Windows 98 support shifts to CD

Windows 98 support shifts to CD

Summary: Windows 98 will only be supported by Microsoft for another week; after that, users will have to rely on a free CD containing hints and tips

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When Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 98 support next Friday, the company will make available a free CD designed to help users "make the most of " the ageing operating system without any further assistance from the software giant.

Six years after its launch, Windows 98 is still used by around a quarter of Web surfers. Microsoft announced last year that it would stop supporting Windows 98 from 15 January 2004, meaning that millions of users will soon be left exposed when new exploits and vulnerabilities are discovered.

Lars Ahlgren, senior marketing manager at Microsoft, told ZDNet UK that the CD, which has been created in partnership with Future Publishing's Windows magazine, will provide hints and tips, technical content and exclusive Knowledge Base (KB) articles. The content will also be published on Microsoft's support Web sites. "We have made an arrangement with Future Publishing so we get Windows 98 content that is not just technical, it is also about how to get more from your Windows 98 machine. For those who have difficulties getting on the Web or want the content on a CD, we will ship them the CD for free if they call us or register on the Web," said Ahlgren.

Ahlgren also admitted that Microsoft is hoping to keep Windows 98 users' expectations low, so if there is a serious security breach that the company decides to fix, they will be pleasantly surprised. He said "it remains to be seen" if there will be further updates, but "we want to set expectations and over-deliver rather than under-deliver."

Users who need to do a clean install of Windows 98 will, for the moment, still be able to connect with the Windows Update service in order to install the most recent patches, but the future of this service is far from clear: "We have not yet made a decision when we are going to remove Windows update. We realise there is a huge install base out there so we will try to be as open and loud as possible with our decision," he said.

Ahlgren pointed out that certain patches released in the future could be generic and work on all Windows operating systems, including Windows 98. In that case, an update would be possible: "If the patch is a generic Windows patch that applies to Windows 98, it will be available," he said.

Before Microsoft does remove the live update function for Windows 98, users will be able to download and burn the patches onto a CD in case they are needed at a later date.

Last month, Microsoft began testing a security CD that was designed to enable users of older versions of Windows with low bandwidth connections to update their systems.

Microsoft said the Windows 98 support CD and the new content on its support Web sites should be available from 15 January 2004.

Topic: Operating Systems

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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7 comments
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  • Your Corporate decision SUCKS! For those of us who are on fixed incomes (Sr. people) who find their system works OK for them, it means buying into a new system to keep abreast of updates. This is no cheap step for us.

    Surely you can come up with something fairer, as the next step up will probably fall into the same category within a year or two.

    Help us be computer literate without being scalped.
    anonymous
  • For the fixed income senior?... Try Walmart's online [buy] only, internet ready computers, complete with monitor, Lindows pre-installed... for under $500. They can even run windows [only] software I hear.
    anonymous
  • In view of the large amount of Windows 98 users, myself included. I believe it essential that Microsoft are still available for severe problems. The CD will be great for general maintenance. But due to the amount of software that is STILL being used out there by Industry and home users, which is NOT compatible with later versions of windows, ie: ME, and XP. Microsoft must as i said previously, continue to provide assistance.
    anonymous
  • I think it stinks that bill gates can have so much control in what is supported on computers world wide , why doesn't some one else start writing programs and go in compertition against microsoft, this would make it much better for everybody, I have only had 98se for three years, and am going to keep it for as long as it keeps on going
    cheers
    dick
    where can I get the free 98 se support CD please
    anonymous
  • There are a lot of peopel writng programs for Linux.
    However therev is a large avriety of "distrubutions" ramging from total serviece "Linspire (www.linspire.com, formerly Lindows, but brand forbidden in Finland Netherlands, Belgium by Micro$oft),
    Also Suse (www.suse.de) comes with a new personal system for Euro 29 (Enlish version 9.1 soon, German released 24-4-2004).
    I will try it out.
    anonymous
  • when I posted "windows 98 sucks" it was because Bill Gates wants us to go to the windows registry to solve problems. I did and now I have even more problems. I am a senior also who is trying to reenter the job market by having an marketable knowledge of windows and it is becoming totally out of control. Is there a site where some one will assist those who need further help with windows 98. This cut off was too fast. Even though I am using pieces of other Microsoft products they are still connected to windows 98's basic components.
    I think this is why the jerk who sent the worm loose did his deed.
    anonymous
  • "I think it stinks that bill gates can have so much control in what is supported on computers world wide , why doesn't some one else start writing programs and go in compertition against microsoft"

    Its called building your own business from the ground up and doing what you feel is right for your products and consumers. If you dislike Microsoft so much, why don't you use Linux or something else? I'm sure all those open source people will be able to support your Linux OS for YEARS to come. (sarcasm)

    If you're so high and mighty - you go into competition with Microsoft and see how well you can do.
    anonymous