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Prepare your hardware for Windows 98

June 16, 1998
Web posted at: 3:25 PM EDT

by Dean Andrews

(IDG) -- Although Windows 98 may not be the mind-blowing leap that its predecessor was three years ago, if you plan to upgrade your OS, you'll want to prepare your PC for the program's new hardware compatibility features. Here are four hardware upgrades that you should consider if you really want to take advantage of Windows 98. Look for the new OS on shelves June 25.

The Basics

Windows 98 isn't exactly a space and resource hog--no more so than Windows 95--but if you have a lot of applications stored on your hard drive, you might find yourself short of memory. For your information, you'll need a minimum of 16MB of RAM and at least 195MB of free hard disk space to load and run Windows 98 efficiently.

During the installation process, Windows 98 asks you if you want to keep Windows 95 on your system so that--should you run into trouble--you can uninstall Windows 98 and go back to your original setup. In order to use this safety option, you'll need an additional 50MB of free space for Windows to store your configuration information and system files. Note, though, that you won't be able to uninstall if you've converted your FAT to FAT32.

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The Windows 98 DVD Player

If you've been avoiding DVD simply because it's too cumbersome to configure with Windows 95, you should consider making the purchase now. Windows 98 makes installing and using DVD a lot easier. The new OS includes a DVD Player utility, which you can use to play DVD media. In order to use the DVD player, you'll need to have a DVD-ROM drive and a DVD decoder card installed on your PC.

Keep in mind that the DVD Player applet does not load automatically during the Windows 98 installation. You need to select the Add/Remove software icon under the control panel, choose the Windows Setup tab, select the Multimedia component, and click on the Details button. Put a check next to DVD Player and click OK to complete the installation of Windows 98's DVD Player utility.

A Windows 98-Worthy Display

New graphics cards and monitors are definitely in your future if you're upgrading to Windows 98. Like Apple's Macintosh system, Windows 98 now has the capability to use more than one monitor for one computer. In fact, the new OS allows you to install up to nine graphics cards (and then attach up to nine monitors) to use simultaneously. Nine seems a little excessive, but two monitors running on the same PC provides a great way to double your virtual desktop area. You can even drag windows between the two monitors as if they were physically connected.

Windows 98 and Dual Modems

Slow Web access is a drag. One alternative for those who can't get cable modem is dual-modem technology, like Diamond Multimedia's Shotgun. This allows you to use two modems (and two phone lines) over one Internet connection to attain faster Web access. To make this option a reality, Windows 98 incorporates dual-modem capability right into the operating system, so you don't need specialized firmware or software from your modem manufacturer. If you've been stalling on buying a new 56-kbps modem (or two), now may be the time to take the plunge.

For more Windows 98 and hardware upgrade tips, click the TipWorld link below.
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