Reminder: Windows 98, 98SE, and ME are expiring soon!

Hey everyone, Christopher here with another in a string of Windows Lifecycle reminders.

Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Millennium are due to expire after July 11th of this year. Please read this posted article, which contains all the details about the timing and implications of the change.

All Windows 98/SE/ME users are encouraged to upgrade to a supported version of Windows (such as Windows XP SP2).


 - Christopher Vaughan

Comments (49)

  1. Anyone else think the expiration should be delayed until Vista comes out?

  2. GetIE7OUT says:

    "Anyone else think the expiration should be delayed until Vista comes out?"

    They are tying to sell out all of their XP copies.

  3. Joe Medford says:

    Finally.  Now we can focus all our energy on Vista and XP

  4. Windows 9x and ME are expiring

    soon. Make sure you upgrade soon. Support will end in the near future….

  5. Thomas Tallyce says:

    I bet everyone at Microsoft is glad that the end of the DOS era is nigh, on July 11th. Good riddance!

    Are you having a bonfire or something to celebrate? 🙂

  6. Bumping SUV says:

    "They are tying to sell out all of their XP copies."

    Oh, yeah, like Microsoft is really strapped for cash. It’s likely more something to do with "why are we still supporting what was made the other side of the millenium"…

  7. Ah well, I’m guessing most of the machines running ’98 aren’t Vista-ready anyway.

    According to, one in twenty machines is still running Windows ’98:

  8. Alun Jones says:

    Last time I visited a 9x machine, it was infected… 11,000 times.  Most of those were the same virus, to be sure, but the poor guy had lost most of his family photos.

    Given that 9x has no security, and is sufficiently compatible with Win32 that it catches a number of viruses, worms and trojans, I’d say it needs to be dumped over the side whenever possible.  Waiting for Vista makes no sense (what, there isn’t already a client you can see upgrading to?)

  9. IE Tester says:

    This is good information for the WinME users.  Both of them.

  10. Scott says:

    Ending support for these old operating systems will mean that the IE team doesn’t have to support versions of IE older than 6.0 which means more resources can be allocated towards 6.0, 7.0, and the next two versions already in development.

  11. Chris says:

    All I can say is good riddance to bad rubbish. Windows 95 was the first and only decent operating system they made. Even then it wasn’t that great. But still, Windows 98 and ESPECIALLY Windows ME were nothing but mistakes that should’ve never been released. Even XP was a mistake at first and wasn’t improved until SP2. But even then, it still needs to run as admin to function correctly with most applications.

    Maybe Vista/IE7 with User Account Control will change things, but I doubt it’ll ever have life on my computer. Firefox has given me a passion for open source when I used to use XP SP2. I find that Linux can suit my needs a lot easier/better. I wish you guys luck though, you’ve always made things easier (maybe too easy) for new computer users.

  12. gary turner says:

    Huh!  Support for 98x has been non-existent for years now.  As someone with 4 of 4 Win boxes running 98se (the rest run Debian), and who will not "upgrade" until the boxes die, I’ve been a bit pissed at MS for having already stopped support.

    I don’t allow such malware vectors as IE[1], Word or Outlook[express], so viruses, etc. have been pretty much a non issue.  My upgraded hardware, excepting one, will have Debian Gnu/Linux on them, further lessening my exposure.

    I do not look forward to an OS that is, at heart, spyware.  



    [1] I have to have IE for web development, and I do keep it pretty well quarantined.  I hope one older box lasts a while for IE6.    It’s kinda stupid that it’s not trivial to keep multiple versions on a single box.

  13. Gav says:

    This is only a good thing for the future of Windows, Win 98 and especcialy ME were atrocious. To the MS naysayers(gary especially), get a life, no other OS has come close to offering the user experiance of windows, as such it is by far the most prevalient OS out there, having the most virus’s and malware come with the territory.

