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Windows 98: Upgrade or Not?

A  look at the follow-up to Win95, both the beauty and the pitfalls.
By David Andrews, Forum Manager

Windows 98, the barely-heralded Microsoft upgrade to Windows 95, hit UK retailer shelves on 25 June. We’ll excuse you if you missed the fanfare. There wasn’t any.

In stark contrast to its launch of Windows 95, Microsoft has been oddly low-key about it newest product. Even stranger given their claim that Win98 will ship on 90% of new PC systems by the end of July.

So why the silence? Well, there just isn’t anything revolutionary to talk about. It has some nice features, of course. Particularly useful is the Maintenance Wizard that allows you to schedule routine chores on your PC. This includes the new ‘Disk Cleanup’ utility that frees space by deleting your various caches of temporary files.

Communications get a boost from new on-board fax software that actually works and is easy to use. Games benefit as well, with support for the latest-generation multimedia and gaming technologies including DVD and multiple monitors. There’s also a built-in WebTV, which is a nice touch.

But despite the fact that Windows 98 is supposed to be so very Internet-hip, the truth remains that most of the new features are already a part of Internet Explorer 4.0. For people already running Windows 95 with IE 4 and the Active Desktop, life will look very much the same.

The real bonus comes in speed, with faster application launches, a quick shut down and a recovery of up to 25% of your hard drive space thanks to FAT32 and its efficient file allocation.

Those interested can expect to pay around 80 and will need 120 – 300 MB of free space for the upgrade.
Visit www.microsoft.com/windows98/ for more information.

David Andrews is an Applications Engineer and hardware addict with a background in software support. 

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