Two years after its debut, Windows 98 received an update when Windows 98 Second Edition hit the US retail shelves last week.
Microsoft Australia reports its OEM partners already have copies of the product, with pre-loaded shipping expected to start in mid-July. Stand-alone versions are expected to hit Australian retail shelves on June 24, with pricing unchanged at $169.
Windows 98 Second Edition adds new functions including NetMeeting 3.0, Internet Connection Sharing, Internet Explorer 5.0, as well as new drivers - notably some for new Universal Serial Bus devices.
The only snag is the free Service Pack 1 bug fix for current users won't be downloadable for several weeks.
Microsoft had previously said it would post the Windows 98 Service Pack 1 on its Web site for free download about the same time the Second Edition ships. The Service Pack, which primarily offers bug fixes, is built into Windows 98 SE. You can download IE 5.0 separately for free as well.
Buy it online
Users running Windows 95 or Windows 98 can order the Windows 98 SE update through Microsoft's Web site at www.microsoft.com/australia/ buyit/windows for $13.95, which includes documentation for IE 5 and the Internet Connection Sharing software.
Windows 98 launched in June 1998 featuring a browser-style interface and has sold an estimated 55 million copies.
Microsoft is preparing a bevy of additional versions of Windows. A Windows 98 successor aimed at consumers is in development for release in 2000. That product is separate from Windows 2000, which Microsoft describes as the next version of Windows NT and is scheduled to ship by the end of this year.
Microsoft is refining Windows CE for handheld devices and is building 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows to run on advanced processors.