Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Windows Operating Systems Software Microsoft

Retired Microsoft Operating Systems Still Popular 645

Decaffeinated Jedi writes "Despite Microsoft's recent retirement of Windows 98, reports that many users continue to cling to the company's older operating systems. The study cited in the article suggests that 80 percent of companies still have machines operating on Windows 95 or 98. While Windows 2000 was the most common OS in the study, just 6.6 percent of the desktop machines included in the survey were running Windows XP." The results aren't too surprising. I get a lot of user mail from Netscape 4 users, and it only makes sense that they're running it somewhere.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Retired Microsoft Operating Systems Still Popular

Comments Filter:
  • Windows 98 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:23AM (#7710178)
    I still use it for my kids games and educational software....the newer ones DON'T WORK...hmmmmm
    • Re:Windows 98 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ghost cat ( 651060 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:21AM (#7710447)
      I use win98 on all of my VMWare installations (the host is running Linux). It's much more light (in terms of disk space / memory / cpu requirements) than the newer versions and I don't really mind its instability because 1) it's running inside the VMWare so it doesn't affect my working system and 2)I don't use it for more than 30 minutes at time (usually just to test something or other, such as viewability of some page under IE)
    • Re:Windows 98 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by big tex ( 15917 )
      Simmilar boat here.

      We've got a workstation with agtek on it, digitizer hardware and all that for scanning in 3d topo plots.

      Only works with W98 & below, so we've got a P3-450 with Windows 98. Man, that baby crashes _fast_.
    • Re:Windows 98 (Score:5, Informative)

      by lordDallan ( 685707 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:41AM (#7710586)
      Check out the system requirements on those kids games and educational software, there's a good chance they'll run on a Mac. You can buy a refurbished eMac for as little as $529.00 from the Apple Store []. This let's you have the benefits of a new, stable, secure OS, avoid MS Taxes, and use your old software.

      And unlike M$, Apple has very strong support for those old programs in their new OS (via Classic mode in "OS X").

      Plus, if you buy a new Mac, odds are it will run any older "win95/98 only" educational software just fine in Virtual PC (note-Virtual PC does not currently work with G5s).

      I also find Virtual PC really useful for testing software I've written on older OSs. I also find I HAVE TO build some software (for win95 especially) in Virtual PC running the target OS or there end up being all kinds of .dll incompatibility problems (double-especially if Windows Media Player is involved).
    • by ( 410908 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:57AM (#7710658) Journal
      I use it on my PARENTS computer, a top of the line k6-350 with about 180Mo RAM.
      It took me years to get my father from Multiplan under DOS to Excel with Win98. And some more to get my father trained to 98.

      For the sake of my Sanity (already quite low), I don't want to retrain my father to use XP or 2000.

      +It just works !!! I don't upgrade what's not broken...(yet...8) I mean I don't fiddle with the computer, and neither do they ...)

      Of course, if my parent where to get a P4 (or, more likely, an AMD XP) I might get to install XP or 2000 for them. and get a new Debian server to replace my poor P200 for free...>

      Don't tempt me, you insensitive clod 8p
  • by musingmelpomene ( 703985 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:24AM (#7710183) Homepage
    Complain all you want about antiquated equipment - both hardware and software - but I volunteer in a high school that would make you weep. Their physics classroom has ten computers. Ten...Apple IIc's. I don't know if they're going for "retro" or "we're poor, so pass the referendum," but it's absolutely appalling. I don't even know what a physics class would be doing with Apple IIc's.
    • I don't even know what a physics class would be doing with Apple IIc's.

      Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of...?


    • The Apple II C's may be perfectly fine for a high school physics lab. The MECC (Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium) produced hundreds of programs for the Apple II C that probably still have use.

      A poor mechanic blames his tools.
    • by gnuadam ( 612852 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#7710247) Journal

      The apple II's had a very common data acquisition mobo that allowed all sorts of physics experiments to be done. You could measure temperature in real time, trace a trajectory, and do other neat stuff. Why upgrade when these experiments work just fine with the old apples?

      It's physics, not computer science. The data is important, not the computer that records it.

      • by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:50AM (#7710307) Homepage
        Computers are not as important in computer science as one might think. Of course, for some technology-related courses you will need state-of-the-art, but computer science is about algorithms, structuring data and abstracting problems. Sometimes pen-and-paper will suffice but the programming you can do on a very old computer just as well as on a water-cooled Pentium-4 5000. The principles remain the same, and that's what matters.
    • by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#7710250) Homepage Journal
      Suprisingly, they can do a lot with Apple //cs. There are many physics peripherals and applications for the apple. Vernier software used to make a lot of stuff for the thing, now they've moved on, but the old stuff still works. And your school probably still has those old 5.25" disks that work just fine. I say sure, an apple //c is old and slow. But it works just fine for the applications the physics class is using them for. Why replace them with pcs? The apples are so less prone to problems because they are so much more simple. The worst you get it a broken disk or disk drive, and then you just replace it for next to nothing.