  14. Ambivi says:

    Does that mean you won’t be able to download the old security updates from Windows Update anymore? While I did order the Security Update CD of February 2004, which contained updates for 98, ME and XP, if I had to reinstall Windows 98 from scratch and I would be concerned that I might miss one last important patch or two…

  15. Ruliz Galaxor says:

    Why is this posted on IEBlog?

    Marketing? Sales?

    I thought this blog was about Internet Explorer, but it looks like this blog is about Internet Explorer and other ‘useful’ stuff.

    Besides that. I think most people who are reading this blog are already on 2K or higher.

  16. PatriotB says:

    Ruliz – The 98/98SE/ME lifecycle influences IE development greatly.  The security patch released today? It had to be tested and supported on those OSes.  After July, IE won’t need to worry about them, meaning the team can focus on IE7 and beyond.

  17. djn says:

    As a long time user of Win98SE ( with some 1200 pieces of software running on it, all of them fully owned)I have some trouble believing something will change for me on July 11th.  Win98 has already effectively expired the day somebody decided that it should not pass the "Validation required" test, telling me my copy of Windows is not kosher (should I fax the original purchase invoice to Bill?).

    As for the support, just read the EULA. Every copy of Win98 around has been basically running for years doing ‘unsupported’ stuff like, say, running applications.

    Every version of Windows since then has been pushed as ‘more secure than ever’ (how comes I’m making a living removing spyware and pests from those "new and improved" marvels). It’s been a real pleasure reading over and over again that ‘older versions are not affected’ statements with almost every newly introduced critical hiccup…

  18. I reverted back to 98SE after getting XP for a few months before I could figure out all the settings as Microsoft is notorious for putting all the wrong options on by default. The ability to play a second game without rebooting (in regards to memory issues) is what got me to stick to XP back then.

    Windows 98SE was a good platform in it’s own way. As long as you didn’t use IE, Outlook, and floppy disks you’d be viral free. Not sure how Java was back then but I STILL won’t touch it with a bionic grappling arm clutching a spiked coconut tree. Matter of fact I rather enjoyed MS’s Java over Suns, it was less intrusive.

    …and 98 supported a GB of ram just fine! Read your motherboard manuals people!  Shesh!

    If there is something to be learned from all the versions of Windows I would say Microsoft needs to enable two general setting modes for Windows; dumb consumer and IT pro. Really I don’t need luna+themes service running when I’m at school on a computer with 2GB of ram but a 5GB page file due to homers. This should be a non-admin option because I’ve encountered more then enough IT people to just start referring to them all as Homers (do you really need an explanation on this one?!) Anyone else have to deal with random reboots because the voltage difference between USB 1/2 caused by inability to understand proper installation of drivers? >__>

    XP’s "DOS" recovery is useless…I’ve heard rumors of a DOS bootup disk that supports NTFS?  It’ll be interesting seeing how issues will be dealt with in regards to Vista when one is unable to boot it.

    Anyone still running 98 is not going to need support.  I mean if you’ve been running 98 this whole time and haven’t encountered problems it’s because you’ve learned how to deal with the issues, you’ve made a folder with the entire OS backed up when it ran without problems (I loved being able to do that with 98SE) for 5 minute restores on dual HD systems, or it’s only been used for Solitaire for the past decade.

    I’m very much looking forward to Vista (though which version is still unclear).

  19. UnexpectedBill says:

    In a way, this is disappointing news. However, it is to be expected. Microsoft can’t go on supporting products forever, even if many people would like them to do so.

    I can see both sides of the argument here about losing support for Win9x/Me. For businesses using these OSes, the problem of not having support any longer is very real. Many users in a business don’t have a good understanding of computer security. The same problem exists for home users, and may be worse as they don’t always see a reason to upgrade when what they have works for all their needs.

    For hobbyists, IT pros and people who have a good understanding of their computers, I don’t see this as being even a remotely serious problem. Security vulnerabilities are still an issue for OSes where there will be no patches released, but this is an audience of people who understand how to control a security risk or avoid it altogether.

