternative to his daughter's liking also showed his bias.

            As a matter of fact, I have been in the industry 26+ years and I hold a BS in Physics and an MS in Computer Science.

            I started out programming on IBM mainframes -- the year before the IBM-PC hit the streets.

            I learned UNIX when my manager put a blank Sun SPARCstation with 12MB of RAM on my desk and handed me an installation manual and a 1/4-in tape cartridge.

            My first foray into Linux was a downloaded SlackWare distribution that I installed onto a Toshiba T440SXC laptop in the mid-1990's. There was no KDE or Gnome in those days -- just XFree86 (which had to be hand configured for the display) and some lame user interface.

            Just because I CHOOSE to use a Windows environment on a day-to-day basis does not mean that I lack experience or knowledge or that I am unwilling to look at alternatives which are well suited to the need.
            M Wagner
          • Well

            Maybe I did overreact to the way you used the word "typical"
            as you meant common, as in "path of least resistance".

            I think it is unfortunate that it is "atypical" for someone to consider all the options and weight their benefit & value and make a reasoned choice that is not the path of least resistance.

            But I also think someone with experience like yours should know better and be able to see beyond just marketing agendas, & FUD.

            >> The fact that he didn't have an open mind about the suitability of Windows as an alternative to his daughter's liking also showed his bias. <<

            You are wrong...he clearly says he spent xx time to try and resolve the situtation, and determined it was not really worth the time (and possibly added expense) and other continuing issues. Ultimately he found an easier & simpler solution.

            I Think it is rather humorous for you to suggest he should have deferred to her preference, when she has no idea or experience, but because of that lack would have chosen the typical path. She obviously does not need and really does not care as she could have taken it to someone or anyone else.

            Point being that MS & Windows is really not that necessary for anything. If there was a little parity in the marketplace many more would also see that.

            Unrelated... Our backgrounds are similar.

            You like I or anyone else are free to choose and have any opinions & bias they like. I am somewhat surprised by yours.
            As I would think you would know better or at least have a much broader view. And strangely I expect a tech site to be a little less marketing & PR and more tech. Bias & opinion is to be expected, but only with Objective research & analysis.

            You may have had various experience(s) with Linux, but from your blogs & posts, it would appear not enough to comment or compare to anything with any real insight or value. Same goes for Ou & Bott. If you have no real interest stick to what you are familiar. (no offense intended)

            OTOH If you are interested. You can easily get a liveCD and see for yourself, and update your knowledge/experience/skill set. Again for casual, general & even professionals I recommend SimplyMepis, PCLinuxOS or Kanotix/Knoppix. A quick list of most LiveCD's & their Description/function, downloads/mirrors etc.

            BTW what do you think of ReactOS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReactOS
            as a 98 replacement.
    • You forget who you are dealing with.

      Linux may be fine for computer geeks such as yourself, but for the average Joe who hardly knows how to do anything on acomputer but play solitare and read e-mail there is no way on God's green Earth they will be able to install and use Linux no matter how much you scream it's better. And 98% of people are average Joes.

      I don't consider myself any kind of "expert" but I am refered to as such by many people where I live because I know many times more than they do about how their computers work. The amount of ignorance people have about something they spend hundreds maybe even thousands of $ on amazes me. You need to get out in the REAL world before epousing about the benefits of Linux over Windows.

      There's and old saying about teaching a man to fish, except in you would just toss him the pole and bait and say "good luck" and leave and hope he figures it out for himself.
      • Get the facts.

        Expert or not, you don't know a thing about modern Linux. Before you start talking about what the "average joe" can install, consider this: my 10 year old twin boys were capable of installing Linspire. They're not technical gurus of any stripe. Furthermore, with the Click-n-Run service, they're able to install new software just by looking through the web catalog and clicking the green installation icon -- no setup wizards, no fuss.

        Compare that to the typical new Windows user who has no clue as to how to install either, since it was pre-installed; who couldn't get on the internet without someone's help; who, even if they can get a piece of (non-spyware) software downloaded can't find the downloaded file and don't know to double-click it.

        Distributions vary, but where the major popular distributions are concerned. Linux IS EASIER TO USE THAN WINDOWS, hands down.
      • Get the FUDs

        [i]"Linux may be fine for computer geeks such as yourself, but for the average Joe who hardly knows how to do anything on acomputer but play solitare and read e-mail there is no way on God's green Earth they will be able to install and use Linux no matter how much you scream it's better. And 98% of people are average Joes."[/i]

        In that case the average Joes is osrted out. Most Linux distros these days come with Solitaire and email built in. All you have to do is click on the icon.