      I think the problem here is that people have stuff that's more than they need. The apple ][gs from 1986 is capable of doing everything the average person does with their pc. So when someone has A Pentium 4 with winxp to run Word I hang my head in disbelief. They only need maybe a Pentium 2 with 98 SE. Companies that think about saving money and actually have brains keep the old stuff that works. Don't upgrade if you don't have to. And if you are just doing office work like word processing and nothin cpu intensive then you should have an old slow machine. It's cost effective. And odds are if the machine is that old and still around it's high quality and wont give you as much technical troubles.
      • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:12AM (#7710404) Homepage Journal
        You know, you are so right. When I was in school we had old machines running old OS and we had to so everything ourselves. It was long enough ago that a lot of the fancy software was not available. One of my teachers wrote the physics simulator for the Apple, which at the time was not that old, but we had other machines that were older.

        Now I see that MS is pushing licensing scheme that makes it difficult to donate old Machines. Schools don't even want the older computers because all they care about is cheap tech support and surfing the internet. How many MSCE have the depth of knowledge to work on an old DOS machine or any apple? But if I were teaching programming, I would rather have enough machines so I could have every student in the school learn the logic of programming rather than just the lucky few who signed up first. Likewise, if i were teaching math or science, i would like every team to have their own computer so that could do their demonstrations and simulations. And I would want them to be old so that is all they could do.

        Of course, modern machines are necessary when you are teaching Visual Studio and MS office. For the Vocational training stuff, this is defensible. But for the more basic classes, fast machines are really just a luxury.

      • by bitflip ( 49188 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:36AM (#7710548)
        The apple ][gs from 1986 is capable of doing everything the average person does with their pc

        Yeah, but it takes six months to rip a CD.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:45AM (#7710284)
      Well, Apples have traditionally been used in the study of gravity, dating back to Newton's time. It only makes sense they are used in a physics class.
    • Maybe I'm alone with my opinion, but I fail to see why a school needs computers, except for teaching how to use and program them.

      I'd weep, if they didn't have the money for teachers, books, paper, chalk and the like.

      I had a CS course at my high-school and they had a Bull Unix Workstation with a single 68k for 12 terminals. And this was the only computer at school for the pupils. And no, I'm not in my 30s or 40s. At that time Pentium processors where state of the art.

      At that time, I felt it was a bad cond
  • Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Div3B0mbr ( 631477 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:25AM (#7710189)
    It's not like upgrading Windows is free. If you were a small company who's focus wasn't IT would you upgrade? Hell no. Why would you? Your existing solution of Windows Crap is working just fine.
    • Re:Of course (Score:2, Informative)

      by twt ( 259951 )
      But what about the large business who can afford an upgrade? From the article:
      The size of the business did not seem to dictate how prevalent the older operating systems were, with larger companies as likely as smaller ones to have a high prevalence of older operating systems.

      I'd hope that larger companies would realize it's cheaper to upgrade than suffer the wrath of unsupported, unpatched windows boxen!
      • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Div3B0mbr ( 631477 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#7710260)
        You also have to take into consideration that some large companies also don't care about IT. Try for example your second rate credit card company, or a company that may be on its way downhill. I've worked for companies where IT isn't important yet IT is what drives their business. One thing I've learned to watch out for is any company trying to run a Java solution on an AS/400... If you're that far behind the times and can't spell WebSphere than a Win2k is not something you're going to understand. Simply put, big companies don't care either because small amounts of their people ever focus on IT. Why should they? The execs already made their money.
      • Yeah, but who's trying to hack 95/98 anymore? Security through obscurity. I'd write some more, but my box of Captain Crunch has a neat whistle in it and I need to crank call the president.
    • Re:Of course (Score:2, Informative)

      by Daggie ( 676753 )
      True, on the other hand. Some companies switch to newer versions, "because it's newer". They have absolutely no need for a newer version, but well "it's newer, get it".

      Mostly it's impossible arguing with people who think like that. They just want the new version, because it's available. No need to say that those people hardly believe you if you can do something better and cheaper for them (example : dynamic webdesign : "YOU can do future updates, without having to pay anyone for it". They don't believe you
    • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sharkman67 ( 548107 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:50AM (#7710628)
      The biggest problem is that MS changes the file formats.

      Your a small business and run Win98 machines with Office 97. Good enough you would say. That is until your largest customer is sending you files done in Office XP and you can't open them. The short term answer is to call them up and ask them to save it in an older format. Boy does that make you look like a shabby outfit. The other solution is to go out and upgrade the Office suite. Which may requrire you to upgrade the OS. Of course now you are running XP on a 200 MHZ PII and it runs like crap.

      I think as a home user you can get away with an older OS but it is difficult to as a business.
  • by twoslice ( 457793 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:26AM (#7710191)
    Just wait a few more years, 2098 is just around the corner - you can make it!
  • by Chuck Bucket ( 142633 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:26AM (#7710192) Homepage Journal
    It's scary how many NT 4 boxes I come across in the work world. they just don't want to update, and the diff between using that and the newer offerings is huge, although so is the price.

    • by doodleboy ( 263186 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:55AM (#7710329)
      It's scary how many NT 4 boxes I come across in the work world. they just don't want to update, and the diff between using that and the newer offerings is huge, although so is the price.
      I bet the installed base of nt4 is bigger than all later windows server installations combined. In my own case, I work at a small business with an nt4 pdc and about a half dozen 98/me clients. Microsoft did announce another year of security updates for nt4 server, but when they finally do kill support for it I'm going to say it's going to cost thousands to upgrade to Palladium or whatever it'll be called, but we can run linux for nothing. No need for licenses, no need to upgrade the p233 w/224 mb ram.

