US Report: Win 98 service pack to arrive in 1999

Microsoft said it will release its long-awaited service pack for Windows 98 early next year, after beta users get a chance to test drive it.

The service pack will contain fixes to the bugs that have surfaced in the program, including the so-called cross-frame glitch in Internet Explorer and some security problems in the messaging software.

Because of those glitches, and complaints from users that Windows 98 didn't work properly with their hardware, some users hoped to see a service pack earlier. But Microsoft said it gauges the need for service pack on the amount of user feedback it gets, and it delayed plans to release one earlier. The service pack will be given to beta testers at the ended of this month and posted on Microsoft's site for free download early next year.

In addition to bug fixes, the SP also will contain:

  • expanded hardware capabilities including: support for USB modems and support for WDM modems, which allow users to switch modems between Windows 98 and NT;

  • the ability to wake up a "sleeping" computer attached to a network, so it can be updated or fixed remotely;

  • support for an updated WebTV channel guide and a new chip set;

  • support for more accessibility devices, such as screen readers for the blind.