A certain level of controversy exists between elements of the reseller community and Microsoft over the Windows 95 OEM service release 2 (OSR2).
"In order to load Windows 95 OSR2 on to a client's PC you need to have a virgin hard disk, which is fine," a Sydney-based reseller told Australian Reseller News. "However, if the PC later 'loses the plot' - such as the command.com file becoming corrupted - you can't reload OSR2 without removing everything from the hard disk. The client can lose all of their data.
"This is in contrast to the old version of Windows 95, which would f-disk, format and load without any problems. We've talked to Microsoft about it and they haven't really come up with any answers, although they did acknowledge the difference between the two versions. As far as I'm concerned, this could cause major problems for resellers - especially in terms of service contracts and relationships with customers," the reseller said.
Scott Porter, Microsoft's regional OEM manager, believes the problem is largely a matter of misunderstanding the intended use of the release. "The OSR2 release is not intended as an upgrade, it's really for loading the latest version of Windows 95 - with all the 'refreshes' - on to brand-new PCs," he said. "Another issue to consider is the fact that even if you were to load the OSR2 on to an older PC, the user wouldn't be able to utilise a lot of the new functions - infra-red control, for example - because their PC wouldn't be equipped to run them."
Back in the reseller camp, the jury is still out. "It's pretty frustrating, I can tell you that. Someone at Microsoft told me they thought the difference between the two versions exists because Microsoft wanted to make things difficult for bootleggers, which is pretty ironic because here we are trying to do the right, legal thing as an OEM and Microsoft's effectively saying 'hard luck' to us," the reseller said.