      Don't laugh, it works. Despite all the whizbang marketing from Redmond, most busineses are extremely pragmatic. If all you need is a {print,file,login} server, linux will happily work on hardware later Microsoft OSes have no hope of running on.

      Prediction: there'll be huge uptake of linux when Microsoft kills off support of nt4 server, because no one is going to want to take the double hit of replacing all the hardware and buying all new OS licenses. Not to mention new and different security headaches due to exponential increases in complexity, increased lock-in, restrictive EULAs, etc.
    • by JediTrainer ( 314273 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:02AM (#7710360)
      It's scary how many NT 4 boxes I come across in the work world.

      You know, the last couple of years haven't exactly been an economic cakewalk. Lots of companies have better things to do than spend money on new computers when their existing ones are working just fine.

      For the record? I still use NT on my desk. Actually, I have two machines - the second runs Linux. Why can't I upgrade NT? Because the machine only has a P2/300 processor in it, and I'm fairly certain that a 'newer' OS will slow it down to something unbearable.

      Why don't I care? Because I do all my real work on the Linux machine. The NT box is merely for Outlook, and testing our app using IE. I don't need anything faster, and frankly if the company was spending money, I'd rather have a raise than a replacement for that box.

      I figure most people who are still using NT or 9x are probably using it for similar things. If all you're using is Office, why do you need to upgrade when everything works just fine on the machine you've got? And yes, I get irritated that our sales folks always have the newest, shiniest computers on their desks while I have old machines on mine trying to do software development, but I've been able to make do just fine. Perhaps I could use a new machine more than they could, but it's not a battle I would win.

      At least for Linux we can use OpenMosix to get some improved performance. The suckers using Windows don't have anything like that.
      • With 192MB of ram or more Win2k will run fine on a P2-300. I ran it on a desktop with a P2-233 w/ 256MB and a laptop with a P2-266 and 192MB for several years at my last employer. Sure there were times when running the bloated Java frontend to Remedy that I would have liked a little beefier machine, but for 99+% of what I did it was fine.
    • In alot of cases in the business world, its not just about price or features. It comes down to answering a few questions:
      Does the current system work
      Will the current system work in one year

      If either of those are yes, and in some cases both, the will to upgrade gets shot down the tubes. It makes little to no sense to upgrade a station if it is doing its job, before the argument ever gets to money.
      Features are one thing that can supercede both the Is it working / money arguments, but
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:26AM (#7710193)
    People realize that that "activation" in XP is invasive, and undesirable. People will continue to need the ability to install the same purchased license on more than one machine.

    Being the last Windows that let you do this easily, I have a feeling that in a few years W2K will be going for a mint on eBay.

    • Or people will just pirate W2K for $0.50 (cost of a CD).
    • That's really irrelevant. Either you need to have all your licensing properly sorted out, in which case installing the software on two machines using the same key is unacceptable to begin with, or you don't. If you don't, then you also do not mind using any of the other less-than-proper approaches to get past WPA.

      If anything I think there will be a booming black market in cracked WinXP disks, a record number of BSA audits, and perhaps even raiding of private residences if the lobbies push hard enough.

      • in which case installing the software on two machines using the same key is unacceptable to begin with

        Not if it's a reinstall it isn't. Not if it's a change of motherboard it isn't.

        Also, what if you scrap one machine, and re-use its licence on another? That's made a lot harder by things like making the OEMs stick the licence number to the original machine case, and enforced limits on product activation.

        There's a reason people call it the microsoft tax, it's because microsoft acts like it is owed a fee

  • Win 95 at Work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MarkJensen ( 708621 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:29AM (#7710205) Homepage

    Until just recently (read: months), our standard desktop was still Win95! They just finished switching everyone to Win2k. However the KUKA robots we use to build cars still run Win95 for the GUI, and probably always will, as the hardware won't support much higher...

  • Why "up"grade? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) * on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:30AM (#7710206) Homepage Journal
    Why should I give up the use of 20 good workstations, Office 97, Windows 98, and everything working properly? I know that "up"grades never are. Things still work, we know how to use them, we've paid our money, we own everything.

    The alternative is to throw everything out, buy all new hardware (do you really want me to try to run XP on a Pentium 200 with 64Mb of RAM?), get stuck with a lease on the software, and then to get locked into whatever upgrade cycle Bill thinks is best for Micro$oft.

    Microsoft has chosen the greedy path, and eliminated themselves from the list of viable true upgrade paths. I'll upgrade those machines when RedHat (or someone else) gets their act together, supports the still functional Office 97 standard, and does it for less than $60/machine/year. All we need are bug and security patches!


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:30AM (#7710209)
    Back in the 80s and early 90s, desktop machines were still by and large a new thing for many companies. Not only did many not really have a USE for them, they upgraded because they believed the marketing that said "Thou shalt need this upgrade"

    Now, most people (managers especially) have a decade or more of computer use experience under their belt, perhaps even two, and can get a good idea for themselves of what a computer can actually do for them. Ten years experience seeing that a two-yearly upgrade cycle just leaves you with More Of The Same instead of something really new means people are seeing computers as just the tools they are, rather than something awe-inspiring that can solve their every problem

    It's like Graphic User Interfaces - they're a hell of a lot more complex now than the original Mac, but that's OK. The original mac was introduced to people who'd never seen a computer before, let alone a GUI. Nowadays, by the time someone buys their first computer with their own money, they're buying a machine with an interface they already have YEARS of getting used to using, and the extra complexity has been learned into them from age 5.
  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:32AM (#7710216) Homepage Journal
    Windows 2000 is a quantum leap beyond either the 9X/ME or NT lines. I couldn't imagine going back, although I don't see enough benefit to XP to move up just yet.

