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Version Conflict Manager

Version Conflict Manager (VCM) is a small tool built into Windows 98 that will allow users to view/compare/restore different versions of Windows 98 core files. During installations and updates, older versions of files may be detected by Windows 98 and replaced by with newer versions. The older files are backed up on the drive.

Should a version conflict appear, with VCM can be used to restore the previous version of the offending files.

One of the benefits of VCM’s existence is that during an installation or update of Windows 98, the user will not be prompted for permission to replace "newer" files with "older" versions.
Windows 98 will automatically replace the "newer" files. This will allow for unattended reinstalls and updates of Windows 98. The files that are replaced are backed up and accessible via VCM.

Another benefit is that if because of an installation or update, an application that is lost or broken due to support files being replaced with different versions, it will be possible to recover using VCM.
The user will have access to the previous versions of the replaced files and will be able to restore them. This will eliminate the need to reinstall the application.

How does VCM Work?

VCM can be launched by:

  1. using Microsoft System Information (Start - Programs – Accessories – System Tools – System Information)
  2. or by running the tool independently (Start – Run – VCMUI.EXE)

During an installation, if Windows 98 detects a discrepancy between the versions of two files, it will copy the current version to the C:\WINDOWS\VCM directory and allows the replacement to continue.
Windows 98 detects the difference between identical files using the version number and not the date of the file.
Upon running VCM, the user will be able to view the date the backup occurred, the version of the backed up file and the version of the current file in use. This information is stored in the registry.

The user can select a file and restore it by clicking the "Restore Selected Files" button. This action will prompt VCM to copy the current version to the VCM directory and renaming it with the extension "*.000" and copy the backed up version to its original location.

Following the same steps, the user can reverse the change. VCM will copy the current file in use, which was originally the backed up version to the VCM directory without renaming. Then it will copy the file with the "*.000" extension to its original location and renaming with the correct extension.

The user should restart Windows 98 after making any changes via VCM.

How effective is VCM?

VCM will only show information about core Windows 98 files that are changed. It will not be able to view version changes of hardware drivers, or application specific support files. Microsoft designed this tool to become more important over time as more updates become available. For the immediate future, the user that installed on a clean hard drive will very likely find VCM empty of any updated files.

The two scenarios most commonly expected to appear in which VCM will be put to use will be when the user upgrades from Windows 95 to Windows 98 or after the application of a Windows 98 update or service pack. On both of these scenarios, Windows 98 will not prompt for permission to update the existing core files but will backup files that are replaced. VCM will have access to these backed up files and the ability to restore if needed.

Warning!- VCM should only be used by someone with advanced technical knowledge or while in communication with a support technician. Most fixes for 3rd party applications that would require the use of VCM will have to be supported by the 3rd party’s technical support. The system could become inoperable if changes are made uninstructed using VCM.

Points to Remember:

The main points of the Version Conflict Manager are:

  • Windows 98 Setup automatically installs any older Windows 98 files over the newer files on your system
  • During Setup, newer version files are moved and stored in the \Windows\VCM folder
  • The determining factor in identifying an older file is the file version, not file date
  • When VCM restores a newer file, the older file to moved into the \Windows\VCM folder with the extension changed to .000. You can then use VCM to return to the original configuration (using the older file with the newer file stored in \Windows\VCM.