Microsoft reversed plans to end support for its Windows 98 and Me operating systems after a deluge of complaints from disgruntled customers.

Support for Windows 98 and 98 SE was scheduled to end this Friday 16 January, while Me support was set to cease on 31 December.

But complaints, coupled with the fact that a quarter of all internet users are still running 98, have made Microsoft decide to continue the products' extended support phases. It will offer telephone assistance and online updates and patches for critical vulnerabilities for both 98 and Me until 30 June 06.

"Microsoft made this decision to accommodate customers worldwide who still depend upon these operating systems and to provide Microsoft more time to communicate its product lifecycle support guidelines in a handful of markets — particularly smaller and emerging markets," said the company in a statement.

The move brings Windows 98 SE support in line with current products, increasing support from four to seven years.

Full details about the extended support period for these operating systems can be found here from Thursday 15 January.