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Microsoft Windows OS (XP/NT/Vista/Windows 7/8/9/10) Forum

Preparing for the end of Windows 98 & Windows ME

 1:57 am on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Microsoft has threatened to withdraw support from Windows 98 quite a few times. They've extended that support a few times as well. Given some of the earlier deadlines Windows 98 shouldn't be supported now. So when Microsoft issued their End of support for Windows 98 and Windows Me [microsoft.com] announcement you might not have taken much notice. However, this time they might be serious. ;)

The question is, "what are you going to do?" If you plan to run Windows 98, or Windows ME after the support cut-off date the you need to do a little preparation.

The first thing I would do if I planned to keep running this OS would be to take this opportunity to give myself a new clean install. (I'd back everything up before I did that though.) With a fresh install I would then download all of the service patches that are available today: [v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com...]

Get everything setup the way you want, run Chkdsk, defrag your drives, run a virus/malware scan, and then use a good imaging backup software like Ghost, Acronis or similar to make a clean snapshot of your soon-to-be-antique operating system. Then if you ever have a problem in the future you can always restore a pristine copy of the OS with all the patches in place.

You can't count on Microsoft to keep these patches on-line after the cutoff date. Do yourself a favor and be prepared.



 2:24 am on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Great idea bill and thanks for the direction. How do you think MS will handle any sites that may offer the updates on a mirror or otherwise? Or is this against their EULA?


 1:51 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Best to be prepared.


 2:17 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think there is not any more need of windows 98 or me or windows 2000.
Its another tactic to boost sale of vista.


 5:28 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

great advice bill ..... going to implement it tomorrow itself as soon as I reach my office.
I think there is not any more need of windows 98

few of my office systems are still on win 98 and i feel its one of the best OS I ever had. and as long as my accounting software is supported on 98 i am not going to upgrade those machines.


 6:05 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

few of my office systems are still on win 98 and i feel its one of the best OS I ever had.

Ya, its fast as it has less overheads unlike the present WINXP but they're not the best Windows OS, much less the best OS, IMHO.


 6:16 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

win 98 and i feel its one of the best OS I ever had

I'm a Windows programmer and must disagree as I couldn't wait to get off that '98 box.

XP has been far more stable than '98 ever was IMO.

Still have one '98 box sitting around and it's rarely used.

Its another tactic to boost sale of vista.

I used to work for Lotus before IBM gobbled them up and boosting sales isn't exactly the only motivating factor. Over time, as other projects move forward, the teams of programmers, quality engineers and tech support that remember the older codebase and the nuances of that version of software start to diminish as people move onto new projects.

Trying to get engineers for work on 8 year old software is problematic as it feels more like a punishment or grunt work than anything interesting, and the cost to the company to implement and test changes in such legacy software can be enormous.

Besides, look at hardware, finding parts to replace and repair 5 year old equipment can be dicey let alone EIGHT year old gear which is the age most Win '98 is running.

I would say Win 98 probably needs to be retired but Win ME should probably get a couple of more years before it's put out to pasture.


 6:23 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have an older system (P266) running Windows ME. Among other reasons, I keep it around to view my web pages under Windows ME versions of IE and other browsers. Let's not forget that a non-trivial percentage of users are still running Windows ME and before. I want to see what they see, and as I add new bells and whistles to my websites, I want to make sure that the new features don't break in these older OSes and browsers.

As for backups, I use Norton Ghost to mirror the system monthly. I retain these monthly backups going back at least three months.


 7:39 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Windows Vista: minimal requirements:
* 800MHz - 1GHz CPU.
* 512MB - 1GB RAM.
* 128MB DirectX-9 graphics card.
* 40GB (15GB free) hard drive.

Windows 98SE: minimal requirements:
* 486DX/66MHz - PII/200MHz CPU.
* 24MB - 32MB RAM.
* FAT16 config: 210MB - 400MB install size
* FAT32 config: 190MB - 305MB install size

Actually dropping 98(SE) (<edit>until this thread</edit> no one I talked with cares about ME) drops an enormous customer base in the developing world (and a few dinosaurs like me who like to surf with a Win version rarely targeted any more by nasties).

The international outcry is what has stopped MSFT from pulling the plug in the past. I wonder why they think the need for a 'lite' OS has decreased?

Unless MSFT is willing to supply a few hundred million computers along with Vista ... "Buy Vista and get a compatible computer free!" ... I can't think of a faster method of locking marketshare, increasing world IT ability, and gaining customer loyalty ... wanders off to dream of nubile maidens ...