        [i]"You need to get out in the REAL world before epousing about the benefits of Linux over Windows.

        Perhaps you're right, but you need to get hold of a modern Linux distro - Ubuntu or SuSE with KDE - and have a try. I think you'll find it very different from what you seem to expect.

        Microsoft's campaigns have done a very good job of protrying Linux as a geek's paradise - start by compiling the operating system and then get to the command line. I've never compiled anything on Linux. Everything is pre-packaged and just installs. I don't even have to reboot after the instalation.

        One thing is certain, the usuability and look-and-feel of Linux will continue to improve and it will become easier for the avergae Joe.
      • "install" - no, "use" - yes...

        [i]there is no way on God's green Earth they will be able to install and use Linux no matter how much you scream it's better. And 98% of people are average Joes.[/i]

        Linux installation is too hard for most people, but then again, so is Windows.

        Using Linux is no problem.

        Case study
        I just switched a local cyber-cafe from Windows to Linux because the owners were tired of constantly reinstalling Windows.

        At first we were worried about the customers' reactions so we did half-Windows, half-Linux to see how things went.

        After a couple of days the customers were coming in and asking asking for the Linux machines, even queuing for them, because they were the only machines which weren't constantly popping up adverts for online casinos, etc. Some of them even waited around for Linus machines to become free even though there were Windows machines available.

        These people are most definitely "average Joes". I've sat for a couple of days watching them use the machines and they have [b]no problems at all[/b] with any basic tasks - Internet/Messenger/letter-writing/etc.

        Sometimes you have to show them how to burn a CD or whatever but that was true with Windows/Nero (and I think Linux's CD burning app is easier for them then Nero, which is very complex/bloated these days).

        The cafe is now 100% Linux and the owners are completely happy.

        At the corporate level I expect the exact same thing would be true, ie. Linux would be usable/productive for the average office worker without any special "training".
      • You apparently do not give people enough credit...

        There was a time Linux was just for those interested & involved in Computer Science, but that was like 8 or 10 years ago.

        Today it is not only viable alternative, once you become familiar you find out why & how it can be much better.
        Perfect... no, but all software is a work in progress.

        Please tell me who or what exactly "average" is, and why you want to dump everybody at the bottom of that curve.
        In this case it seems to be more of a marketing demographic.

        Those that are more technically inclined personally or professionally are more likely to be first adopters. They can see the advantages; Technical, Philosophical & Financial.
        They are the types who can easily move back forth between any system or platform, because they understand the basic fundamentals and have a grasp of the abstract.

        Then there are those at the far opposite end of the scale, the casual user who admits they know little or nothing about computers and just wants to use a tool or appliance.
        From their POV it is all the same click an icon launch an app, be it a browser, media player, solitaire game or whatever......

        Unfortunately most often they get there info & advise from that large group in the middle who know no better or different than Windows. And of course not much choice is available in common channels... "Path of Least Resistance"

        Still Any Linux can be setup by an interested & knowledgable party and some can be set up almost automatically by the interested casual user far easier, with far less maintenance and other MS issues, Activation, DRM, WGA, Malware, etc etc..

        So not only are you not giving the benefit of doubt to the average Joe, but you are probably missing out yourself, if you never bother to look. All it takes is an interest & an open mind, it also helps if you do not bring to many preconceived misconceptions. You may be surprised and learn a few things.

        Could not really hurt, they are free and many come as LiveCD's
        I recommend PCLinuxOS, SimplyMepis and Kanotix. But there are hundreds to choose from.. checkout:
        a primer of the major distros and
        which is a site of screenshot tour of many distros.
        Is also a great read on Mondays.....

        But only if you have an interest..........
    • I agree ...

      ... with many of your points but we are talking about users have been unmotivated to move away from Windows 98 for at least five years. They are not going to be motivated to Try Linux Now!

      Oh, and no one said anything about new hardware. There are very few Win98 users out there without the capability to run Windows XP. And, if they can't run Windows XP, they also will not be able to run any modern distribution of Linux.

      These Win98 users may certainly want to take an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude but they should not blame Microsoft for not wanting to give them free support forever. If they are knowledgeable enough to go it alone with third-party tools, more power to them -- but they are NOT the ones complaining!

      I am NOT a Linux basher -- nor do I believe that all Linux users are zealots. But Linux is not Windows and, up until now, Linux vendors have made only half-hearted attempts to make Linux available to the consumer through OEMs on a pre-loaded basis.

