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by Gill Boyd
I bought it, kicking and screaming, now what do I do?
So, you saw the movie, get ready for up close and personal. The upgrade path to Win95 can be an easy one. Once you know what to do and what to look for. Are you ready to take the plunge? How many ways are there to accomplish the same goal? Keep in mind - All the books available on August 24 were created with a Win95 Beta of some form. No one, except Microsoft had the final shipping version of Win95 until that date. So whatever you read, qualify the answer!
The following 'How To' is based upon the current shipping version of Windows 95, MS-DOS 6 or above, no drive compression and using Himem.sys & Emm386.exe for memory management. Unload TSR's and any extra DOS comments unless you need them when shelling to DOS. Win95 will automatically load the following DOS commands and corresponding settings: Himem.sys, Ifshlp.sys, Setver.exe, Files=60, Buffers=30 and Stacks=9,256. Most importantly, read ReadMe.txt, this will point you to other files of interest on the install disks.
Win95 is available to the public as an upgrade on CD-ROM and floppy. The full install copy is only on floppy. Buy the CD, if you have the hardware, you get more software than on the floppy version. Also easier to install, no floppies to shuffle. Remember Win3.1/WWG 3.11 required an average of 15 megs. Now how many of us have a current Windows configuration of this size? Neither do I! By the time we install our favorite whatever, we are easily using up to 40, 60 or 70 megs of hard drive space. A Win95 full install can jump to 70 megs! This is before any other apps make their footprint on the Windows directory. What did you say was the size of your hard drive partition?
A clean hard drive makes installation so much easier. A partition of 200-250 megs is great. For those that like more, a 540 meg partition would be my limit for manageability. Come to the Build or Buy SIG for recommended hard drive partition sizes.
1. Take an inventory of your system. Hard drive capacity and so on. Do you have the space?
2. Backup all the data you have created. The Zip drive from Iomega is great for this. From a 540 meg HD I found only 100 megs of files to backup. Choose your backup media wisely. Tape drives may not be the best idea at this time. We had problems restoring backups under the Win95 beta. Travan tapes are currently not supported.
3. Do you want dual boot capability? This way you can boot Win95 and your previous operating system. Why, after all, this is for 16 bit apps and will probably be short term. All major apps will upgrade soon to 32 bit apps. Contact your software vendor and ask "When will you have a Win95 product shipping?" Most will ship within 90 days of August 24, the Window 95 launch date.
4. If you think Win95 will solve current configuration problems. Think again! Make it work now and Win95 will upgrade you for a smooth transition.
5. If your only reason to upgrade is for long file names, then you definitely will upgrade your other apps. so they will be 'long file name aware'.
6. One app from your current Windows configuration worth saving is Write.exe and Write.hlp. Move these to a floppy or another drive partition. Win95 writes over these apps. Copy them back after the upgrade. Microsoft wants us to use WordPad.
Dual boot, now & later. Is dual boot for you?
How many practical ways can we go about achieving the same goal? Dual boot, now or later? Maybe you just want to run the old Windows shell, Progman.exe. That's also easy to do. Why bother? Just because you can, is it practical? Once you have committed yourself to Win95, maybe you want it and maybe you don't. You can install Win95 to dual boot or simply uninstall Win95 if you don't like it. Win95 is a blast on a fast machine with lots of resources! (A 486DX-4 100 with 16 megs of ram or better.) Windows 95 can handle as much as 4 gigs of ram and 137 gigs of hard drive space. Wow! I wonder, did they really test this one or what? The recommended upgrade--Install Win95 over your current Windows configuration. Existing apps will migrate automatically to Win95. However, if this is too risky a proposition for those mission critical apps, then dual boot. (Or go to NT!)
I have resisted telling anyone how to use dual boot. However, since so many users keep asking about how to install dual boot, read on. Here is an easy way to make it happen, before and after the Win95 upgrade. Providing you have the hard drive space. If you desire dual boot capability, then install Win95 to a different directory and reinstall apps to work with Win95. If you do install Win95 in a different directory, existing apps will not be migrated for you. This you will have to do yourself! For those that want Dual boot, try the following: Search your HD for the hidden file, msdos.sys, it should be in root directory of C:\. Using an ASCII text editor, under the [options] section, change BootMulti=0 to BootMulti=1. Reboot your PC by clicking on Start/ Shut Down.../ select Restart the computer/ -- Press F4 to boot your previous operating system when you see "Starting Windows 95". If you have already installed Win95 and want the dual boot capability, then boot to a C:\ prompt and install Windows to a different directory and reinstall those corresponding apps.
Why dual boot? What if Win95 gives you too much grief? Will 16 bit apps work with Win95 or not? Do we have sufficient hard drive space? If not then maybe a hard drive upgrade in is order. Dual Boot works with DOS 5.0 or above of MS-DOS, OEM-DOS and IBM PC-DOS. If you use Novell or DR-DOS, forget the dual boot option!
After the Win95 installation, you may want to check the hidden file SetUpLog.txt in the root directory on your hard drive. Read this file with an ASCII text editor to read about system changes. Use the MS-DOS editor, Edit.exe or the Win95 NotePad.
Booting Windows 95
Windows 95 gives us several options for booting when we see "Starting Windows 95". When you see this message press one of the following keys: Esc, F4, F5 (C prompt), F6, F8 (Menu choices). Note: Not all key sequences will appear to work on all machines. Try them, see what you get!
Info to be aware of
See the ReadMe.txt file first for pointers to other files on the Win95 floppies and CD. Also check out our HAL-PC Library & BBS or through HAL-Net for other current info. See AutoDemo (for Win 3.1/ WWG 3.11 users), PowerToys, Win95app.hlp. Further info available at the Build or Buy a PC SIG and Win95 SIG.
Recommended Books for reading
The Way Microsoft Windows Works by Simon Collin (Beginners), The Ultimate Microsoft Windows 95 Book authored by Joanne Woodcock (Beginners to Advanced, great resource!), Microsoft Windows 95 Resource Kit (Floppies included, for those who install & support Win95.), Windows 95 Secrets 3rd Edition by Brian Livingston (CD included, the definitive source for Win95. Does not cover every detail. Does cover more details than most! For anyone interested in undocumented materials. Excellent reading! ). The Field Guide To Microsoft Windows 95 by Stephen L. Nelson is good for an overview of Win95, cheap too! The above Books will be available by the time you read this. There are 2 or 3 other books coming out soon that look good from what I know about them. When looking for a good Windows book, I start at the back and thumb forward from the Index, Trouble Shooting, Appendices to the Table of Contents and check out a few details. Windows 95 is a GUI, look for books with Graphical User Interface pictures! Books with CD's get my attention! The PlusPack CD has more tools to get our attention and dazzle the imagination.
Conclusion-- The never ending story
Even though this is Windows 95, everything's changing. This is version 1 of a brand new operating environment. Plug And Play (PnP) devices are coming! Modems first, who knows what next! I'll walk you through some of Win95's features in future issues as space allows. Hints: Right click on the DeskTop/Properties/Display Properties; Click & drag the Taskbar to the top/sides of your screen; How To Modify the Taskbar, right click on the Taskbar/Properties/Start Menu Programs/Advanced. Also: Try looking for the DeskTop folder in Explorer and see if you can find it! Hint: Use File Manager.
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-PC’s VP of Programs for 3 years and SIG Leader of the BuildOrBuy Group. He can be reached @ email@example.com
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Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Created 8/27/1995; Revised on BuildOrBuy News Archive 02/01/2003