Very timely reminder of how to prepare for 'going it alone' with 98se.
Thanks Bill


 10:22 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

> finding parts to replace and repair 5 year old equipment can be dicey

Not really. The used parts market is alive and well. Often times, you can find parts at much lower prices than you can you can modern equipment. You can buy one brand new computer, or buy three refurbished units. From a hardware perspective, any business can be productive (web browser, e-mail, and basic office applications) using 5 year old equipment with a slight memory and hard drive upgrade.

If you modify Windows 98SE to run 98lite, you can use even older equipment and have it be zippy.


 11:15 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

We use 98 for our UPS shipping computer ( but UPS announced that the current version of Worldship will be the last one to support 98).

We also use it for a web browser in the showroom.

It's a great choice for an OS if you don't want to put $100+ into an old computer for software and hardware upgrades.

It seems like this will either push people to linux OR cause people to have old computers with security holes sitting around with no way to fix them and probably no knowledge of the holes.


 11:48 pm on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I understand everyone's complaints, and I even tote an old ThinkPad with Win 2K which will never be upgraded. It's a tad slowish, the battery life not so hot, and a new battery costs more than the machine is worth, but I still drag it around for one reason only - when it gets broken, lost or stolen, I won't shed any tears.

I feel the same about my old '98 box, when I turn it on and it won't power up, you'll hear a large CLANG! in the mental dumpster minutes later.

It seems like this will either push people to linux

Heck, even installing new versions of Linux on an old server can be challenging when the default drivers in the installer no longer support 5 year old devices on perfectly good older servers still used for less stressful activities. However, at some point it was just easier to give up and upgrade the motherboard than trying to fight the driver insanity.

Maybe I don't get the attachment people have with their computers and old OS's, maybe I was once that way before I started cleaning out the hardware closet when they computers started to take over.

I have personally tossed in the dumpster in the last 10 years:

1 Radio Shack Model I - 2 disk drives
1 Radio Shack Model 3P
1 Commodeore-64 - 2 drives
1 Tandy 200
1 Mac SE
1 Altos multi-user system, multiple terminals, printers, etc.
1 IBM-AT clone
1 Gateway-2000 laptop
2 386-based PC's
1 486-based PC

When I say dumpster, some were given away or donated like the Mac SE and 486, but the older obsolete stuff is somewhere in a landfill.

Not to mention boxes and boxes of 8", 5", 3" floppies, tape drives, tapes, and so on with everything on them operating system wise from TRS-DOS, NEWDOS, CP/M, MP/M, MSDOS 3,4,5.. Windows 286, 386, 3.0, 3.1, you get the idea.

That only leaves 4 PC's and 2 Laptops still in the house and I think 2 of the older machines still have '98 loaded but their on the current march to the dumpster as new PC's are being evaluated and the XP box is about to hit the closet.

Doesn't mean they don't work, doesn't mean someone couldn't use them if they don't mind waiting and wiating, but to be honest, an entry level Dell for $299 could run rings around the machines I'm ready to toss.

For some people, owning a new Dell could be as easy as giving up smoking for a couple of
3 months, or in my case, beer and bourbon ;)

P.S. all these years later I still keep finding Mac disks hiding in the house somewhere.


 1:50 am on Jun 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Another option you may want to consider to preserve this OS would be to use some sort of virtual PC software. To my knowledge VMware is the leader in this field closely followed by Microsoft Virtual PC (I use VMware myself.)

In a virtual PC you can run the entire OS in a virtual environment within your preferred OS. If you prefer Windows XP or a Linux variant you can use that and run your older OS at the same time. No need for dual booting. You can have the virtual PC access your actual hardware, or you can setup virtual hardware for it to work with. This is great for testing or running legacy apps.

I think I'll be setting up several versions of Windows 98 and ME in virtual machines. I'll load up all the latest patches and set everything up the way I like and burn them onto a few DVDs for backup.


 4:25 am on Jun 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Haven't been on 98 in ages but that seemed to be one of the most stable systems they put out. WinME could barely keep a computer running let a lone run applications. That was one of, it not the worst product launch ever. They would be doing the world a favor by tossing that one on the scrap heap.


 7:41 am on Jun 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

They'll have to pry Win2K from my cold dead hands when that time comes.... I hate XP, don't agree that it's more stable, have bought and put Win2K
on the laptops that came with XP, etc.

A side note....

As for Win98, it was only about a year ago that (i think i read somewhere) they made some announcement about extending support for it for another 7 or 8 years(?) for overseas (third world?) countries.

