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June 10, 2006

Oh No, not Windows 98 again...

We sometimes see questions from participants in the forum on Windows 98. The year is now 2006 - that's 8 years since the model year for that version of Windows. If you're still using Windows 98 and connecting it to the Internet, Microsoft wants to remind you that this Windows is way past it's use by date. It's so "yesterday" they say they can't fix it anymore. They've already extended their planned end of life date once, from the original date of January 16, 2004.

Whilst Win9x is a nightmare for current generation developers and their tools, there are doubtless people in the world, merrily running Windows 98 on hardware that won't handle Windows XP, much less the forthcoming Vista. Some do it because that's the only machine they have or want to have, some do it because their technical equipment and software only works on that platform (and an upgrade is out of the question), some do it because they have nostalgic games.

Microsoft does mention in their MS06-15 article that if you persist in using it with an Internet connection, that you might try blocking TCP/IP Port 139 and 445 at your perimeter firewall. Problem is, it could be that the people who continue to use Windows 98 won't have a clue or want to purchase an out-of-the-box NAT router / firewall / wireless access point. Or if they dedicated a boat anchor PC to a home made firewall, they don't have a PC to run Windows 98 anymore.

So, are you affected? What are your plans? Who're you gonna call?

Updated: If you feel the need to congregate, hang out or otherwise bond with like minded brethren (non gender biased intent), register at the forum and post away.

Posted by Anandasim at June 10, 2006 08:36 PM

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Comments

I know many people who use 98 and they are not very pc savvy. I think of our old pc that I donated to a worthy cause and the pc, once checked, went a poor family. Is Bill in control of the company? He funds wonderfully good works for the really poor and needy. Does Microsoft really need to make so much more money by forcing people to upgrade when their present experience is ok? Having said that, our XP Pro rarely crashes, unlike Win 98. Vista......hmmm, I am going to be the Win 98 user of the future, stuck on XP Pro.

Posted by: Andrew at June 10, 2006 10:56 PM

Interesting. My XP box crashed, I think due to a corrupted bios AND a defiant SATA driver. I needed to get on line in a hurry. So, I found a Pentium III, a video card, a cdrom, two 10GB drives and hey presto! 45 minutes later I was back on line under Windows 98SE.

Time is kind of unimportant - how many machines in the third world are using Win98? OK, the PIII is no rocketship but it gets me on line and it costs about $100 all up.

You run the risk of cutting out those of a lower socio-economic background who might not be able to afford the $450 odd a retail version of XP can cost.

Posted by: Newman at June 11, 2006 12:47 AM

I still have one (old) laptop on 98 for the following reasons:
I rarely network it, if ever
I still have some old software I use occasionally that works on it
I feel no desire to feed money into M$ coffers, and so don't want to upgrade - if I was going to change, I'd stick linux on.
I don't think I'd get a good performance with XP.
I have some data which it would be annoying to have to retrieve from back-ups if I did change OS.

Posted by: Alex at June 11, 2006 06:58 AM

Up until recently I used Win98. Why? it worked, it was stable (it ran my PC 24/7) and I saw nothing better. I have upgraded to Win XP 'coz I want to do something (video editing) my ol' PC would struggle with. And that is the only reason why.
I saw no need to upgrade and for those who say I should, why should I? Its like saying Toyota have stopped making the current Corolla, won't make any more spare parts, so throw away your old car and buy the latest model......which of course is rubbish.
Car companies support their products for more than 10 years...why should't software companies?

Posted by: Ian Smith at June 11, 2006 11:13 AM

People need to realize that there is such a thing as "legacy software" — software that can't run on anything except Windows 98 (or stuff that are even older).

What Microsoft says is not even important; if that piece of legacy software is "mission critical", there's not a chance it will be upgraded any time soon.

Posted by: Wing at June 11, 2006 02:26 PM

And, Ananda, with the greatest of respect, it's not so much that Micro$oft can't support 98 anymore, it's simply that they don't want to. If you recall they were made to look like idiots when they tried to stop support at the Jan 16 04 date. For example, when I tried to plug in my ADSL connection to the 98 box I mentioned, I had an IP conflict.

My ISP happily looked up the archive, told me the fix, and it was done. I submit that the greatest majority of 98 faults are issues that have happened before - it's no great task to check the old support files to find the fix. No new information is needed.

It is simply Micro$oft being bloody minded, that's all.

Posted by: Newman at June 11, 2006 02:45 PM

Thanks all, for participating so far - I knew you were out there. The forum now has a special place for Win98ers - to see whether you need a place to hang out and exchange constructive advice and help each other. Enjoy.

Posted by: anandasim [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 11, 2006 06:43 PM

As a software developer myself, I know that once a program is really old, you have to stop supporting it. The main reason is because the security system in Windows 98 is just too basic and would require a complete overhaul to actually protect it from modern attacks.

Posted by: poedgirl [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 14, 2006 01:14 PM