      Most of those Windows 98 users who are still out their bought Windows 98 with their hardware and will not upgrade their OS until they finally get around to replacing that hardware. Fine, but don't expect them to upgrade to Linux if they won't upgrade to Windows XP.
      M Wagner
      • Not true

        DSL, Puppy, Austrumi, BeaTrix, Ect Ect are all modern distros. Alos UBUNTU can be ran with XFCE instead of Gnome. Likewise they all run where XP won't.
        Edward Meyers
        • I am sorry to correct you but ...

          ... I am looking at Ubuntu documentation as we speak and they recommend (for a full desktop -- which is whay Windows 98 users are used to) a minimum of 128MB of RAM and a 2GB hard drive. This is virtually identical to Windows XP minimums. While uBuntu claims to run a full desktop at 100MHz, they recommend 300 MHz if you will be doing any file serving. XP does this out of the box.
          M Wagner
          • Yawn... Not even get the FUD material

            You have to run the XFCE desktop with Ubuntu to run it on more limited hardware. If you are running the defualt Gnome desktop- indeed 128 MB of RAM is correct. XFCE, however, uses less resources than Gnome and Gnome uses less resources than KDE.

            JWM, IceWM, and Fluxbox use even less resources than XFCE. With Linux you can choose to use a less resource demanding desktop environment. Something you can not do with Windows.

            In fact DSL (Using IceWM)will run, in GUI mode, on a 486 With 16 MB of Ram.

            Are you telling me that XP will run on that?

            Also XP's min requirements vs Ubuntu's min requirements produce very different experiences.

            1. XP with 128 MB of RAM is not enough for an enjoyable computing experience. I wouldn't recommend running XP with less than 256 MB of RAM. I am talking from experience here as I have a computer that has XP installed that only has 128 MB of RAM and it performs like junk, sluggish and takes forever to load any apps, constantly wants the virtual memory to be expanded (Swap Space), and the computer freezes constantly up while the resources are used up. Ubuntu (If installed right) really will run well on 128 MB of RAM although, like most Linuxes, it runs better if you throw more RAM at it. Ubuntu will run circles around Win XP with 128 MB of RAM. Point of the matter is Windows 9X will outperform XP also. Upgrading to XP on a machine with less than 256 MB of RAM will turn an otherwise decent performing machine into a poor performing one.

            2. The XP listed min requirements is a 200 Mhz and not a 300 Mhz machine. 200 Mhz is an absurdly slow machine for XP as is 300 Mhz. Ubuntu will perform so-so on this (DSL and Puppy are better choices). XP real min requirements is a 500 Mhz machine.

            BTW anything less than 1 Ghz has a street value of less than $100. A computer slower than 500 Mhz is $30 Flea Market/curbside-dumpster special material that most charities won't even take. A new Dell Dimension B110 with monitor starts at $299.

            Your advice to pay $100 to MS, 1/3 of a new XP loaded Dell system, is absurd as the new Dell has 256 Mb of RAM, a 2.56 Ghz processor, 80 GB 7200 RPM HD, CD-RW/DVD combo Drive, and 17" CRT. The new Dell includes XP Home and Word Perfect.

            3. The 2 GB with Windows is only Windows, and no productivity software . The 2 GB for Ubuntu includes Office productivity software (OO2), Email+Calender, Drawing software (Inkscpae), Image Manipulation software (GIMP), Chat Software, a few games, and some other apps included. A Linux distro is not just Linux but most of the apps a user would need to be productive. Also a note here is DSL and Puppy include all of this in 50 MB (DSL) and 71 MB (Puppy) by using lighter apps EG; AbiWord and Gnumeric instead of OO2.

            FYI: I posted this on a 500 MHZ Epia Eden (the C3 processor performs about half as well as the AMD and Intel ones so it is the equivalent of a 250 Mhz CPU- check Tom's hardware if you doubt that) whose hardrive physically failed 6 months ago (And I disconnected the IDE cable- so it isn't even connected) and the power supply fan is audibly grinding away. My OS (Currently Puppy) and data are on a 512 MB USB drive. Are you telling me XP will run on this machine? Tell me how XP can run on a machine without a Hardrive with only a 512 MB USB drive for storage?
            Edward Meyers
          • But you prove my point ...

            The level of your discussion is well beyond the capabilities of most Windows 98 users. Asking them to move to Linux -- even if it is marginally better for a similar experience on old hardware than Windows XP is simply unrealistic.

