Windows Support Menu
There are many new features in Microsoft Windows 98 which allow the PC to do more. Things happen faster, with an immediate gain of 25% or more disk space, and the Internet becomes a central part of the computing experience.
The new features fall into the following four categories:
Integrated Internet Shell
The Integrated Internet Shell included with Windows 98 makes Internet access a seamless part of the user interface. Users will no longer have to learn multiple applications—one to look at their local information, perhaps another to look at their network, and yet another to use the Internet or intranet. With the Integrated Internet Shell, Windows 98 unifies this process into one utility to universally view local, network, intranet, and Internet data. You can get to the information you need faster and easier.
Advanced Internet browsing functionality
Windows 98 provides the easiest, fastest, and most entertaining way to browse the Web. This is done via Advanced browsing capabilities such as:
Personalized Internet information delivery
When users are asked the biggest problem they have with the World Wide Web, the number one response is getting the information they need. Windows 98 addresses this problem by providing a mechanism to automatically select and schedule downloads of the information you care about. This enables you to see what has changed on a Web site without physically visiting the site and even allows you to view the site when you are not connected to the Web.
Suite of Tools for Internet Communication
Windows 98 also contains rich tools for online communication including:
Windows Update Manager
The Windows Update Web site is an extension to Windows 98. It is a new, centralized Web-based resource site that allows registered Windows 98 users to get more out of their PC. Windows Update keeps users’ systems tuned and up-to-date by providing easy access to the latest drivers and operating system files on an on-going basis. Windows Update also makes computing easier by providing product assistance with up-to-date information and answers to users’ "how-do-I-do" and "how-do-I-fix" questions.
Dial-Up Networking improvements (including Multilink Channel Aggregation)
The Dial-Up Networking included with Windows 98 has been updated to support:
Client support for Virtual Private Networking (VPN)
Virtual Private Networking is a new networking support for remote users to access their corporate network via a secure connection. Virtual Private Networking utilizes the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). Support for this service is natively built in to the operating system.
Online Services Folder
The Windows 98 desktop contains an Online Services Folder with links to America Online (AOL), AT&T WorldNet, CompuServe 3.0, and Prodigy clients. When you click the link to the client, a setup program starts that automatically registers you with that Internet Service Provider.
Internet Connection Wizard
The Internet Connection Wizard is designed to make a first-time connection to the Internet simple. The Internet Connection Wizard gives the user a list of national ISPs to choose from, and then the Wizard does all the software configuration for the user.
15 Troubleshooting Wizards
These Troubleshooting Wizards can help you quickly diagnose and solve technical problems with Windows 98. Troubleshooters are scenario-based walkthroughs that can be customized to the user situation by choosing the answer that fits the situation.
The Troubleshooting Wizards included in Windows 98 address the following areas:
Several enhancements have been made to the Windows 98 setup program in an effort to decrease setup time while increasing setup reliability. In addition, the setup interface shows you how far along you are with the setup process.
The time it takes to shut down the system has been dramatically reduced in Windows 98.
FAT32 is an improved version of the FAT file system that allows disks over two gigabytes to be formatted as a single drive. FAT32 also uses smaller clusters than FAT drives, resulting in a more efficient use of space on large disks. On average, users will get as much as 28 percent more hard drive space using FAT32.
Power management improvements
Windows 98 includes built-in support for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI). This allows you to switch on or off your PC as you would your TV set. ACPI is an open industry specification proposed by Intel, Microsoft, and Toshiba that defines hardware interfaces that allow for standard power management functionality throughout a PC system. In addition to ACPI support, Windows 98 includes support for the Advanced Power Management (APM) 1.2 extensions including: disk spindown, PCMCIA modem power down, and resume on ring.
