Got a PC that’s running Windows 98? Starting in July, you may have a problem.
Andy Patrizio, at internetnews.com, reports that Microsoft will stop supporting Win98 in early July. They’ve threatened that before but this time, with Windows Vista on the horizon after the New Year (honest!), the threat sounds credible. No patches, no security updates, nothing.
Trouble is, upgrading a Win98 box to Vista may not be possible. Vista requires a fairly up-to-date processor and at least 1GB of RAM — specs that a Win98 computer is unlikely to meet. Windows XP may be a solution because its hardware requirements are less rigorous, but it’s not clear how available Microsoft will make XP once Vista gets established. (On the other hand, it might take a good three years for Vista to take hold.)
I’ve got a couple of Win98 machines still running, and it seems I’m not alone:
Power users may sneer at the thought of using the rickety Windows 9x code base, but Jupiter Research has found that one in four homes with more than one PC is running the old operating system, usually on a hand-me-down PC for the kids.
Those machines are usually on the Net. An Internet box with an OS that won’t get any more security patches? Not a smart thing to run. Expect a lot of people to do it anyway, so I bet we’ll see an uptick in zombie spam this summer.
So Microsoft is forcing a march to new hardware and new software. Gee. If you’re replacing your computer anyway for one with a new operating system, maybe you should look hard at a getting a Mac. It’ll run Windows, too, you know — if you have to.