    I'd bet the reasons users retain the older operating systems have more to do with familiarity and the difficulty of upgrading than with the pricing (which was my first reaction) -- although Windows 2000 and XP offer a stunning level of compatibility with older hardware and a greatly enhanced user experience, the ability to migrate applications from an old system to a new system leaves something to be desired when compared to the DOS days where one could simply copy an application over.

    Microsoft may do well to adopt practices that increase the ability for users to upgrade painlessly, such as by doing away with their authentication system and promoting a means of moving a software package (with its associated configuration and data files) to a new Windows installation or to a different computer.

    • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) *
      How is Windows 2000 better? If you're running Office 97, or Office 2000, what does it do better than Windows 98SE?

      Nothing other than satisfy the immature need to have a newer toy.


      • Re:Quantum Leap? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by spinkham ( 56603 )
        Oh, just little things like being 10 times more stable, having a much better way to run services, and in genereal being a real OS. Not too many sexy new capabilities, but it's a SO much nicer user experience then any previous version of windows(and in my experience, then XP too..)
  • by professorhojo ( 686761 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:34AM (#7710226)
    I read somewhere that lately the market price of original Win95 and Win98 CDs have been going up for the first time... um... EVER! (They're going like hotcakes on Ebay too.)

    The market's a funny thing. Give your customers crappy features like DRM, and they'll find a way to tel you they're not interested... like back-grading to your previous versions.

    You watch... i predict that soon Microsoft will find some way to prohibit the sale of these original CDs. A law will get passed, probably under the guise of national security.

    prof. h.
    • by _|()|\| ( 159991 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @04:04PM (#7711938)
      Give your customers crappy features like DRM, and they'll find a way to tel you they're not interested... like back-grading to your previous versions.

      I took advantage of the Windows XP Pro downgrade rights [] to run Windows 2000:

      PCs licensed for Windows XP Professional OEM are licensed to use identified previous versions of Windows Operating System Product(s) in lieu of Windows XP Professional (Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 or Microsoft Windows 98 (Second Edition).
      I still think Windows 98 SE is preferable for games, but I don't miss it too much.
  • by ewg ( 158266 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:35AM (#7710229)
    A lot of Mac users are on Mac OS 8.x or 9.x as well, or using the Classic environment to run applications for OS 9.x under Mac OS X.

    It seems that when people buy a computer, they expect the software to last as long as the hardware.
  • What about Windows ME? I know some people who still run that OS (or POS, rather). Does anyone else still run it, and if so, why?
  • Simple reason... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:37AM (#7710240) Homepage Journal
    The only way to get Windows running on middle-class hardware is to install W98 or such...

    I've seen in many stores computers with config like: 2GHZ CPU, some Radeon gfx card, DVD, 5+1 audio card and to all that 128MB RAM (DDR). And of course Windows XP Home Edition. How fast will all that run when it has to use swap memory all the time?!
    Solution 1: Install more ram. And void warranty by doing so, because there's a warranty sticker on the case and no internals can be changed.
    Solution 2: Install some OS for which 128M RAM is more than enough. Like W98SE or such.
    • by Xpilot ( 117961 )
      You know, Linux 2.6 simply outperforms XP on similar hardware. I have an old Pentium IV 1.6 with 256 megabytes of DDR SDRAM. And I did some really cruel torture on it (in Gnome 2.4 with all the fancy effects, opened up Mozilla, Evolution, compiled gaim, turned on XMMS and watched a DivX in Mplayer... ALL AT THE SAME TIME). The OS didn't bat an eyelid. No XMMS skips, smooth video... let's see WinXP try that :)
  • by boutell ( 5367 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:37AM (#7710244) Homepage
    I gave a little mini-talk at a Philly Linux Users' Group meeting recently on lightweight web browsers. It was based on my experiences converting my wife's old laptop to Linux when she decided, for political reasons, that she was not willing to upgrade to another Windows product when Windows 95 finally became unstable and unusable on the machine.

    Her machine had 32 megs of RAM and a P166 MMX processor.

    As it turned out, Windows 95 plus Internet Explorer ran blazing rings around Debian Linux plus Mozilla, which was almost unusable, even after I switched her over to icewm and rxvt rather than the much heavier KDE environment. Eventually I found Skipstone [], which made her machine usable again, but only barely. To be quite honest, there is no Linux/browser combination that compares with the performance Windows 95/Internet Explorer can offer on that class of hardware, and there's no good reason to throw away a perfectly nice older laptop.

    Eventually, though, she upgraded to a Dell Latitude XPi which runs Linux much more comfortably -- although I still switched her to icewm and streamlined her startup drastically to get a reasonable boot time.

    • Hmmm. What about Debian/Galeon or Debian/Opera?

