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August 1995

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Hark, what light in yonder Window glows - It's Win95!

by Gill Boyd

Windows 95 lets you unlock the potential of your PC! What you do now will be easier, faster and more efficient. Win 95 is the easiest Windows yet! Yes, there will be new challenges for some of us. And for others those challenges will equate to new opportunities! Consultants, get ready, the world is ours! For the next two years, until NT matures, Win95 may be the most important event to occur to PC's since their first introduction over 10 years ago. Of the three most important PC advances currently at our disposal, Windows 95, FireWire and ultimately, RISC CPU's will change the way we do, what we do with PC's.

How far back does your experience go with Windows? Do you remember Windows 3.0 or Windows 386? Windows 95 is a whole new experience. The current build this article is written about of Win95 is version 950 R6. Things happen, things change. After having personally read over 500 messages on CompuServe alone, a most interesting picture comes to light. Most of those users have worked with earlier builds (Win95 Beta Preview) and yes they have had problems. Most of those seem to occur from users trying to first install Win95 and then installing drivers or other components into Win95--not a good idea right now! Drivers in Win 3.11 & WFWG 3.11 are vastly different than drivers in Win95 (16 bit vs. 32 bit). Other problems, as always, depend upon your configuration and applications.

 

New drivers, New Installations

The best installations, from my personal experience, have been systems running Windows 3.11/ WFWG 3.11 (with all peripheral drivers installed), then upgrading to Win95. Win95 will see what you have and update files accordingly. If trying to install other devices after the fact like a CD ROM drive, then yes we may have a problem! So far, CD ROM driver support is limited. Win95 has support for those devices whose manufacturer supplied them to Microsoft. Such CD ROM drives like NEC are not currently supported according to Win95 choices, yet they do work! Modem support is extensive. No wonder considering the stake in Microsoft Network (MSN). The MSN is all dressed up just waiting for content and users. If they get one forth of the expected number of users to not only log on but actually use MSN, then they will not be able to handle the capacity based on current capabilities. I recommend MSN if for nothing else than just for curiosity. This, too, is a different way of being connected on line.

 

Sound Cards & Modems

If sound is your thing then you cannot go wrong with Creative Labs Sound Blaster cards. Not compatible look a likes, the real thing! So far my personal experience with sound cards in Win95 includes the Creative Labs PhoneBlaster, Turtle Beach Monterey and the BOCA Sound Expression. We are waiting for new drivers & 28.8 upgrade to try the Best Data ACE 5000 sound card. Depending upon what sound card you have, Win95 will also install extra midi files for that card. The BOCA Sound Expression had the best overall sound to my deaf ears. Problems with the Sound Expression hardware make it difficult to find on dealer shelves.

 

Recommendations

For the one PC family, wait 'till November to try your luck on your own. We will show how to install Win95 at the "Build or Buy a PC" Sig on Wednesday, September 13th, from 1-3 pm and on Saturday September 9th from 1-3 pm, following the "Beginning Windows" SIG which meets from 9 to noon. If you have two or more systems, go for it now, you'll love it! Backup critical data first. Those of us in the corporate environment should start testing now on a stand a alone PC. You will probably be ready by November to start Win95 implementation. However, if you are ready for cutting edge technology, then what are you waiting for? Just Do It! Win95 with all the ups and downs provides the most enjoyable computing experience ever. Just look at some of these features to name a few--Plug & Play (Hot Swapping), portability, Dial Up Networking, the Briefcase, Microsoft Exchange (a universal client), in box communicating with the outside world, Microsoft Network on line service, OnLine registration, SetUp Wizards (Wizards are everywhere), a new Help File system (D-I-Y-S help), right click everywhere and on and on. We'll be hearing a lot about these features for some time to come.

 

Installation Suggestions

Prepare your PC for the ride of its life! Reformat those drives, make everything clean and new. Primary C partition-- 200 to 250 megs. Install DOS, Windows (your current version) and whatever current drivers needed to have everything running. Keep your C drive partition clean and do not install anything else on that partition. Win95 will take from 40 to 70 megs. When installing Win95, choose Custom Install so you can select all of the bells and whistles. Install everything (MS Exchange especially), you can always take out the parts you don't want later. Check out the multilingual support. Win95 also has great accessibility features for the physically challenged. Individuals who cannot use printed materials can obtain most of Microsoft's publications from Recording For The Blind, Inc. at 20 Roszel Road, Princeton, NJ 08540, Voice: 1-800-221-4792 & Fax: 609-987-8116.

When you START Windows, allow yourself 15 minutes to find your way around. Pay attention to what you see on the screen. Run through the Help Tutorial. Check the DOC's on the disks (*.txt's). After 3 to 4 hours of poking around and downloading stuff from MSN then you'll figure out if dumping downloads to the C drive is really what you want to do. I could easily spend 2 to 3 hours in WFWG configuring permanent swap files on a PC for minimum disk thrashing. Don't worry about the swap file (virtual memory), Win95 takes care of that for you.

Get the book from Microsoft Press for $9.95, "Introducing Win95"-- excellent book! The Microsoft Win95 software upgrade will sell for around $89.95. Do not buy any apps until you have to or the price is outrageously low-- they'll all upgrade. Set yourself a budget and stick to it--new computer toys are coming to woo our PC Dollars. New intelligent devices to help us do more, so we can work smarter and get more done, so we can do more, and on and on... Another book to be on the lookout for is from Brian Livingston on Win95 Secrets from IDG Books.

Come to the HAL-PC Windows 95 SIG for more info. on Win95. Handouts, suggestions and Q&A. A special August issue of the Microsoft TechNet CD will have extensive coverage on Win95. This may be the $300.00 CD you've been waiting for. As for the Microsoft Plus Pack, yes there are some great features, yet, if the InterNet is your main reason for the MS Plus Pack then we have other ways at our disposal. Have you heard about HAL-Net? It works, it's easy and is the least expensive currently operational connection to access the InterNet. See you at HAL-PC, in reality or in cyberspace!

"Powered by Win95" "Powered by Win95" "Powered by Win95"

The author, was a Beta Site for Win95 and as a consultant for hire, enjoyed giving presentations related to Windows 95. Gill Boyd, was HAL-PCs VP of Programs for 3 years and SIG Leader of the BuildOrBuy Group. He can be reached @ editor@buildorbuy.net


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