Now would be a good time to go download all the update files manually for these OS's and put them away some place safe, if you are a user of any of these.
Eventually Microsoft will pull those files offline and not make them available any more and Windows Update will not exist for those versions.
Right now you can still use Windows Update for these OS's, but there will be no new files created by Microsoft there...only the ones created before July 11,2006.
So if you have to reinstall for any reason, you won't have to panic...yet.
There is an unofficial service pack for WinME in the works over at MSFN
and there is one completed for 98SE already, as far as I know.
, and the rest of the crew are hard at work making Win98 and WinME even better than Microsoft ever did with the official fixes/patches. They are testing, testing, testing like crazy and in many cases using files that were included in patches for Win2k & XP....and some unofficial patches that were much more stable than the ones Microsoft released.
If you take the time to follow the entire thread on that forum, it will become obvious that this is no small undertaking. It might even change your mind a little about the 9x Windows line. It's not as bad as some think and it still has a lot of life left in it.
As far as dropping support for older versions of Windows. Ok, Microsoft has the right to do that. But is it a good thing for the owners of older pc's that can't run a newer OS that soon you won't even be able to get the older patches from them any more? And even all the old Knowledge Base articles will disappear in time. Upgrading is not an option for some people.
Maybe Ford isn't going to recall a 78 Mustang, but I bet somewhere you can still get parts to repair one when you need to, and there are even other companies making those parts still, in order to service the classic car market. You can still take it somewhere for an oil change. I bet you can even get brakes & tires for it fairly easily too.
I hope there are enough knowledgeable classic Windows OS enthusiasts out there to help keep my old P1 secure and stable. That old computer is like a member of my family and I am not going to put it to sleep any more than I would my own father. Old is not useless...it's just old.
And as long as it still runs I will still use it....Just like I still use my Atari 7800, Sega Genesis, my microwave oven from the 80's, and my Kenmore sewing machine from the 70's (which you can still get parts from Sears for it).
And keep this in mind too: Just because a person has an old computer that runs an old OS, their money isn't worth any less than anybody else's, they aren't any less human, and they are not in any less need of quality software.
If you write software and can somehow keep supporting 9x, and not get an insulting attitude towards the people that still use 9x, that money will be in your pocket. Adding a few extra lines of code to disable a few features that won't work on 9x isn't a big deal and the rewards to your pocket will be greater than the time spent writing those few lines. And there are a lot of people out there running 9x that will love you for it and consider you a hero.