      Mozilla in 32 meg technically starts. But they recommend 64 meg minimum for good reason. Its arse is a certain size.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:42AM (#7710590) Homepage
      The biggest problem is the ram.

      if you would ahve installed vector linux it would have downright screamed and MozillaFirebird would work great if you had 128 meg of ram.

      I have 5 machines I have given to friends that are P166MMX and it is very VERY useable with Vector linux.

      Wordprocessor is ABI word.. which is 9000% faster than open office.

      Spreadsheet is Gnumeric, and it also is a billion times faster than Open office.

      you have a choice of about 4 built in tight window managers and you can install gnome or KDE is you desire.

      Give it a try.... Vector Linux. it is pretty impressive that they can take the fastest distro- slackware and make it faster and add a "apt" style of installer but is GUI based.
    • FYI:

      Linux tends to want memory over processor speed.

      Memory for laptops isn't too expensive on ebay. (I upped my old p166 laptop from 32M (16 onboard + 16M) to 80M (16 + 64M) for about 30 bucks.

      Well worth it. Galeon is pretty quick on OpenBSD now. I remember it being slower under Debian Woody, which is odd, since I was running a pretty stripped down install of it.

  • by NetDanzr ( 619387 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#7710249)
    I run Win98, but only because my Win95 machine died on me. As somebody who requires a computer for basic office tasks (Word, Excel), some photoediting and HTML editing, a 400MHz machine with 64MB RAM, Win98, Office 2000, Photoshop 6, HomeSite 4.5 and Opera 7.x is all I need.

    I've tried WinXP, and found it very frustrating. Rather than learning how to configure things, such as installing software to be accessible to all users, disabling that damn "You've got too many icons on your desktop" message and dozens of other annoyances, I decided a WinXP computer was not for me and instead kept my older machine.

    Of course, I do understand that some people need certain features that are available only in better operating systems, but let's face it: productivity software has very little new to offer, and sticking to an older version is not only cheaper, but also more efficient, as the user is already used to that particlular interface and features.

  • by clifgriffin ( 676199 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#7710251) Homepage
    Windows 98 is 70% of why I have a job.

    If companies realized just how much money they dump into fixing all of the problems Windows 98 is privy to, they'd all be on Windows XP.

    When I upgrade users to Windows 2000/XP I immediately stop getting Operating System related calls. Suddenly my only work is occassional malware, "my network is down", etc..

    Windows 98 is a horrible product, and it's a liability to most small businesses. Most of my clients would have saved hundreds of dollars to make the jump.

    • If companies realized just how much money they dump into fixing all of the problems Windows 98 is privy to, they'd all be on Windows XP.

      and as a freelance computer guy you are not a very good one.

      What you said there is so horribly bad advice it's glaring.

      if they are running windows 98, I know they aren't running it on P-4 computers with 1.8ghz or higher and 256 meg of ram.

      they are running on older machines that CAN'T run windowx XP worth a damn let alone probably at all. so now to upgrade to windows X
  • The Winner Is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wls ( 95790 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#7710255) Homepage
    Old and cheap usually beats new and expensive.

    For the average user, what do they really gain to moving to XP? A lot of fluff.

    What does the techy user gain from staying with 98? A closet full of games that still work.
  • I know of a few insurance companies that still rely primarily on a DOS based application that they continue to run under Win98 or Win95.

    One still uses DOS 6.22 on 486 based PC's for a few of their users.

    I have run the app in DOSEMU on Linux, but have problems with network support.

    I wish they would agree to migrate to a newer app.
  • Windows 2000 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mr.henry ( 618818 ) * on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:41AM (#7710264) Journal
    XP has been out for a couple years now, and I've tried 'upgrading' a couple times, but I always come back to Win2k. It is amazingly stable, fast, and compatible with every Windows app I've tried. The interface is clean and simple -- not like the fruity looking XP default one. With a little tweaking (and a good firewall, of course), you can make it relatively secure too.

    Yes, I know MS sucks, but they did a great job with Win2k.

    • Re:Windows 2000 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Peeet ( 730301 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:00AM (#7710350)
      "The interface is clean and simple -- not like the fruity looking XP default one. With a little tweaking (and a good firewall, of course), you can make it relatively secure too."

      Well with a little tweaking, you can make Windows XP look like Windows 2000 as well.

      "Yes, I know MS sucks, but they did a great job with Win2k."

      I have been running Windows XP Professional for a while now and although I am, as well, not too fond of the way Microsoft goes about business, (I hate them with a particularly fiery passion regarding their purchase of Bungie Software...) I admit that Windows XP, if used correctly will work better than Windows 2K, dare I say, even good enough for me to get stuff done, and even on a regular basis.

      My computer is a custom build, I leave it on all the time, and I do all sorts of wierd things to it. It has survived - there is life after Microsoft. My ability to do this (leave it on, have it work under stress) actually increased after upgrading to XP (and a bit more when upgrading to XP pro) and increased a lot when I ditched my HP Laptop and went to this custom rig.

      Of course, I also get MS Windows XP Pro from my college bookstore for $6.00, so if it weren't for the piracy busting price, I would be all over linux like a bum on a ham sandwich.
  • by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:42AM (#7710269) Journal
    here [] you can have a look at google's statistics - statisctics of "who is using google?"

