In an attempt to woo new customers and persuade existing ones to wave goodbye to the Windows 95 operating system, Microsoft Corp yesterday spelled out the main benefits of upgrading to Windows 98. Central to its argument is the new operating system’s souped- up range of PC hardware and entertainment capabilities. Windows 98 supports USB, […]
In an attempt to woo new customers and persuade existing ones to wave goodbye to the Windows 95 operating system, Microsoft Corp yesterday spelled out the main benefits of upgrading to Windows 98. Central to its argument is the new operating system’s souped- up range of PC hardware and entertainment capabilities. Windows 98 supports USB, or Universal Serial Bus. This is a standard interface that, for the first time, will allow users to literally plug in any USB-compliant peripheral devices- such as printers, scanners or digital cameras- without having to worry about driver compatibility problems. As the standard takes off, Microsoft said users could expect to see more than 150 new USB-enabled products launched over the next year. Another first for Microsoft, Windows 98’s broadcast architecture will enable users to have DVD-quality TV on their PCs (something which Apple Macintosh computers have offered for a while). Importantly, its interface and underlying system components will be the same as those on Web TV set-top boxes, which means users can also receive internet signals too, bypassing the need to have a separate dial-up modem for Internet connection. Secondly, although the Windows architecture itself hasn’t changed, the base components have been tweaked to make the system offer much faster performance. Microsoft says users will be able to access applications much faster and turn on and shut down their PCs much quicker; delays which have traditionally caused a great deal of frustration. The third main benefit is Microsoft’s claim that Windows 98 offers improved ease of use through internet integration; the main sticking point of the US Department of Justice. The new operating system has been designed, from ground up, with the internet in mind so that the browser effectively becomes the user interface. On the plus side, Microsoft says this will make it easier for users to find and navigate information, whether it resides on the PC or on the Internet. They’ve also added a new set of troubleshooting wizards to help you find your way around. But on the downside, for Netscape at least, with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer so intimately associated with the core operating system, who’s going to bother to install anything else?
Meantime, a Microsoft spokesperson said they hadn’t heard about a bug in Windows 98, news of which has been circulating in the UK since last week. A report in UK journal New Scientist says there’s a problem when installing Win98 over Win95 that can cause the system to crash. It says the problem lies with updating the registry database that stores user profiles, application and driver information that Windows accesses during boot up. Apparently because of its very complex nature some third party developers of device drivers of applications, won’t have used the registry in the way Microsoft fully intended. Thus, when the Win98 installer goes through the Win95 registry checking what to put into the new Win98 registry, non-Microsoft code could throw a spanner in the works and the system could crash.