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Practise safe sectors

Practise safe sectors

Here's a word of advice. Before you insert the Windows 98 upgrade CD into any corporate computer, get a copy of V Communications' System Commander Special Edition for Windows 98 (www.v-com.com). Consider it a prophylactic for your PC. Better still, think of it as a way to cope with the fact that Windows 98 shipped before it was ready.

You may have seen reports in the press, warning that Windows 98 can overwrite DLL files and break some programs.

Yes, Microsoft has denied these problems exist. But I can vouch for some of them, personally. So far I've experienced broken installation programs, broken applications, and broken video drivers. I've run out of system resources by opening too many Eudora mailboxes (granted, the problem could be that I only have 128MB of RAM on that machine). And when Windows 98 trashed the entire Windows directory tree on one machine, I was almost tempted to cancel my membership to the Citizens for the Moral Defence of Microsoft Club.

But I can't in all good conscience blame Microsoft. The company made it clear that Windows 98 is strictly a consumer-only product. Excuse me a moment: "Hey Bob, let me know when you're done with that financial report, 'cuz I can't wait to try those network administration and policy editor games that come with Windows 98!"

In case you're not familiar with the System Commander line of products, they allow you to boot multiple operating systems on the same PC.

Customised for upgrade

The version I'm using, System Commander Deluxe, lets me boot Windows 95, Windows NT, OS/2, and multiple versions of DOS from a single FAT-16 partition, and various flavours of Unix from other partitions. It also lets me create, resize, and convert FAT partitions to and from FAT-32.

The Special Edition for Windows 98 is a scaled-down version of System Commander Deluxe, but with a twist. It is customised for those users who want to upgrade from Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 to Windows 98, but want the reassurance that they can boot to their trusty old version during those moments when Windows 98 proves to be less than ideal.

Here's how it works. You install System Commander Special Edition for Windows 98 before you install Windows 98. Then you install the Windows 98 upgrade. Don't worry - System Commander saves a copy of your original version of Windows. It tracks and organises the files so that you can choose between Windows 98 and your original version of Windows at boot time.

Why waste all that time you invested in Windows 95 tweaking it to be relatively stable? System Commander leverages that effort by letting you boot into Windows 95 when you're on a tight deadline and your word processor or presentation software suddenly starts crashing under Windows 98.

This way you get your work done when it needs to be done, and you can save the Windows 98 troubleshooting sessions for those special intimate moments you set aside during the weekend for just you and your computer.


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