    I think that major difference 6.6 % of XP users versus 38 % of XP users is caused by a very simple thing: win95/98 users are not connected to internet thus, they are not using google.

    based on this, news's survey is very likely to be true
  • by tarnin ( 639523 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:44AM (#7710278)
    I work for an ISP. I see alot (well hear) of companies still running on Win95 and 98. When I ask why the answers I usually get are "Why? This is working for us just fine!" and "We would love too but shelling out thousands for new hardware, the OS, upgrading the current programs, and training just isn't worth it."

    I think alot of people on /. seem to forget that a good 90% of users only know how to run certain programs in windows and thats it. Once they deviate from that, forget it, they are totally lost. The cost in training someone to use a newer OS and the programs associated it can sometimes run into the hundreds of thousands depending on the size of a company.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that most mid to smaller level companies do not have onsite IT people. They will either higher outside integrators who charge by the hour or just wing it and hope that the existing set up continues to work for as long as possible. In both situations the company is very very hesident to upgrade as it will cost a ton of money to effectivly get the same results as now.
  • Johnson & Johnson (Score:3, Interesting)

    by baglamist ( 590601 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:46AM (#7710291)
    Johnson and Johnson, the huge medical/health conglomerate, had all of its employees running Windows 95 on their desktops until last year. It was a painful thing for us, living with that OS' instability (which led to rules like 'you must reboot your business computer every day'), but their policy is to keep all desktops standardized among the many J&J companies. (All our business PCs are IBM, which also says something about our conservative IT policies.)

    They rolled out Windows 2000, during 2002 and 2003, with a lot of thought, using its administration features for IT to gain much more control over individuals' machines--Administrator access to one's own PC is now a rare privilege. At least our desktop computers are less wonky now.

    There's no way the company will "upgrade" to XP; probably we will migrate to Windows 2005 in 2008 or so, if there is some compelling reason to do so.
  • by base_chakra ( 230686 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @10:48AM (#7710297)
    it only makes sense that they're running it somewhere.

    Well observed, CowboyNeal. ;)
  • by cluge ( 114877 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:00AM (#7710352) Homepage
    Win 95 to Win98 was an improvement, 98 was more stable, and supported more hardware (or so it seemed). Thus the masses bought Win98, and they thought Win98 to ME would be an improvement. Windows ME was such an unstable POS and Win 2k didn't support their consumer hardware. The masses revolted and went back to Win 98, with a bitter taste in their mouth. A then an economic downturn ensued (not related) - the masses stopped spending, and made due with what they had.

    As the economy picks up, win XP (which is a far cry from the miserable ME experience) will start to be adopted more and more. MS has to overcome the bitter taste left in the mouth of consumers when they tried to foist ME on us. Oh yeah, and businesses REALLY didn't like ME (I know of at least 2 companies that would purchase dell laptops, and would wipe and reload 98 on them when they arrived).

    A couple of axioms for the MS marketing people to remember
    • Time heals all wounds
    • People know what people know, and generally are scared of change (thus MS gives us the "classic" look in XP)
    • Bad word of mouth travels twice as fast and twice as far as good word of mouth

    AngryPeopleRule []
  • Misread! (Score:3, Funny)

    by mraymer ( 516227 ) <> on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:06AM (#7710373) Homepage Journal
    I misread that as "Retarded Microsoft Operating Systems Still Popular" which might not be a stretch for a Slashdot headline. ;)

    I have a simple explanation for why end users aren't jumping on XP.... Perhaps they think "Windows 2000" must be better than "Windows XP" because 2000 is a really big number! Har har. Seriously, I bet that does have a bit of an impact on the end user. I mean, look how much MHz/GHz numbers impact sales. I think a lot of people simply see a big number and think it must be better.

    As for those still stuck on win9x... well, they have my pity, but I can understand them. Who really wants to pay $100+ for a new OS, especially in a sluggish economy?

    I'm pretty happy with XP. I think the fact that it was only $20 through my school helped me like it more. ;)

  • by TyrranzzX ( 617713 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:27AM (#7710486) Journal
    No freggin duh. The 1990's were filled with a bunch of "faster, bigger, better, smarter, k3wler. Brownnose browwnose brownnose" then oop, outta buisness. We hit a mini-depression, companies got a bit tighter, started questioning weither or not spending all that money was neccisary and many who were frugal before decided that their systems are just find and work allright now. When and if they've got the money later on, they'll upgrade and they'll do it right. The critics and wall street fanatical idiots are in their high chairs rattling their books getting all exited over a boom that'll never happen because if corperate america learned anything in the 1990's, it's that a good technician is hard to find, and that spending copious amounts of money on IT equipment that you don't need will put you out of buisness.

    Eventually, computers will break down and die or get too slow for their owners needs, or finally drive them insane, and that's where I'm seeing the majority of the market coming from in the coming years; upgrades and repairs. We've got the infastructure, now we've got to maintain it. Few if anyone is going to go for bleeding edge stuff, they want perfected, mature hardware and software. We're also going to see a lot of old people working, since the baby boomers who make up a large percentage of our economy are going to go into retirement and the companies they're going to be getting pension checks from are probably going to go under.

    I'v also noticed a trend in the computer industry; MS's software has been getting more expensive. In 1998, a copy of win95 went for about $99, upgrade ed of win98 $99 and full ver of win98 $149. Now, in 2003, winxp home ed costs a whopping $199, and the corp edition costs $299 which for some computers is half the price of the machine. Is longhorn going to cost $499? I MS wants to know why sales of their latest OS is dismal in the corperate and goverment enviroment, mabye it's because it's too expensive to justify.
  • XP to intrusive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:30AM (#7710505)
    I work for an organization with 13,000 employees. There are 300 workstations in my division. Most still run Win95.

