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The added advantages of Windows 98 Second Edition : Unofficial Release

Ever since Windows officially launched the Windows 98 OS way back in the year 1998, it revolutionized general computing as it brought about new key features that could do the task at a much brisk pace without your PC facing much trouble. Besides, it also brought about the evolution of multi task computing and simultaneous improvements in computer performance.  However, since its inception in the year 1998, Windows 98’ has donned numerous faces and each avatar has brought enormous performance gains. Although, now you do have the latest generation operating systems from Microsoft like the Vista and the ever popular Seven doing well, Microsoft still hasn’t phased out the Windows 98’ platform simply due to its brilliant performance and popularity. Lately, Microsoft decided to update the monolithic 98 platform with Windows 98 second edition. Although it’s there is no official word about it but 98’ users can update their OS by simply downloading and installing the latest update which has been uploaded on the official Microsoft website.

The updated Windows 98 second edition embraces numerous amounts of improvements to the general OS architecture but most importantly it brings forth certain key features that 98’ users will surely appreciate. Features include a new Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM, DirectX Version 6.1, Device Bay Controller, Connection Manager Version 1.2, Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM98), Dial-Up Networking (DUN) Version 1.3, Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), Internet Explorer 5, Active Accessibility (MSAA), Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.1, NetMeeting Version 3.0 (build 4.4.3345), Wake-On-LAN, Wallet Version 3.0, Windows Media Player Version 6.2 and Microsoft Network Version 5.0. Other than these major updates you will also find new Microsoft services such as 1394, WebTV, VPN services being included within the package. Also included are new USB drivers and typical Windows fonts that incidentally include the latest Euro currency symbol. Besides, with DirectX 6.1 you can enjoy Direct3D, DirectMusic, DirectDraw and DirectPlay attributes.

Other than the updated Microsoft services you also acquire the newest hot fixes and bug fixes that negates the problem of hangs and shutters that has plagued nearly all 98’ users in the recent past. The update incorporates 2 fresh hot-fixes (192425, 246817), complete cosmetic enhancements seen on service pack 1.6 and bug fixes such as “%DosNameHere" bug, patching Notepad on Sleek bug, MaxCachedIcons typo bug, Verinst.exe un-installation bug, removing Service pack from discrete drive bug and 256-color tray icon bug.

Installation of the new Windows 98’ does take considerable amount of time than the previous Windows 98’ version however, to verify the installation of your updated Windows 98’ you will need to right click on My Computer>Properties and scrutinize the content within the general tab. If the words "Second Edition" are indeed visible then your update has installed correctly.

Looking at the vast list of features provided on the fresh Windows 98’ SP 2 package, one feature stand out of the lot. The Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) Network Support is both revolutionary and efficient in many ways. Even though Windows 98’ is capable of operating directly through an ATM network, to enhance usability of ATM for (TCP/IP) protocol, IP/ATM has been included. With IP/ATM, you do acquire fewer networks overhead, more performance and utilization of QOS abilities through Windows Sockets.

Staying with networking, the updated Windows 98 also brings forth Dial-Up Networking (DUN) 1.3. Planned to augment the safety of both Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections and dial-up connectivity, Dun 1.3 is a significant security upgrade that goes a long way in securing all lines during online sessions. Besides, with the implementation of Microsoft Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol (MSCHAP) version 2.0, you now have mutual authentication, robust preliminary data encryption keys and diverse encryption keys for receive and transmit paths.

With Microsoft lately being more stressful on internet security and encryption protocol the updated Windows 98’ platform does bring into the fray countless security features that augments secure and enhanced networking. When it comes to multiple file sharing, Windows 98’ is not that far behind as it incorporates Internet Connection Sharing or (ICS) allowing multiple PC’s to access internet through a single connection via Network Address Translation (NAT).  However, with previous Windows 98’ versions being notoriously susceptible to virus attacks, Microsoft had to strengthen their internet explorer. The Windows 98 SP2 includes Internet Explorer 5 (build 5.00.2614.3500) which brings forth new features that also slot in data encryption and other added security measures to eliminate external threats.

One of the main problems that Windows 98’ users faced is with PC power consumption with LAN connected. To negate all of that Microsoft has brought the Wake-On-LAN system that incidentally specializes on power management. The system works by keeping the computer in a low power state when the network is not in use. As and when network connection is established, the system powers up accordingly.

The Windows 98 SE comes only in English and arrives with both graphical and performance improvements which can be noticed right after the update has been installed. Even though there are no options provided to extract individual packs for download, the pack in itself installs the required fixes on to your PC. Although before you do install the update try create a ‘system back up’ as this is an un-official release therefore you could possibly expect crashes on some systems.

Although the Windows 98 second edition is nothing evolutionary as compared to the latest OS offerings from Microsoft, but those who do appreciate the simplistic looks and fast performance of 98’, this update can greatly enhance your 98’ experience even more. However, with the graphics being enhanced to accommodate all the graphical and cosmetic changes, you might notice a slight lag in system performance due the display improvements. Besides, USB driver support has been removed therefore you might face problems with your pen-drive. Otherwise the OS works just fine in fact initial tests have proved it to be quite stable as it rather easily out paces the normal Windows 98’. Looking at the vast number of changes that have been included, the updated Windows 98 SP2 is more agile and immensely secure than its predecessor.

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