            According to Microsoft Windows XP requires 233MHz and 64MB of RAM, but they recommend at least 300MHz and 128MB of RAM.

            I am in complete agreement with you that 256MB is the practical minimum. With that much memory, even a 300MHz machine will function acceptably well.

            A 256MB PC133 DIMM can be had for under $50 and Windows XP for under $100. If the Windows 98 user is unwilling to buy a new machine, then this is a very reasonable financial investment for someone who hasn't bought a new computer in five years or more.

            IMO opinion, the Windows 98 user is better off to wait until January and lay down several hundred dollars for a new Vista machine. (Or buy a Vista-Premium-Ready machine today.)

            Would Linux be a viable alternative? Of course -- but most people are not comfortable with that option because (1) no top-tier vendor offers Linux preloaded and (2) many commercial software packages do not run on Linux.

            If those Windows 98 users want to stay right where they are, without any future security updates, that's fine too but they have been on borrowed time since 2004 and the longer they wait to move on to a more stable and secure OS the greater the risk.
            M Wagner
          • Price is not $150- Point stands

            Neither [i](1) no top-tier vendor offers Linux preloaded and (2) many commercial software packages do not run on Linux. [/i] figure in this scenario. Windows 98 can not run current versions of commercial software packages either and we are talking about upgrading/switching the OS on old hardware.

            Xubuntu, Ubuntu with XFCE instead of Gnome, https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Xubuntu , min requiremnts are:

            [i]To run the Desktop CD [b][As a LiveCD][/b] at least 128 megabytes of RAM is required. To use the installed system at least 64 megabytes of RAM is required but 128 is recommended. At least 1.4 gigabytes of disk space is required.[/i]

            Puppy, DSL, and Austrumi have even lower requirements. DSL Min requirements is a 486 with 16 MB of RAM!

            A small/Micro Linux would yield more than a marginal performance increase over XP on legacy hardware. DSL, Austrumi, or Puppy would outperform Windows XP, and also any Full Linux Distro, like SuSE or Ubuntu for basic tasks like text editing/word processing, web browsing, or email. These distros are installable LiveCds focused on providing basic desktop tasks and tend to perform them well at the cost of other features found in a full distro. You boot the LiveCD and if you like it you can install the distro with it's running config to the HD, USB Drive, CD (Puppy can remaster itself on the fly), ect.

            A LiveCD configures and sets up a Linux environment in RAM without installing Linux to the HD. If they can set it to boot from CD and properly setup the Internet settings then they would be fine, however some of these users would not be able to do even this... these same users would not be able to install an upgrade to XP.

            let's really look at the costs of upgrading Windows though;

            MS Windows XP Upgrade $100. The average Windows user who can't install Linux also can't install Windows. So what will they do? Take it to Best Buy's Geek Squad http://geeksquad.com/servicesandpricing/bestbuyprecincts.php . Geek Squad charges $129 to install Windows.

            Memory $50. However again Average Windows user is not going to be able to install memory. BB Geek Squad Installation charge $39.

            Total for keeping your old hardware and upgrading to XP... $318. Total for a new low end Dell is $299.
            Edward Meyers
  • Upside?

    [i]There is one thing that MS really should do: make Win98SE freeware, and make CD images (OEM and Retail) available for download along with a key generator for those who have lost their installation discs and/or cd key certificates.[/i]

    Bill Gates is not, contrary to rumors, running a charity. Microsoft's stockholders would be quite right taking their losses from his hide if he did that.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • A bad idea ...

    You said:

    "There is one thing that MS really should do: make Win98SE freeware, and make CD images (OEM and Retail) available for download along with a key generator for those who have lost their installation discs and/or cd key certificates."

    The problem is that as long as they make any portion of Windows 98/Me available for distribution, they are legally responsible for it and must maintain it. They have only provided securtiy pathces over the last five years out of the goodness of their heart. (Apple doesn't do that for its MacOSX 10.2 users -- and Mac OSX isn't nearly as old as Windows98.)
    M Wagner
    • Really?

      > The problem is that as long as they make any
      > portion of Windows 98/Me available for
      > distribution, they are legally responsible for it
      > and must maintain it.

      Where is that written? And why didn't that apply to DR-DOS (which was released as freeware) or GEOS (same thing) or GEM (same thing)? Why didn't it apply to MS-Word 5.5 for DOS when Microsoft released it for free? Why isn't it being patched? They're still providing it for download.

      Here's the full link:
      and a tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/65puu