    It took about two years and $5M dollars in hardware costs and MS License fees, plus the costs of 3rd party software replacements, to switch our organization from Win3.11FWG. Currently we replace a couple of PCs a week, and they come with W2K pre-installed, so our Win95 counts are dropping as our Win2K counts rise.

    Our XP count remains minicule. We cannot use XP on most workstations because of its EULAs which demand that MS and certain 3rd party vendors be given remote access to our hardware to 'add or remove any software' they wish -- for 'security' reasons, of course. A very big Federal agency refuses to allow us to allow that, not suprisingly, so that their data remains safe while in our keeping.

    That means that when the EOL for W2K has passed, and the channel is emptied of W2K shrink-wraps, our new PCs will come naked or with Linux pre-installed. Our bulk licenses allow us to move Win OSs around, but the new PCs will have hardware for which no Win95 or Win2K drivers exist. When that day arrives Microsoft will have truely locked themselves out of our shop. That scenerio would change over night if Gates modified his EULAs and didn't require remote access, but I doubt his greed or paranoia would allow such a policy change.

  • by acceleriter ( 231439 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:39AM (#7710566)
    My employer is an OEM customer. The other day, a programmer's machine with the volume license version of XP started whining that it couldn't verify the activation or some such. Since it thought it was an infringing copy, it logged him off each time he would log on. The MS Premier resolution? Reinstall. So 1 FTE's time is wasted while this is done. Lower TCO my ass.

    Had the organization stayed with Win2K, this never would have come up.

    Realistically, Windows 98 is probably the last version of Windows that can be reasonably kept from calling home, and has a higher probability of not having some kind of government back door. You think MS got a slap on the wrist in the antitrust action for free?

  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:40AM (#7710572) Homepage
    Oh, wait, I forgot - people reinstall it every week.

  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @11:52AM (#7710642) Homepage
    At my customer's office they have most of the big apps running on a db cluster with a web front end. Other than that the average user needs Word, Outlook, maybe Excel. There are a few users with special needs for reviewing video from the ad agency and doing some high-end graphics work and the developers have some pretty bad ass workstations, but for 85% of their users Win98 is more than enough. They don't want to upgrade. They've got a rack of 1U servers running ASP apps on NT 4 and we have to restart them maybe once every three or four months. Their attitude is the old machines are working fine so why should they switch?

    I've seen this before, the Microcrap forced upgrade-o-rama. In the past they grumbled but did it anyway. This time is different for some reason. Instead of just biting the bullet and making the upgrade they started asking if there were any other web servers that didn't have to be upgraded and patched so often that would work on their old hardware. As a matter of fact...

    At home I've got one 98ME laptop and one Win2K box left, everything else is Linux. Haven't loaded XPee at home and never plan to.

  • by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) < minus author> on Saturday December 13, 2003 @12:07PM (#7710714)
    I have a number of versions of windows (all legal). Since I'm a developer I tended to collect some of them. Also a few years ago I was a dealer and sold some machines and had to take back at my expense certain OS copies because the customers simply could not use them.

    My son uses win2k and I have a machine with NT 4.0 on it. I presently have a machine that runs 95 too - but it is an old P90 and it is turned on only once in a blue moon.

    What I've found is that my son has had a great deal if difficulties with win2K. He has re-installed more than 5 times. The OS loses its network printers regularly. He whines about it of course and threatens to get a copy of XP.

    I don't think his machine will run XP very well so if he does that he may as well throw out the present machine. Talk about crap eh?

    Meanhile I've pretty much abandoned my NT machine and am now using the Debian Linux machine virtually 99% of the time. I may even install VMware and if I do this - I may be able to go back to only one machine. It will save me a bit of electricity.

    So an effect that I presonally predicted several years ago is happening - that effect is that old copies of microsoft software are competing directly with newer versions. Given this - I am surprised to see that Microsoft revenues are holding up... or are they?

    If the revenues don't materialize, Microsoft shares could erode in value at an unprecedented rate. This would be due to the fact that the number of shares Microsoft has issued is mind boggling.

    I personally do not see Microsoft as a growth company at all. While I will not short them, there is no way I'd invest in them either.
  • A Win98 Story (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @01:16PM (#7711057) Homepage Journal
    At one stage I was given the task of writing a some data collection software for a casino. They had a very old program, that they didn't want to change, that could spew the data in raw format down a socket. My company was going to take the casino data and pump it into our software to do pretty visualisations. That meant we had to read that raw format coming of the socket, and process it into something useful that we could visualise.

    I knocked up a quick program to read the raw data off the socket and just log it so we could get a wfew days sample of data to make sure it was conforming to the format they specified and check for unforseen glitches (of which there were, in the end, many). I left that running, but when I came back the next day the "constant stream" had cut out at 6am. I had only written a very simple logging program to collect, so I hadn't bothered t o handle the case that the server was going to close the socket connection on me, so I had no data after 6am. So much for a days worth of collection. The reason, I found, was the the "very old program" that they were using was a DOS program, which didn't run properly on Win2k (so they claimed) so it was on Win98. The reason I kept getting holes in the stream at 6am (I fixed the logger to handle socket closures, wait till it was back up and start logging again) was that they had to reboot the box every morning at 6am. Well, not had to - but they felt a regular scheduled reboot was a lot better than the slightly less regular unscheduled reboots they used to get.

