Windows 98: The Upgrade

Introduction: Upgrade or Clean Install?

While all things being equal under most circumstances a clean install is the ideal way to install any operating system, the fact is that all things are not equal, and at some points in our lives we may not have the time to do all the work involved in backing up data, wiping the hard drive clean, performing the clean install itself and then reloading third-party software.

For those who don't mind sacrificing a wee bit of potential performance gain for the convenience of a simple and painless path to Windows 98 a conventional upgrade of an existing version of Windows 95 is the way to go. All things considered installing the upgrade as designed is extremely simple and for most Aptiva owners has been a relatively problem-free experience.

There are a few things that one should do as far as preparing to install Windows 98 which will substantially increase one's chance of a successful upgrade...

Windows 98 Upgrade Checklist:

Data Backups

Backup all your most important files before you start, *just in case*. While few if any users have had serious problems as a result of upgrading to Windows 98 there's no such thing as a "100% safe" upgrade. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

RAM memory

Make sure that you have enough RAM memory to support the increased demands of Win98. 16MB is the stated minimum for the original retail version of Win98 and 24MB is the requirement for the newer SE version, but I'd suggest at least 32MB as optimal in either.

Free Disk Space

Make sure that you have enough free disk space on Drive C...the default install of Win98 requires about 190MB (205MB for SE), but with all the bells and whistles (and if you choose to backup your Win95 OS so that you can uninstall 98 in the event of any problems) it can use up to about 300MB. As you always want to leave enough free disk space on C for Virtual Memory and other items that use space on C I'd suggest a bare minimum of 350MB free before you start if a full install with the Win95 backup is planned, with 400MB being ideal.

BIOS Updates

For those who may be running older BIOS versions just prior to an operating system upgrade is generally considered a good time to flash upgrade the system BIOS to the most current level available. To find out what if any BIOS updates are available for your system click here.

Antivirus Boot Scan

If your system runs a virus scan from the BIOS when you boot up (as many Aptivas do) you want to disable that as anything which interrupts or delays the boot process can be a problem. When you first start the PC and see the IBM logo screen press the F1 key to enter the Setup utility. Antivirus scan options are usually found under "Startup Options" or "Advanced Options", if found set that option to DISABLED.

TSR Background Programs

As mentioned above in addition to disabling the BIOS-based antivirus scanner it's a good idea to temporarily disable any and all programs that load automatically when you start your PC, including but not limited to Windows-based antivirus utilities. There are a number of different methods by which one can disable background programs from loading at startup, howrever for users not familiar with them I'd suggest using the small freeware utility Startup Control Panel.

Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95

If installed, uninstall Microsoft Plus! through Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel. Except for Space Cadet Pinball which is installable separately, all of the Plus! for 95 features are already built into the Win98 OS, and there are a few potential issues avoided by uninstalling Plus! prior to loading Win98 .If MS Plus! is not listed in Add/Remove run the Plus! Setup found in the C:\Progam Files\Plus!\Setup folder and Click the Uninstall button


If you have any of the Microsoft Win95 PowerToys (Tweak UI, QuickRes, CabView, SendTo X, etc) installed it's not a bad idea to uninstall them prior to upgrading to Windows 98. A Windows 98 version of Tweak UI can be found on the Win98 CD (details here). As far as 'toys like QuickRes and CabView their functionality is built into Windows 98, and in some cases having some Win95 PowerToys installed under Win98 can be problematic.

Disk Maintainence

Just prior to an upgrade to Windows 98 is an excellent time to uninstall any unused/unwanted software and purge your hard disk of accumulated debris such as .TMP files and browser cache files. Find details on doing so here. After doing a bit of "PC Spring Cleaning" make sure to run ScanDisk in Thorough Mode and Disk Defragmenter just prior to initiating the Win98 upgrade.

Take a deep breath...

pop in the Win98 Upgrade CD and awwwwway you go! Enjoy 98!

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� 1999, Don Schneider aka DON5408
DON5408's Unofficial Aptiva Support Site