    For the record, I still have a large number of computers (IBM PS/2 machines for the most part) running Win95, 98(se) and even NT 4.0. I’ll continue to do so until these machines will not run any longer. The risks are there, but I’m not too worried about them.

  20. jsminch says:

    ME usually "expired" about a month after it was installed.

  21. stvmty says:

    Ah, how much I loved Win98…

    Ah, how much I hated WinMe…

    And, while I’m not trying to be a troll, you can keep running those OS in your old hardware if you know how to avoid viruses and malware. As far as I remember I never got a virus in Win98, and I only get malware in WinME when I visited a malicious website with IE. Boy, wandering in the internet with ActiveX enabled is a great, great mistake.

    Antivirus + Firewall + Anti-malware… is not only for Windows. Altough Windows _really_ need those. Hopefully, Vista will be more secure, as WinXP SP2 was more secure than Win2k, as Win2k was more secure than WinNT and Win9x.

  22. Me says:

    Welp, it’s like this here, I played thier game of buy this one, it’s the latest for years. screw that, I got a pirated copy, and I’m damn proud of it, I ain’t making bill gates no more richer. screw the bastards. and YES, I get all the updates!

  23. I doubt that anybody who still uses 98/98SE/ME would upgrade even if someone gave them a free upgrade. My dad still uses 95 and 98SE even though we have a spare machine with XPSP2 on it. He’s just too resistant to change, and I’m guessing that most other people that still use 98/98SE/ME still use the OS they do for the same reason. My basic philosophy as to when to upgrade is wait until you need a hardware upgrade, and just upgrade your whole machine at once so you get the OS with it. If a new OS was expected to come out in less than a year, I might wait for it. But there is rarely a need to upgrade the OS immediately after it’s released, because pretty much everything will still be compatible with the previous OS for a while.

  24. gary turner says:

    gav said "To the MS naysayers(gary especially), get a life, no other OS has come close to offering the user experiance of windows, as such it is by far the most prevalient OS out there, having the most virus’s and malware come with the territory."

    Well, gav, it’s like this; Mac has a better user experience, but not the apps.  That issue was settled much like the Beta® v. VHS® flap; the better marketer won.  I happen to prefer to work in a Linux environment because it offers a superior web development workplace and a safer internet environment.  I won’t mention the uptime—ok, I will.

    According to an FBI/CERT report of a couple of years back, attacks are proportional to vulnerabilities, not ubiquity.  Else how do you explain the paucity of successful attacks on Apache compared to IIS?  As far as I can gather, there has been no successful (self sustaining) attack on the Linux core, and attacks on Linux apps are limited in scope (user priviledge) and not contagious due to inherent least priviledge.

    I resent any manufacturer or seller of hardware or software that assumes I’m a thief, requiring me to verify I have the right to install or modify what I own or have license to.

    If an OS requires me to check in with the home office before I can install it or modify the hardware it resides on or won’t let me move it to another machine than its original install, it is spyware.  XP is spyware and I expect Vista will be, too.

    Wake up, gaz, smell the coffee and stop sounding like a teeny-bopper MS fanboy.


  25. Matt says:

    Get a grip Gary Turner. And have a look at your web logs.

    Most scans and worms these days attack open source technologies.

    And the Linux privelege and permission model is a very limited in comparison to Windows NT’s, 2000’s or XP’s.

  26. Paul says:

    Well my copy of WIN98se and WIN3 (yep three) still run on my elderly ex-dumpster computers. There again I run firewall, anti virus, Spybot, adawear, and a biological computer between my ears.

    I thought WIN98se was unsupported years ago, why did the critical update go to alarm? Oh, its the IE6 add in. Firefox is OK.

  27. Tihiy says:

    I hope you’ll make surpise for 9x users -> make security rollup or something alike.