    In the end We wrote our proper socket collection code to just shut down at 6am, which was when we fired up our data processing on the nightly collection, then picked up again at 6:02 when the reboot was done.

  • Older is golder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @01:35PM (#7711181) Homepage
    In our company, we have tonnes of old Pentium1 machines and copies of windows95/98 and NT4. Many have been donated to schools but still more are piled in our cabinets, so we decided to use them as Terminal Service clients at various locations on the factory floor. With WindowsNT, it becomes stable and secure enough not to need constant maintenance.

    At home, I have two Pentium1s with old 14" monitors and Windows95. The OS runs well with 32-64MB ram and many nice old games some of which require DOS interrupts, others that access the framebuffer and soundblaster buffers directly, work very well. I have yet to find ways to run those old nice games on Windows2000 or XP.

    The newer computers that we're buying nowadays are shipped with Windows2000. We do not prefer XP and will certainly avoid the upcoming 2003. As the older computers with Windows2000 will become obsolete, we'll use their licenses on newer workstations with Pentium4 2.2GHZ and 512mb ram, should work nicely.

    I just dont like what Microsoft did with XP onwards. They tried to make the OS smart on its own and guess network configurations, which becomes a nightmare for net admins. We'll eventually move to XP, after the next OS after 2003 ships. Till then we'll try our best to keep the Windows2000 copies around, while using Windows95 with Terminal Services where it works for us.
  • by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @01:53PM (#7711258)

    Joe Sixpack doesn't care about keeping up with the latest and greatest. Take my parents for instance. The use their pc for browsing the web, e-mail, AOL instant messenger, word processing and CD burning. Their current system is fast enough for what they need to do, all the software runs fairly well and they have no real reason to upgrade anytime soon.

    I'm sure a lot of corporations, especially small businesses, are the same way. If the system runs the software they need at an acceptable speed there is really no reason to upgrade. I service a lot of small businesses happily running Windows 98 (I don't see too many systems with 95 any more) on several systems and they don't plan on upgrading anytime soon. The larger businesses I service, on the other hand, are largely running Windows 2000 with some XP systems in the mix mainly do to the additional security and for group policy.

    If your running Windows 98 and everything is working alright for you, there really isn't any incentive to upgrade to Windows XP IMHO. I can't think of any single must have feature for the average computer user. If corporations are using Windows 2000 or 2003 Server there are some incentives to running Windows 2000 or XP on the client end.

    I do feel that your going to see more and more users upgrade, albeit at a slower rate than Microsoft is used to. There are applications being released (iTunes springs to mind) that simply will not run on Windows 98 and Me. I have a feeling that this will increasingly be the case. Eventually users will come across an application they need, or an upgrade to an existing application they run that has some new feature they want to use, that simply will not run on 98/Me and they will be forced to upgrade.

  • Good Enough. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Big Sean O ( 317186 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @01:53PM (#7711260)
    Most home users don't twaddle with operating systems. Ever. My mother bought a computer over 5 years ago and she hasn't updated the OS. I doubt she ever will.

    Most very small businesses do the same thing. My dry cleaner has a 486 running a DOS-based database program that keeps track of my drycleaning. I remember using something very similar on a job in 1988.

    Many companies don't bother going with the latest and greatest. It's just not worth it to churn their computers and operating software every 2-3 years. Unless they're in IT, it doesn't matter much which version of MS Office they're using.
  • by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @02:35PM (#7711471) Homepage Journal
    It may surprise a lot of folks to know that good ole' DOS is still widely used, and wildly popular, in industrial and engineering environments. And why not? Very small footprint, mature and stable, relatively easy to program for, great for embedded stuff, and loads of 'net-based software archives Out There with enough handy applications and programmig tools to choke a goat.

    During my tenure at Boeing, I saw a number of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine-control applications in the factory that were all DOS-based. In the electronics labs, many design or data-acquisition tools are DOS-based. And here, in my home lab, I've got a blort-load of radio service software that requires a pure DOS platform or it simply won't run.

    "Retired" OS's are popular for a variety of reasons, just as older test equipment is often favored over much newer stuff. One of those reasons is that the underlying principles of what you're trying to do never change: Only the degree of complexity needed to get it done does.

  • by !Xabbu ( 1769 ) on Saturday December 13, 2003 @03:30PM (#7711747) Homepage
    Well duh.. I wonder why... at $150 an upgrade I would stick with 98 too.. ME was a piece of crap, XP is great, but its expensive and I swear it just SEEMS that my privacy is almost non existant.. I honestly can't explain why I feel that way.. its just a feeling. Microsoft needs to realize that an OS shouldn't cost so damn much. They need to use it as a marketing tool for the rest of their crap.. god knows people buy it apparently. Cost of ownership of microsoft products is just too much for your average consumer. People simply just don't have the money for it all.. thus they pirate and then MS hikes the price more and makes it harder to pirate, thus.. they stick with 95 and 98.. I've always said that common sense doesn't drive consumerism in this society...

User hostile.