Windows scripting host
Windows 98 supports direct script execution from the user interface or the command line (a script is simply a series of commands that can be automatically executed). This support is provided via the Windows Scripting Host (WSH) and allows administrators and/or users to save time by automating many user interface actions such as creating a shortcut, connecting to a network server, disconnecting from a network server, etc. The WSH is extremely flexible with built-in support for Visual Basic scripts, Java scripts, and a language-independent architecture that will allow other software companies to build ActiveX scripting engines for languages such as Perl, TCL, REXX, and Python.
New accessibility tools
Windows 98 includes two new accessibility tools including the Accessibility Configuration Wizard which helps people adapt Windows' options to their needs and preferences, and a low-end screen magnifier which helps people with moderate vision impairments and those working on unfamiliar machines.
Win32 Driver Model (WDM)
The Win32 Driver Model (WDM) is an all new, unified driver model for Windows 98 and Windows NT. WDM will enable new devices to have a single driver for both operating systems. The WDM has been implemented by adding selected NT Kernel services into Windows 98 via a special virtual device driver (NTKERN.VXD). This allows Windows 98 to maintain full legacy device driver support while adding support for new WDM drivers.
Windows Maintenance Wizard
The Windows Maintenance Wizard was designed to make the PC more self-maintainable. The Wizard schedules tune-up jobs to be run automatically on a regular basis. Windows Maintenance Wizard will help you by:
You can launch the Windows Maintenance Wizard from the System Tool group off the Start Menu. Features of Windows Maintenance Wizard include Disk Defragmenter, ScanDisk, and Disk Cleanup.
The new Disk Defragmenter uses the process of disk defragmentation to increase the speed with which your most frequently used applications run. To accomplish, this Disk Defragmenter creates a log file which identifies your most commonly used programs. Once this log file has been created, it can be used by Disk Defragmenter to store the files associated with most commonly run programs (the files will be stored contiguously on the hard disk). Placing all of the files associated with a given application in the same location on your hard disk will optimize the speed with which your application runs.
Windows 98 has been enhanced to run ScanDisk automatically in the event the operating system is shut down improperly or your hard disk suffers a hard error. This feature will significantly help people ensure that their hard drives are in proper working order, free of lost clusters or cross-linked files.
Disk Cleanup is a tool in Windows 98 that automates the task of cleaning unwanted files off the hard disk, increasing free space. This tool is especially useful to help users clean out Internet cache files that can accumulate after browsing the Web. Additionally, this tool is customizable by the user to designate files to remove.
Microsoft System Information Utility 4.1
Windows 98 now contains a centralized system information utility that gathers system configuration information for technical support. This tool comprises a collection of ActiveX controls, each responsible for collecting and displaying a certain category of system information in the right frame of Microsoft System Information Utility. A Support Engineer can guide the user experiencing an issue to Microsoft System Information Utility to facilitate the information gathering process.
System File Checker utility
System File Checker keeps track of critical files that make your computer run. If these files are moved or changed, System File Checker provides an easy way to restore these files. Once file changes are detected, System File Checker offers the user several courses of action.
Registry Checker is a proactive support program that finds and resolves Registry problems, and regularly backs up the Registry. Windows 98 provides both an MS-DOS and a Windows-based program for scanning the Registry and backing up and restoring the Registry and system configuration files.
Automatic Skip Driver Agent (ASD)
Automatic Skip Driver Agent (ASD) identifies potentially dangerous failures that are known to have caused Windows 98 systems to stop responding and marks them so they are bypassed on subsequent startups.
Automatic Skip Driver:
New Dr. Watson utility
Windows 98 includes an enhanced version of the Dr. Watson utility. With Dr. Watson enabled, when a software fault occurs (general protection fault, hang, etc.), Dr. Watson will intercept it and indicate what software faulted and why. In addition, Dr. Watson collects detailed information about the state of your system at the time the fault occurred. It logs this information to disk, and can display it on screen to assist administrative and product support personnel in determining the cause of the fault.
System Configuration utility
System Configuration Utility is the graphical replacement for Sysedit. This tool allows the user to troubleshoot through a process of elimination with check boxes. System Configuration Utility allows the user to create and restore backups of configuration files.
