Microsoft Corporation is now preparing to release the first service pack for Windows 98 in early 1999, after dumping plans to release it last summer. Instead, the features that would have been including in SP1 over the summer were released as a "multimedia update" to Windows Update, a Web-based service for Windows 98 users. Service Pack 1 (SP1) will include new hardware support, new features, and the few bug fixes that Windows 98 has required since it was released.
Service Pack 1 will include:
- Support for modular "Device Bay" hardware.
- USB modem support and support for other new modem hardware.
- New LAN features.
- Security bug fixes that have already been released piecemeal as needed.
- An update to WebTV for Windows that supports a new programming guide
and new TV tuner cards.
- Increased network performance for ATM networks.
Windows 98 SP1 will be made available to beta testers by the end of the month, but Bennett doesn't expect it to have the problems that have dogged the Office 97 service packs.
"I feel confident in saying that with Windows 98, at this point, there hasn't been any one issue that has had critical mass. \[The problems have\] been very rare, relatively minor," he said. "We're in a much better position with Windows 98 than we were with Windows 95.