Windows98 on IBM Aptivas

Win98 the *IBM Way*
IBM's recommendatons on Installing Windows 98
"Although some steps within these instructions may not
be mandatory, this is the only recommended method for
installation of this upgrade."

                                                                             - IBM website
"Are you referring to the "article" that IBM has made
available on the website concerning installing Win98
on older Aptivas? If so, disregard it, forget about
bothering with the MWave card or drivers. Ignore the
article entirely *unless* you try installing Windows 98
and run into problems.

                                                                                  - IBM tech

Two different sources from within the same company -- interesting how divergent the views are, eh? I guess it goes without saying that I agree with the second quote posted by an IBM support tech. :-)

To be perfectly honest I gotta say that when I first read IBM's page regarding Win98 install on my 2176 model I thought that someone at IBM had gone around the bend and posted a "joke" page spoofing IBM. It was late and I caught some flack from my family for waking them with my uncontrollable laughter, but other than that I enjoyed that visit thoroughly.

Reinstall the MWAVE card to upgrade to there's a thought. Riiiiiight!

"As for the the so-called *recommended* method of
restoring your system back to it's "out of box" condition,
forget it. That's a waste of time as far as I can see. Just install
Win98 according to the instructions that come with it."

                                                                                           - IBM tech

While I would have to agree that the *best* way to install an operating system is by a *clean install* onto a freshly formatted drive, due to he fact that many users simply don't have the time nor the desire (or even sometimes the hardware) to back up all critical data and format their hard drive, Microsoft has designed Windows 98 as an upgrade which can be installed right over Windows 95. IBM apparently (surprise, surprise!) has different ideas.

Actually I do agree with IBM's posted install procedures up to a point --- that point being their step one:
  1. If you have any data on drive C, copy that data to diskettes or other
    removable media. Any data stored on drive C will be destroyed.
A good current backup of all data (or in cases where one does not have a tape drive, ZIP drive or other removable media with more capacity that 3.5" floppy diskettes, all critical data) is always a good thing to have under any circumstances, all the more so just prior to making a software change as drastic as an operating system upgrade.

With step two of all of the sets of IBM's posted instructions we part company, as IBM takes a left turn and keeps going, never to be seen again.

My thinking on this is that unless a user wants to format the hard drive (ie the user has problems that warrant a Recovery or wishes to "clean install" without the IBM preload to Break Away From The Red CD) after creating a current backup it makes absolutely no sense to not at least TRY installing Win98 via a conventional Upgrade. What in the world would one have to lose at that point?

If the install went smoothly (as many have reported) one saves a ton of time reformatting, reinstalling programs and restoring files. If it didn't go well, then one could consider the various clean install options.

For those who still possess all the original hardware and wish to retain all or most of the preloaded software applications then IBM's suggested method of running the Product Recovery CD and then using the Win98 Upgrade CD may well be the best course of action. For those who have replaced a number of hardware devices (especially those who have dumped MWAVE) or who desire to get away from the IBM preload simply running the Win98 CD as a full install (using the Windows Companion CD as proof of rightful ownership) would be the way to go. The fact that one chooses the latter does not necessarily mean that the preloaded IBM applications are lost as an option --- on those systems that come with a Diagnostics CD those which cannot be reinstalled via setups on that CD can be restored using the XCOPY command on the appropriate IBMBUILD subdirectory of that CD.

As far as IBM's suggestion to users who have replaced the MWAVE card with replacement hardware such as a USR or IBM 56k modem and SoundBlaster sound card, reinstall MWAVE prior to reformatting and loading Win98, I wont even comment on that --- to be honest, I don't even understand it!

I imagine that the concept is to avoid the few MWAVE-related errors that one would receive after running the Recovery CD, however at no point does IBM even mention in their otherwize-detailed instructions anything about reinstalling the user's hardware of choice. I guess that we are expected to just go back to using the MWAVE card. :-)

For any user who has dumped MWAVE the dreary prospects of either leaving the replacement cards installed and clicking around errors in order to uninstall the MWAVE and reinstall the USR/Creative/other drivers (which is do-able) or the hassle of undoing a major upgrade by reinstalling the MWAVE are just more reasons to consider any of the options other than those IBM *recommends*.

All that being said in the interest of completeness and presenting users with all the information out there I present the following information from IBM with this one proviso:
    The information provided via the links below is not provided by DON5408, therefore DON5408
    cannot verify it's accuracy. As a result DON5408 assumes no responsibility for user problems
    resulting from this unverified information. The information is provided strictly as is with no
    warranty either expressed or implied, and the fact that it is presented here should not create
    the misassumption that the information is either endorsed by or recommended by DON5408.

IBM model-specific Windows98 information

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TO DON5408's

© 1988, Don Schneider aka DON5408
DON5408's Unofficial Aptiva Support Site