End of the line for Windows 98/ME patches

July 4th, 2006

After July 11th, Microsoft will no longer release security patches for Windows 98 and Windows ME.  This is bad news for users of these operating systems who cannot or don't want to migrate to a different operating system.

Brian Krebs of the Washington Post Security Fix blog is going to put together a testbed Windows 98 installation to find out what security software will run on these systems.  This is a great idea but users of Windows 98 and ME need to realize that this buys you a few weeks or months at the most.  With Microsoft withdrawing support for these operating systems, it's not going to be long until software houses also withdraw support for these operating systems (many already have, for example, Symantec's last AV package for Windows 98 and ME was Norton AntiVirus 2005).

If you're a Windows 98/ME user, what can you do?

  • Disconnect from the Internet altogether
  • Limit your online time
  • Browse the Internet with Firefox or Opera
  • Be very careful with email - use a web-based service
  • Keep all important information stored off the PC

Short of disconnecting from the Internet altogether (and not being hooked up to a network of other systems connected to the Internet), none of these is 100% effective.  The next serious vulnerability in either of these operating systems will leave you and your system open to being taken over or trashed.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2006 at 20:27 and is filed under PC Doctor Tips, Stay Secure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “End of the line for Windows 98/ME patches”

  1. marblecake.org.uk » Blog Archive » Number’s Up for Windows 98 & ME Security Patches Says:

    [...] This has probably been in the pipeline for quite a while, but it seems that Microsoft really are going to pull the plug on security patches for Windows 98 & ME:End of the line for Windows 98/ME patches The suggestions on this site are fairly bleak for people still using those versions of Windows (such as completely disconnecting from the internet!) - and as it goes on to say it’ll probably get even bleaker because if Microsoft aren’t supporting these versions then other software companies aren’t likely to either. Mind you, quite a lot of the newer PC games haven’t been supporting anything other than Windows XP & (if you’re lucky) 2000 for a while so this doesn’t come as a complete surprise to me. (Of course, what PC games are doing obviously indicates what the IT industry is doing ) [...]