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Microsoft To End Windows 9x Support in July

This time, there will be no more temporary reprieves. Microsoft has begun warning users of Windows 98, 98 Second Edition and Windows Millennium Edition that the end is near -- for all technical support, at least.

Although the company has been urging corporate customers for some time to replace those aging systems, it has stepped up its efforts recently and is now telling them they should migrate to Windows XP as soon as possible, according to BetaNews, an online news site for beta testers.

Microsoft currently plans to cut off all paid support, including security patches, for all three systems on July 11, 2006. The cutoff was already extended once from January 2004 in order to give customers more time to migrate off those systems.

"Microsoft is ending support for these products because they are outdated and…can expose customers to security risks. We recommend that customers who are still running Windows 98 or Windows ME upgrade to a newer, more secure Microsoft operating system, such as Windows XP, as soon as possible," says a statement on Microsoft's site.

The company had obviously hoped that those customers rotating out older systems running Win98/SE/ME would be able to replace them by simply purchasing new PCs preloaded with Windows Vista. However, with Vista's delivery on new PCs delayed until the first quarter of next year, corporate customers will have to settle for XP-based PCs and upgrade them to Vista when it becomes available to them in November.

Online self-help support will be available at the Microsoft Support Web site until at least July 11, 2007, the company's statement said.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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