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Testers get Win98 service pack

Beta testers get the early version of the service pack, a collection of bug fixes and hardware support for the OS.

Microsoft released the Windows 98 service pack to beta testers over the weekend for a final tuneup before a wide-scale deployment of the collection of bug fixes and hardware support for the company's consumer OS later this year.

In addition to previously announced components, the service pack, called SP1, also includes the latest service release for the Internet Explorer 4 browser, Microsoft said.

Microsoft says it has sold about 10 million copies of Windows 98 thus far. Despite strong sales, the operating system has been criticized by buyers almost since its release because of latent upgrade problems with older machines and spotty recognition of peripheral devices.

Service Pack 1 for Windows 98 includes:
• Service Pack 2 for Internet Explorer 4

• Support for modular Device Bay hardware

• Additional support for modem drivers

• Increased support for USB modems

• Additional support for local area networks

• Security Updates, such as the patch for the Outlook Express email file attachment bug

• WebTV update, which includes support for Gemstar programming guide and new TV tuner chipsets

• Networking enhancements that will enable dial-up connections over ATM networks


Source: Microsoft

SP1 will address some of these glitches by providing additional compatibility for certain modems, local area networks, and modular Device Bay hardware. The service release will also include all security updates introduced since Windows 98 was launched and updates to WebTV for Windows.

Microsoft is expected to release SP1 to all users early next year.

SP1 was sent to a relatively small group of beta testers, Microsoft said. This time around, Microsoft has split the beta testers into two groups: One will test the version that will ultimately be sent to PC makers, and one will test the retail version.

SP1 for Windows 98 will include SP2 for IE 4, the latest collection of bug fixes for Microsoft's browser that was released to a separate group of beta tested earlier this month, Microsoft said.

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