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by Gill Boyd
It's approaching decision time. To Win or not to Win. That is the question. Should you upgrade to Win95? You probably already have the answer. If you need to run only "legacy applications" (existing, 16 bit software) and they do the job, then the answer is no. If you need the capability of 32 bit, multi-threaded, faster access to files and disks and more advanced software, then the answer is yes! About 95%, of the current "legacy" applications will run under Win95, although compatibility can be an issue. If you need to run more than one application concurrently (i.e., send data/fax over your modem, calculate a spreadsheet, and print a letter) all from the same app., then upgrade. The "plug and play" feature of Win95 will detect the hardware installed and configure the PC accordingly. Win95 has right and left mouse button support, no more replaceable "Program Manager" (replaced by an integral shell with a Task Bar at the bottom of your screen. Everything STARTs on the Task Bar, lower left. Do you need more than eight spaces for a file name? How about 255 spaces! (There is a downside to the "long file name". They only work in Win95 programs/systems...only problematic when saving to a floppy or using backup/restore from tape.) The memory addressing scheme is much better and more stable. However, some current 16 bit software may have a problem with this memory scheme.
Cautions? Some are stated above. Others include tape drives that are recognized and configured and backup, but do not properly restore data. You will need to insure that your hard/software has updated Win95 drivers...and you know how very important drivers are to all Windows operations--even now. Allegedly, if Win95 cannot recognize a device, then the "Hardware Wizard" will walk you through the installation. Again, get the newest drivers!
System requirements: Minimum--386 DX 33 w/ 4 megs RAM and a 540 meg HD. If that is what you have, enjoy...slowly enjoy! The "Build or Buy" Sig suggests the following: Minimum: 486 DX/33 w/ 8 megs RAM and a 540 meg HD. Medium: 486 DX2 / 66 w/ 16 megs RAM and 1.2 gig HD. Best: Pentium l00 w/16 megs of 60ns EDO RAM and a 1.2 gig HD. (Use Intel motherboard w/ Triton chipset to recognize EDO RAM.) To this add at least an accelerated graphics (video) board w/ 2 megs RAM (increase spec's for the "best" system), plus a 2-speed or better, 4 (quad) speed CD-ROM to more quickly transfer files from the CD to your PC. A good 16 bit stereo sound card and a fax/modem (min. 14.4K). Boca makes a nice 14.4 Fax/modem/voice mail/sound card for about $200. (FM synthesis upgradeable to Wave Table.) The 14.4 speed is the practical minimum for InterNet connections using the World Wide Web graphical viewers and multi-megabyte files, 28.8 is superior.
Just a reminder. This is a very new, different operating system. You should think of it as version 1.0. And if you remember only one thing from this article: BEFORE you install any new software (Win95 or any other applications) do the obvious: BACKUP before upgrading, please! Disaster can strike at the least expected time. The smart choice is to backup, before you upgrade. Have fun and get Powered by Win95!
Gill Boyd, was HAL-PC’s VP of Programs for 3 years and SIG Leader of the BuildOrBuy Group. He can be reached @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Published & Posted For July 1995; Revised on BuildOrBuy News Archive 02/01/2003