Author Topic: Windows 98 revisited (sos article - sep 1999)  (Read 2556 times)

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Offline chrisNova777

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Windows 98 revisited (sos article - sep 1999)
« on: August 17, 2014, 09:54:28 PM »

Many musicians are still debating whether to upgrade to Windows 98. Martin Walker reports back on a year of using Microsoft's latest operating system for consumers.

   So, what exactly is the difference between the first release of Windows 98 and the new SE version? Many of the new features are, unsurprisingly, totally irrelevant for music-making, although they may still be generally useful to some users. These include Internet Connection Sharing (a way to let multiple users running a network access the Internet at the same time), Windows NetMeeting 3 (Internet conferencing software), Internet Explorer 5 (which can also be freely downloaded as a stand-alone item), WDM modem support, and WebTV for Windows updates. Other more general improvements include processor and motherboard optimisations and ACPI (Advanced Configuration Power Interface) enhancements. Windows 98 SE also includes the Service pack containing a variety of bug-fixes, although once again these won't necessarily give your PC any performance boost.

A few items are rather more relevant to the PC musician. As I reported in my review of the Opcode DATport in July's SOS, USB Audio support in Windows 98 still had some outstanding problems. USB improvements in SE include the ability to work with individual USB devices, rather than only having access to the USB port. However, along with enhanced IEEE 1394 support for more devices, the new files will also be available from the relevant hardware manufacturers. Opcode tell me that SE has reduced some customers' problems with digital dropouts, and also that it includes many revised drivers for PCI video accelerator cards that reduce the amount of PCI bandwidth they use. Since USB is a part of the PCI structure, this has the knock-on effect of providing more bandwidth for USB. In fact, this aspect should benefit all audio applications, although this is difficult to confirm.

SE also includes DirectX 6.1 (for which better audio and video synchronisation are claimed), but again this can be downloaded as stand-alone file -- see June's PC Notes. Finally, the latest version 6.2 of the Windows Media player is also included. Again, this is useful but not essential to musicians. In fact, the only item not available by other means is Internet Connection Sharing, so I think we can safely say that SE is not a required purchase for existing Windows 98 users. However, if you want to upgrade to Windows 98 from 95, the SE version is now the one in the shops.

And for those who are still wondering if you can use the SE upgrade CD-ROM over the top of last year's Windows 98 release, the answer is yes. It took 44 minutes to install on my PC, and I haven't yet found any conflicts other than Adaptec's DirectCD, which SE identified as incompatible in its present version before even attempting to run it. Clever stuff!