  28. alildevil says:

    hmm, I never got any motice that my win 3.1 was expiring, I’ll have to check on that.

  29. straight_up says:

    No More Supporting Anything Less Than IE6! 😀  Right? What did Win2000 ship with?

  30. FYI says:

    Win2000 shipped with IE5.5, not IE6.

  31. John says:

    Matt said "Most scans and worms these days attack open source technologies.

    And the Linux privelege and permission model is a very limited in comparison to Windows NT’s, 2000’s or XP’s"

    Ok… prove it. Hollow statements lacking data rarely make a convincing argument. I’ll have a neverending respect for you if you can prove Windows has a better security track record than Linux. I can attest from experience the strength of open-source software. The only time any of my Linux systems has been compromised was when a friend of mine configured bash to change the screen resolution with each keystroke. Malicious? No. Outsider threat? No. It was a simple prank. On the flip side, I’ve seen Windows server solutions get hacked within thirty minutes of going live.

    For whatever it’s worth, The Register put out a nice report on this topic a while ago:

    But enough of that. Back to the topic at hand. I’m always going to have a Win98SE box, and it will be an old computer capable of playing all of my DOS-era games without the need for emulation or compatibility modes. It won’t be connected to the Internet except for those instances I’m playing multiplayer Quake. I’ve never needed to use tech support for Windows, so this announcement does not bother me.

  32. James says:

    Looks like I finally have to upgrade my wife’s laptop – which will not run XP ;-(

  33. scooby says:

    will i have been working with computers. sice i was i year 2. and i have found that with all thes new windows you have to always get updats becueas if you dont you tend to get a virus. than with the older windows,msdos,mac,95,98,me. thay dont get virus as easy as xp..i thonk microsoft make $100s of $$$$ and thay should still keep on sending updates for the older computer at less untill thay have windows vista microsoft do send visu mostly i recon.

  34. Graham DiMarco says:

    I still use 98SE and have no plan to upgrade to XP anytime soon. It still does everything I want it too and ever since I installed the Un-official service pack, the performance has improved.

  35. Tom says:

    Sounds to me like this is a way for MS to force people to go out and buy new computers. I mean that winXP will NOT run on my older 500mhz computers. Is MS going to give me a rebate for the purchase of a new computer that will run winXP or Vista? I doubt it.

    I personally think that this is just a way to stop people from using one copy of win98(se) on as many computers as they want to. Effectively forcing us to purchase new computers that run their winXP with their "software validation checker".

    While I do agree that the older OS’s are obsolete and that allows them to move the developers to the more newer products. They fail to realize that there is a HUGE group of consumers that simply cannot afford to purchase newer computers that will allow them to run winXP and/or Vista. I guess all those people are just left out in the cold.

    The basic inferrence here is that they must need more money from consumers by forcing them to purchase newer computers if they want support from MS for the MS products.

    P.S. Do NOT buy winXP cd’s from ebay! I have purchased 2 copies there from 2 different sellers and BOTH cd’s had their validation codes used "too many times", effectively making the copy useless until I called MS directly to get a new code. What a pain in the arse.

  36. JClark says:

    Revert those old machines back to Linux and run them until they die!!!

  37. Ivan Bútora says:

    Well, IE developers, perhaps, for the sake of your own sense of competence and self-respect, you could at least fix the ridiculous bug that was introduced for Win9x systems with IE 6, where Windows Explorer hangs during the deletion of large numbers of files.

    For those of you who are not aware:

    This way you could at least say bye with a straight face.

  38. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows XP yet, now would be a good time to get it done.

  39. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows XP yet, now would be a good time to get it done.

  40. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows XP yet, now would be a good time to get it done.

  41. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows XP yet, now would be a good time to get it done.

  42. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows XP yet, now would be a good time to get it done.

  43. If you haven’t upgraded to Windows XP yet, now would be a good time to get it done.

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