Microsoft said the discontinuing of support should not come as a surprise to PC users.
"This announcement is not a last minute announcement. As early as December 2002, we had announced an original end-of-support date for Windows 98, 98SE and ME for January 2003. We later extended the end-of-support date to June 2006 to allow customers enough time to migrate to a new and updated Windows operating system in order to continue receiving security and hotfix support," said the spokesman. "This last wave of communications is a final reminder for those who have postponed or delayed migrating from Windows 98 or Windows ME to Windows XP to finally put their plans into action."
There are still about 70 million Windows 98 and ME users worldwide, anti-virus vendor F-Secure said on its website earlier this month, adding that some firms are reluctant to update hardware due to potential high costs.
"So what to do if you're still running an older OS? Make sure you have a good anti-virus product and a firewall," F-Secure advised PC users.