Retirement Of Win98 May Have Big Impact

The Ottawa, ON company AssetMetrix has released a new asset management service in conjunction with their report that shows that a large percentage of companies may be adversely affected by Microsoft’s decision to stop support for Windows 98.

From their press release:

AssetMetrix, the on-demand IT asset intelligence service, today announced Win98-Exodus, a new asset management service to help corporations identify PCs running Microsoft® Windows® 98 and Windows 95 operating systems, and aid in the development of a migration strategy towards Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Win98-Exodus was released by AssetMetrix in conjunction with the findings of AssetMetrix Research Labs, which discovered a significant occurrence of PCs within the corporate environment running Windows 98 and Windows 95. Inventory data of over 370,000 PCs – from over 670 companies ranging in size from 10 to 49,000 PCs – found that over 80% of the companies were still using Windows 98 or Windows 95. In those companies, an average of 39% of PCs were running Windows 98 or Windows 95.

On January 16th, 2004, Microsoft Windows 98 enters the non-support portion of its support lifecycle. Windows 98 is considered obsolete, and security based hotfixes will not be generally available for users of Windows 98 or Windows 98-SE. With the high trend of security exploits (viruses, worms, trojans, etc.) against Microsoft Windows and associated applications, and with Microsoft’s increased efforts to patch security exploits via monthly hotfixes, companies with Internet-facing PCs installed with Windows 95 or Windows 98 face an ever-increasing risk of security breach for their entire network throughout 2004 and beyond.

“As we began to help some of our customers plan for their migration away from Windows 98, we noticed that the number of Windows 98-based PCs was higher than we would have anticipated,” said Steve O’Halloran, Managing Director, AssetMetrix Research Labs. “While anecdotally there are a few reasons for the retention of Windows 95 or Windows 98 systems, our data indicated that the major driver is a direct result of delaying PC refreshment purchases during the recent economic slowdown.”

AssetMetrix Research Labs also discovered that:

  • PCs with Windows 98 tend to have been built in late 1998 or early 1999.
  • Over 27% of PCs were running Windows 95 or Windows 98, compared to only 7% for Windows XP.
  • Windows NT4, for which mainstream support ended in 2002, is still prevalent in the corporate environment at a rate of over 13%
  • AssetMetrix Research Labs’ research paper can be found at

“Companies need to be better informed about the potential security risks associated with using Windows 98 or Windows 95 within their corporate environment,” said Jeff Campbell, president of AssetMetrix. “For a limited time, AssetMetrix and our channel partners are offering Win98-Exodus as an affordable and efficient means of evaluating your organization’s level of potential risk, as well as being able to utilize AssetMetrix’s asset intelligence tools and analytics to create an accurate forecast for this necessary platform migration.”

With Win98-Exodus, AssetMetrix customers can view the details of any PC within their organization which are running either Windows 95, 98 or NT. They can then drill down to detailed reporting on the individual components of each PC, assign pricing values for each required hardware or software component upgrade, estimate labour time and cost, as well as viewing application compatibility reporting for each PC. Win98-Exodus will be available until February 29, 2004.