I'm thinking it had to do with cutting down piracy on XP....


 9:24 am on Jun 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

The best thing I ever did was upgrade from 98 to XP. I'd held back for years, thinking it would be just the same. But it's not. I can personally confirm that it is more stable. It is built on Windows NT, not the 95/98 series. This is a huge difference, as each program can crash without taking down the whole OS. I never see a blue screen any more, like I did with 98. XP simply does not crash. The only time it did was down to a fault with a piece of hardware, and even then it told me about it on reboot.

98 is for people who enjoy constantly rebooting just to install something. Often with XP you just plug it in and it works without a reboot. The only annoyance with XP is the constant security updates (some of which do require reboots) and the long time it takes to close down.

There are an infinite number of improvements they have made to the interface, the maintenance, the graphics, and so on. Only when you make the switch from 98 to XP will you realise how much better it is. You really are wasting your time living in the past clinging on to 98. The only excuse is running old hardware, like a 486. If so, isn't it time you upgraded that too? Feel the speed of a new machine. No longer several seconds to do what's near instant on a PC with an entry-level processor. I was so glad when we replaced the 486s in the office with Pentium IIs (1.7Ghz). So more pleasing all round to use.


 9:58 am on Jun 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

few of my office systems are still on win 98 and i feel its one of the best OS I ever had

I agree - still have a '98 box sitting here. One of the most stable OS's that MS ever put out.

Mind you, I also have a DOS machine still sitting here running an old accounts DB server (still going strong) so maybe I'm particularly out of date.



 10:07 am on Jun 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

So far as charitable works go, if Bill were to release the 98 source code and throw in a few programmers to keep an eye on an open source project to manage it he'd benefit millions worldwide. Charities, poor countries, education institutions, startups, etc. etc. etc.

Or does he only believe in being charitable if it doesn't negatively affect him or his company in real terms?


 5:24 pm on Jun 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Bill made billions off of win98. It's Bs to drop it for any reason. It's just to promote xp in third world. XP is a limited install whereas I can continue forever to install my win98.
I still run it on my kids machine. They used to use my newer machine to visit their game cheat code sites and other places that attack with trojans and viruses. Now, I never even have to clean their machine. No one writes code for win98.


 2:42 pm on Jun 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Does any one here use 3.1? 95? (DOS still rocks) I would hope not. The OS runs it's course until it can't run anymore. Of course, looking at the min specs for Vista someone kindly posted earlier, you are going to have to upgrade your computer as well if the one you have can't support it.

And I also agree that XP has been a whole lot better than 98/ME in terms of function and stability. However, the OS is also targeted by almost every "bad guy" out there. Hopefully there will be good reason to have an OS that requires almost as much of a powerhouse computer as most games do.


 8:36 am on Jun 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I was reading yesterday about DirectX 10, which will only be available with Vista. Apparently it enables games to be vastly more realistic, in ways too numerous to list. So that'll be another reason to switch from XP if you're a serious gamer.


 5:12 pm on Jun 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

yeah, but you will have to seriously upgrade your system with the latest and greatest to be able to run the OS and the game. If Vista is going to require about 1 gig of ram....you'll need another 1.5 just to run your game at a decent rate. I think at first, Vista is really only going to be used in the commercial distrinct and not for personal use.


 12:54 am on Jun 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Let's try to keep the thread on target guys. ;)
Regardless of the pros/cons of Win2K, XP & Vista I was really trying to gather some tips for people looking to prepare for the end of support for the Windows 98 and Windows ME operating systems. I don't want to sound like the sky is falling, but it would be good to be prepared. The cutoff date is approaching quickly.

Another point I didn't stress in my original post was that support is also ending for Windows XP Service Pack 1. There are still corporate IT sectors that haven't made the jump to SP2 on XP. Are any of you running into problems with this? Any migration tips/stories?


 5:06 am on Jul 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

So far as charitable works go, if Bill were to release the 98 source code and throw in a few programmers to keep an eye on an open source project to manage it he'd benefit millions worldwide. Charities, poor countries, education institutions, startups, etc. etc. etc.

Or does he only believe in being charitable if it doesn't negatively affect him or his company in real terms?

I 2nd you. How if all of we try to send just 1 mail to Microsoft and ask them to release the code for Open Developers.

And I can imagine that after 3-4 years 98 will be most secure and stable OS than others available in Market at that time.

But at same time I fear that Microsoft didn't want the same so they will never agree with us to open source, still what a disadvantage to shoot a single mail in support.

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