US PC vendors already providing Windows 98

The official launch of Microsoft's Windows 98 is still a week away. But the first wave of PCs with Windows 98 pre-installed is now hitting some retail stores and mail-order PC vendors.

Retailers including Best Buy, CompUSA and Computer City say they have a limited supply of machines with Microsoft's new operating system. Meanwhile, Dell, Gateway and Micron are among the direct PC vendors that can configure a new machine with Win 98.

Shipments of the OS will crest on June 25, when retailers begin filling orders for the Windows 98 upgrade CD-ROM. That's also the date when Microsoft tech support will officially begin taking calls and offering Win 98-specific information at its Web site.

To prepare for the launch, Microsoft says it has added tech support staff and will post a couple of hundred Windows 98-specific how-to articles on its Support Online Web site.

But Group Marketing Manager Scott Langmack says Microsoft expects Win 98 to be a smooth upgrade for most users.