Updates to Windows 98

[Win98: TCR!] Updated: Oct 11, 1999

Microsoft has released quite a list of updates to Windows 98 since the product was shipped, including:

  • Fixes for three separate fairly serious security holes in Internet Explorer.
  • Fixes for minor Year 2000 date display problems
  • New versions of Netmeeting, Front Page Express and other bundled programs
  • Language support for Chinese, Japanese, and other languages that can't be displayed using the standard Windows set of characters.
  • A few updated device drivers.
  • A "critical update" program that checks with Microsoft from time to time and pops up a window when Microsoft thinks there's an update you need.
  • More desktop themes that are, if such a thing is possible, even uglier than the themes that came with Windows 98.

We recommend that you install the security updates, Year 2000 fixes, and updated device drivers.

You can also install any of the other updates that seem interesting or useful.

All updates are available on the Windows Update web site.

Downloading and installing updates

  1. Make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet.
  2. Start Internet Explorer. (This doesn't work with Netscape since it uses undocumented proprietary Microsoft-only features. Tsk, tsk.)
  3. Go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. If there's a Windows Update entry on your Start menu, click that to get to the same place.
  4. In the Windows Update web page, click Product Updates.
  5. A catalog page will load, very slowly. If it asks if it's OK to install an ActiveX program, say yes. (You don't have much choice here.) When it asks if it's OK to check what software's loaded, also say yes.
  6. Eventually you'll see a catalog of downloadable updates. Scroll through it and check the ones you want, at least the three security updates and Year 2000 update. You can come back and download stuff whenever you want, so you may want to download the larger items one at a time.
  7. Click the blue Download arrow. You arrive at a Download Checklist page where you can see what you're about to download. Assuming it's right, click the large blue Start Download arrow. Read the license agreement it presents, click yes if you can tolerate its terms.
  8. Wait a long time as your updates download, potentially several hours. Fortunately, the download and install process is quite automatic, and you can do something else while your computer sucks down the updates and installs them.
  9. When it's done it'll display a little box saying what it did. Whew!
To see if there are any updated device drivers for your system, click on Device Drivers in the Windows Update page. It'll see what devices you have, check for newer drivers, and offer to download any that it finds.

What About Internet Explorer 5.0 ?

Microsoft offers Internet Explorer 5.0 on the Windows Update web site.

We've tried it. The new facilities are fairly minor, like remembering what you typed in a fill-in field last time so you don't have to type it again, but nothing compelling.

You can install IE 5.0 if you want, but it's no great loss if you don't.

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