The end of Windows 98

Tips & Hints

Posted 13 June 2003

Five years is a long time in computers. So when Windows 98 turns five on June 30, Microsoft will start gently retiring it. What does this mean to Windows 98 users?

What will happen?

Microsoft will gradually withdraw support for Windows 98. Non-charge phone support finishes on 30 June, 2003. All of Microsoft’s support for it will finish on 16 January next year. Sometime in 2005 Microsoft will wash their hands of it completely.

This doesn’t mean Windows 98 will stop working. Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 3.1 years ago and we still see the occasional Windows 3.1 users who are quite happy. The same thing will happen with Windows 98.

As the Windows 3.1 users have found, it will gradually get harder to find software and hardware that will run on it. Eventually you will have to replace it, but that will only be when the hardware fails or when you have software or hardware won’t run on it.


Windows XP is an excellent product but there is no reason to upgrade just because it ‘s the latest. The typical Window 98 computer doesn’t have enough memory and hard drive space to run XP. If you upgrade, there will probably be the cost of increasing your computer’s hard drive and memory.

When upgrading, you really have to be sure all your software and hardware will run on the new setup. Of course, you need to backup all your data before going ahead with an upgrade.

What we recommend

Our belief is that a computer is a tool. If that tool is adequate for what you use it for then you should stick with it. When that tool ceases to be up to the task, then it’s time to look for a new one.

At present Windows 98 is an adequate tool for most computer users. The time will come when Windows 98 just won’t be enough and that’s the time to be considering a new operating system. For some users that day may be a long way off. We fully expect to see some contented Windows 98 users still using their trusty machine in ten years time, with or without Microsoft’s support.

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