Tag Archives: Windows Firewall

Windows 98 – Is Microsoft Really Dumping Users?

This from reader Jim Erlandson on Microsoft’s declining support for Windows 98:

“Windows 98 support isn’t dropping off the face of the earth according to Microsoft. $35 per incident phone support is. How many people do you know who have spent $35 for a phone call to Microsoft lately?

And a quote in C|Net indicates that security updates will probably still be released as needed. The company’s policy would not ordinarily call for Microsoft to provide any security-related patches, but in an e-mailed statement, the company said it would evaluate future threats as they emerge.

“In addition to the robust set of third-party security products we encourage all Windows customers to use, including antivirus and firewall products, (after Jan. 16) we will evaluate malicious threats to our customers’ systems on a case-by-case basis and take appropriate steps,” Microsoft said.

That bit about “more than 80 percent of companies surveyed were still using Windows 98 and/or Windows 95.” would be more interesting if they quoted percent of desktops. By their method, a company with thousands of Win XP machines and a single Win 98 box in the basement running the boiler would add to that 80 percent number – but not in a meaningful way.”

Thanks, Jim. All good points.

Update: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Details

Windows & .NET Magazine report that Microsoft have given some details about their next Windows XP update, called Service Pack 2 (SP2), which is due in the first half of 2004. Some important changes:
  • XP SP2 will ship with all XP security features enabled by default, meaning that the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) will be on, and the Windows Messenger service will be off.
  • The company is also reducing XP’s susceptibility to buffer-overrun errors, which worms and viruses commonly exploit, by adding support for new code execution features available on newer Intel and AMD processors.
  • Finally, Microsoft is enabling the automatic download and installation of critical security hotfixes on XP SP2, ensuring that users’ systems are always protected.
These are all welcome, apart from the firewall, which I found to be slow and memory-hungry. Also I have some reservations about the automatic update of security fixes — some of these are big, too big for dial-up. Unless Microsoft is really careful at limiting their size, and ensuring that ‘critical’ doesn’t include every bit of update they throw out, folk with slow connections are not going to be happy.