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Some Extra Goodies

Win98 comes with some Desktop-expanding features. -- Part 4 of Get the Most Out of Win98
What's a Win98 PC?
Here's how your next PC can take advantage of Win98's features.

Like each version of Windows before it, Windows 98 was designed to run on the PC you already have. Yet each new version of Windows offers features that work better-or exclusively-on newer hardware. Here's a guide for buying or building a system that will make the most of Win98.

USB ports: USB peripherals have been so scarce, some PC makers don't even bother to provide a connector out of the box. If you assemble your own PC or buy a no-name PC, make sure you can get a USB connector for the motherboard. Consider getting a board that supports two separate USB ports (with two separate connectors) if you plan to use bandwidth-intensive USB peripherals such as speakers.

Fast Boot BIOS: Win98 was designed to speed the boot process for a BIOS that supports the Fast Boot feature. But BIOS vendors report system vendors aren't demanding it. Phoenix Technologies, a BIOS vendor, expects Fast Boot BIOS systems to be widely available by year's end. There's no easy way to tell if a system supports Fast Boot, but if you see it tallying system memory on every power-up, it isn't a Fast Boot BIOS.

Multiple-monitor support: Don't throw out that old monitor when you buy a new one. Pick up an inexpensive second video card and keep it as a second Desktop. When you buy a new system, make sure its bundled video board works with Win98 multiple-monitor support.

WebTV support: You'll need a video board with TV-tuner capabilities to use Win98's WebTV for Windows application. That can get a bit tricky when you also want to use multiple-monitor support. We've tested the ATI All-in-Wonder Pro, which supports both features (see Reviews , June 1998).

ACPI/OnNow: Win98 can do a much better job of power management than previous versions of the OS if the system supports Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI). It's tough to tell if a system supports ACPI, so ask. One tip-off: A system with a hard-wired power switch probably does not support ACPI. If Windows can automatically turn the system off when it shuts down, it doesn't have a hard-wired power switch, and the system could be ACPI-compliant.

Infrared ports: By building excellent infrared networking and driver support into the operating system, Win98 may make infrared ports useful. Make sure your next notebook has a built-in infrared port. You can add infrared to a notebook the same way you would add it to a desktop-by using a serial port attachment-but if you have to carry another device for your notebook, chances are you won't use it.

Fast 100MHz RAM: This isn't a Win98 item per se, but it's a problem we've seen all too often. Systems that use the new 100MHz Intel 440BX chipset, such as those based on the 400MHz Pentium II, are sometimes equipped with RAM that isn't fast enough to run without wait states. If you use standard 60-nanosecond RAM in a 440BX-based system you'll introduce wait states on memory accesses.

- David W. Methvin

Step-by-Step Installing Tweak UI

1. Insert the Windows 98 CD. When the Win98 screen appears, choose Browse This CD.

2. Navigate to the \TOOLS\ RESKIT\POWERTOY folder.

3. Right-click on the TWEAKUI.INF file and choose Install from the pop-up menu to launch Setup.

4. Setup halts at the point where the progress box reads Introducing Tweak UI. Click on the Close (X) box on the help screen that pops up.

5. Launch Tweak UI from Control Panel.

Some Helpful Multimon URLs

Some PCI and AGP video cards don't support MultiMon. For an updated list of those that do, check out Microsoft's "Hardware Requirements for Multiple Display Support in Windows 98."

Check here for basic instructions on how to enable MultiMon.

If you have trouble configuring MultiMon, check out "How to Troubleshoot Multiple Display Support in Windows 98."

© 1998 Windows Magazine
September 1998, Page 145.

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Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Greg Douglass, Global Lead for Technology Strategy & Advisory, Accenture
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter