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Issue of July 2006 

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Microsoft bids goodbye to Windows 98 and ME

There is bad news for enterprises using Windows 98, 98 Second Edition (SE) and Millennium Edition (ME) as public and technical support for the operating systems (OSs) ends on July 11, 2006. This means the end of security patches for these OSs.

This is being done because Microsoft believes that these OSs are outdated and may pose security threats to the users. Microsoft has issued a notification about this on their support site, which also recommends that users upgrade to a more secure OS. Another reason for the end of support is that Microsoft would need to make a large number of changes to Windows Explorer.

This is in accordance with the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, which mentions that the company provides support for a minimum of five years for consumer products, of which OSs form the major chunk. The latest in the update series is MS06-015, which deals with a vulnerability that allows for remote code execution. This basically means that a user may be conned into visiting a malicious Web site, and in the process allowing an attacker to take control of the affected system. The update has been rated critical by Microsoft and may be the last for 98, 98SE and ME users.

For many organisations this would mean either a migration to XP or Linux systems—or being exposed to security threats.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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