CeePrompt! Computer Connection

Windows 95: a help or a hindrance?

by Cathi Schuler

Hardly a day goes by that I am not bombarded somehow with the latest, alleged inside scoop about the much-hyped Windows 95 operating system. It seems that every computer media source boasts possession of the inside track on the status of Windows 95, but the truth is no one knows exactly when and how this revolutionary product will be released to the general public. After multiple delays, industry professionals have moved from frenzied anticipation to very guarded optimism. Some actually fear and loathe the new o/s, predicting widespread crashes, incompatibilities, and slowness.

The official word from Microsoft Corp., via Senior Vice-President Brad Silverberg, is that Windows 95 is scheduled for release in August, 1995. Industry analysts remain dubious, however, stating that this is overly optimistic given the number of bugs that still plague the latest beta version of Windows 95.

Microsoft recently suffered what many consider to be a serious blow when InfoWorld, a highly respected industry publication, reviewed the latest beta version 3 of Windows 95 and found it to be of only limited business use and "flawed to the point it will be of use only to home users". InfoWorld reviewers reported running out of system resources on a Pentium PC with 32MB of memory and multiple application crashes due to architectural problems.

Microsoft was quick to respond, point by point, to the InfoWorld review noting that most of the glitches have already been fixed. They also noted that InfoWorld reviewed a beta, not final, version of Windows 95. Beta versions of software are expected to have "bugs" that are worked out through the beta testing process.

Most of the delays that Windows 95 has suffered relate to problems of backwards compatibility. Microsoft is committed to older and current applications and is striving to insure that your existing programs, games and devices run smoothly under Windows 95. The latest setback to the August 95 release date was reportedly caused by hardware configuration problems that sprang up from a flood of multi-media games that hit the market during Christmas 94.

Microsoft remains very proactive and optimistic that their operating system will "move the computer industry forward and allow customers to do new, powerful and exciting things with their computer." Microsoft reports feedback from an unprecedented number of beta testers, more than 50,000, that Windows 95 is making their computer use "faster and easier regardless of their experience level."

In conjunction with the recent release of beta 3, Microsoft has announced the Windows 95 Preview Program, a pre-release opportunity for corporate evaluators and information system professionals to see how the new operating system will affect their networks and systems. Microsoft is making 400,000 copies, including technical support, available worldwide for only $32 each.

The Preview Program's license allows use of the software until one month after the final product becomes available in stores. System requirements are a 386DX and 4MB of RAM. It is recommended that this pre-release software be installed on a secondary machine, since it is still considered to be a beta version. Those businesses interested in the Preview Program can call 800- 95PREVIEW for order information.

Beginning on May 8th, Microsoft is also launching the Windows 95 World Tour: "The Sky's the Limit". This 23-city tour will showcase the major features of Windows 95 in a 2-hour presentation that comes to the Sacramento Convention Center on June 13th. Space for the event is limited so call 800-685-0951 for further details.

For the latest news on Windows 95 from Microsoft, you can subscribe via e-mail to WinNews, the Windows 95 newsletter. There is no cost. Simply send an e-mail to enews microsoft.nwnet.com and include the words SUBSCRIBE WINNEWS in the body of your note.

Windows 95 will arrive...someday...and despite the naysayers, I do believe it will ultimately revolutionize the industry. The more you can learn and anticipate now, the better prepared you'll be for the next wave of future shock.

Feedback? E-Mail cschuler@ceeprompt.com

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