Version Conflict Manager
Version Conflict Manager detects file version conflicts with installed programs. Windows 98 will then install the Windows version of the driver. By doing this, Windows 98 puts the system in an optimal compatibility stage. Version Conflict Manager also stores all files and has an easy user interface that enables the user to change the driver if needed.
New backup utility
This new backup applet supports SCSI tape devices and makes backing up your data easier and faster.
Remote Access Server
Windows 98 includes all of the components necessary to enable your desktop to act as a dial-up server. This allows dial-up clients to remotely connect to a Windows 98 machine for local resource access or connecting to an IPX/SPX and/or NetBEUI network.
Display Setting Enhancements
Display Setting Enhancements provide support for dynamically changing screen resolution and color depth. Adapter refresh rate can also be set with most newer display driver chipsets.
Windows 98 also includes the display enhancements previously available in Microsoft Plus!. These enhancements are:
WebTV for Windows
This new feature allows a PC to act as a receiver of broadcast information, including television programs. With Windows 98 and a TV tuner card supported by Windows 98 installed , the PC can:
ActiveMovie is a new media-streaming architecture for Windows that delivers high-quality video playback while exposing an extensible set of interfaces upon which multimedia applications and tools can be built. ActiveMovie enables playback of popular media types including MPEG audio, .WAV audio, MPEG video, AVI video, and Apple QuickTime video.
Support for Intel MMX Processors
Provides support for third parties to build software that exploits the Intel Pentium Multimedia Extensions (MMX) for fast audio and video support on the next generation of Intel Pentium processors.
Support for New Generation of Hardware
One of the major goals of Windows 98 is to provide complete support for users to take advantage of the array of innovations that have occurred in computer hardware over the last few years. Some of the major hardware standards supported by Windows 98 include: Universal Serial Bus (USB), IEEE 1394, Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI), and DVD.
Multiple Display Support
There have been several enhancements to Windows 98 with respect to PCMCIA technology, including:
Support for PC Card32 (Cardbus):
Cardbus brings 32-bit performance to the small PC Card form factor. It enables notebooks to implement high-bandwidth applications like video capture and 100Mbps networking.
Support for PC Cards that operate at 3.3 Volts:
This enables hardware manufacturers to lower the power consumption of their devices by using 3.3V rather than 5V.
Support for Multifunction PC Cards:
Allows two or more functions (such as LAN and modem, or SCSI and sound) on a single physical PC Card. Supporting multifunction cards makes better use of the precious number of slots on most PCs permitting more functions per PC and decreasing the cost-per-function of PC Cards.
Built-in support for Infrared Data Association (IrDA)
Windows 98 includes support for IrDA, the Infrared Data Association standard for wireless connectivity. IrDA support enables Windows 98 users to easily connect to peripheral devices or other PCs without using connecting cables. This driver set provides infrared-equipped laptop or desktop computers with the capability of networking, transferring files, and printing wirelessly with other IrDA-compatible infrared devices.
Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM)
The Component Object Model (COM) allows software developers to create component applications. Now, Distributed COM (DCOM) in Windows 98 (and Windows NT 4.0) provides the infrastructure that allows DCOM applications (the technology formally known as Network OLE) to communicate across networks without needing to redevelop applications.
Client support for NetWare Directory Services (NDS)
Windows 98 includes Client Services for NetWare that support Novell NetWare Directory Services (NDS). This enables Windows 98 users to log on to Novell NetWare 4.x servers running NDS to access files and print resources. This service provides the key features that Novell users need, such as: NDS authentication, ability to browse NDS resources, ability to print to NDS print queues, and full support for processing NetWare login scripts, NDS property pages, and NDS passwords.
32-bit Data Link Control (DLC)
The Data Link Control (DLC) protocol is used primarily to access IBM mainframe and IBM AS/400 computers. The 32-bit DLC protocol software built in to Windows 98 enables a network administrator to add support for 32-bit and 16-bit DLC programs.