Microsoft will no longer offer extended support or issue security updates for Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition operating systems that are still being used by tens of millions of people.
Microsoft originally planned to pull support for Windows 98 at the beginning of 2004, but delayed pulling the plug because of the demand for extended support and security updates.
Support for the two operating systems ended yesterday, however.
Microsoft is now hoping that users will dump these operating systems and upgrade to at least Windows XP. The company’s next main operating system will be Windows Vista, expected to be generally available from early next year.
Those refusing to upgrade will join the ranks of Windows 95 users, who saw their support cut off years ago. Analysts estimate there are up to 70 million people still using Windows 95, 98 or ME.
The end of support for 98 and ME is set to hit consumers and public sector organisations the hardest, including a number of schools.
For its enterprise-class software, Microsoft now has a policy of supporting solutions for up to ten years, but this policy was adopted after the 98 and ME launches.
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