The end of extended support for Microsoft’s Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows ME isn’t until July 11, but farewells have started appearing in the press and more are sure to follow. Some notable excerpts:
Clement James at vnunet.com:
Microsoft will discontinue extended support for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Millennium edition from 11 July.
The move, which is being made in accordance with the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, effectively means that the software giant will end public and technical support, including security updates, by this date.
Microsoft said that existing support documents and content will continue to be available through the Microsoft Help and Support website.
However, the company stated that it will make Custom Support Agreements (CSAs) available for “eligible enterprise customers under qualified conditions” .
The latter translated means “if you’ve got the money, you can still get support.”
Brian Krebs at The Washington Post:
At the end of 2005, licensed installations of Windows 98 and Windows ME made up more than 13 percent of Microsoft’s user base, according to Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC, a Framingham, Mass., market-research firm. IDC estimates that about 48 million computers were still running licensed versions of Windows 98 at the end of last year, and 25 million were running Windows ME.
Gillen said he expects machines running Windows 98 and ME to account for just 6 percent of all Windows installations by the end of this year, and that the loss of security patches for those operating systems will probably not be a major concern for users.
“The laggards are those users who are going to keep these systems around until [the machines] either catch fire or simply don’t turn on one day,” Gillen said. “Generally speaking, these people who run old operating systems are probably not waiting on the edge of their seat for the next new Windows operating system to arrive.”
Still, Ullrich said, many companies that make anti-spyware, anti-virus and software firewall programs are phasing out support for Windows 98 and ME, although some older versions of those products will still run on them.
The latter source, Johannes Ullrich, chief technology officer for the SANS Internet Storm Center, also makes the surprising claim (to me, at least) that most of today’s malicious software won’t run on Windows 9x. Regardless, the general recommendation is to retire these old systems, or at least put a more more modern operating system on them.