What does Win Me support withdrawl mean?

  billy 18:57 22 May 2004

I have tow PCs runing windows Me. I see articles saying Microsft will be withdrawing support, next year I think. Do you know what this means? if some nasty hacker uncovers a problem with it does that mean microsoft will not cure it? Should I change to XP?

  pcwhizz 19:01 22 May 2004

It means that Microsoft will no longer produce service packs and will no longer support this version.

Sadly yes if a problem is found then Microsoft will not see the point in fixing it.

As you say! its their way of scaring you into buying a new copy of Windows XP.



  SANTOS7 19:02 22 May 2004

There are four levels of support (or non-support) available from Microsoft:

MAINSTREAM PHASE: Full support; free and paid tech support over the phone, online help from Microsoft's web site, support for warranties, and freely available, downloadable updates, patches and "hot fixes" as glitches and security issues arise.
EXTENDED PHASE: Pay-per-incident tech support is available, as is online help, but free live support ends, as does warranty support. Patches, hot fixes, and updates are available for business software but not consumer software.
NON-SUPPORT: All support ends except for online self-help information.
END-OF-LIFE: No further support of any kind.

What does this mean for us? Well, it depends on who we are and what system we're running. I'm assuming that the vast majority of readers of this newsletter are plain-vanilla consumers and not business types. Folks like us get left behind by Microsoft, and it's up to us to be informed and take precautions.

Let's take them in order.

Windows 3.x and 95: You folks are out of luck, as least as far as Microsoft goes. These two operating systems reached their "end-of-life" phase in December 2002. Little or nothing in the way of support is available from the company. The patches, updates, and fixes are available, but you'll have to hunt them down elsewhere on the Internet.

Windows NT 4.x: NT 4 entered the "extended support" phase in June 2002. On June 30, 2003, it goes into "non-support," and reaches "end-of-life" on June 30, 2004.

Windows 98: Microsoft is ready to pull the plug on this one, too, but an enormous outcry from consumers made Microsoft rethink its timeline just a bit. Win 98 (and 98 SE) is still the most used operating system in the world, and after Microsoft was inundated with calls and complaints, the company backed off on its original timeline of service termination. Here's where Microsoft is now:

Mainstream service officially ended in June 2002, but because of consumer complaints, Microsoft decided to "unofficially" continue with full support for the time being. That time ends on June 30, 2003, just a couple of months from now. After that, free support ends, and Microsoft may or may not continue to provide patches and hot fixes for problems that are reported after that date. On January 16, 2004, Win 98 enters the "non-support" phase. On January 16, 2005, Win 98 officially enters "end-of-life," which means no support whatsoever from the big boys.

Windows Millennium: Like Win 98, Microsoft is ready to pull the plug on Win ME. This one enters the "extended" support phase on December 31, 2003. In December 2004, ME goes into "non-support," and hits the "end-of-life" wall in December 2005.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:03 22 May 2004

There will still be loads of non-Microsoft sites offering advice. You have more chance of winning the lotto than being hacked but if you were IE and Outlook would be the preferred entry point. Updates for them both are separate to the OS so you will be OK.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 19:05 22 May 2004

'Sadly yes if a problem is found then Microsoft will not see the point in fixing it'...like 98, ME has been running so long that, logically, all the major problems have been fixed.


  billy 07:38 23 May 2004

Thanks guys. I think gandalf's comments about IE and Outlook being the targets for hackers reassures me. Sounds like I would be OK in practice to carry on with Me for a while

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