Windows98 on IBM Aptivas
Windows 98 and
Ring Central

Unfortunately an expected side-effect of upgrading to Windows 98 on 2159, 2161 and 2162 Aptiva models is that the 3.x versions of the Ring Central telephony (fax/phone) software preloaded on these systems is not compatible with and will not function under Windows 98.

Users of these models report receiving either "no response" or "BBS error" when attempting to use Ring Central under Windows 98 and are unable to use both fax and phone functions.

The manufacturer of Ring Central, Ring Zero, acknowledges this as a known concern on their website:

Q104: OEM version of RingCentral doesn’t operate
            properly once you have installed Windows 98


RingCentral doesn’t work ("No Response" error message) or doesn’t operate properly once you have upgraded Windows 95 to Windows 98.


OEM version of RingCentral has been developed for the particular OEM hardware configuration. Due to the fact that Microsoft made changes in the TAPI mechanism (32 bit) of the Win 98 operating system, which RingCentral (16 bit) heavily depends on, and because we could not have predicted this change, only the latest versions of RingCentral are compatible.

Please be advised that Ring Zero Systems cannot upgrade OEM customers, it is the responsibility of the OEM to provide support for software they have pre-loaded and sold with their PC.

IBM has ordered the upgrade patches for some IBM RingCentral versions:
  • 4.10.78
  • 4.10.82
  • 4.10.85
  • 4.10.87

Unfortunately the 2159, 2161 and 2162 Aptiva models shipped with earlier 3.x versions of Ring Central (3.01.81 and 3.03.31) and to the best of my knowledge there are no free patches currently available from either IBM or Ring Zero to make the 3.x versions compatible with Windows 98.

Note that I have had a report from at least one 2161/62 user of a Ring Central Update CD:

" should be able to call up the IBM HelpCenter and order
the free Ring Central update on CD-ROM. The CD is called the IBM Aptiva Ring Central Update. It's IBM P/N 20L2147 and it's dated May, 1998"

...but that information is FYI only as I have no verification of that offer, no details as to whether or not it is still available, or even if this is a version which functions under *might* just be worth a call to the IBM HelpCenter (1-800-772-2227) though.

Up until recently a more current version of Ring Central able to function under Windows 98 was available for purchase directly from Ring Zero Systems, and as Ring Zero is aware of the Windows 98 compatibility issues they were offering a 50% discount for owners of OEM versions of Ring Central ($49.95 rather than the $99.95 MSRP), however at this point this offer no longer seems to be available.

Interested parties should note that Ring Zero is currently accepting applications for BETA testers. Those accepted to participate in the Ring Central 2000 BETA Test will be mailed a FREE CD containing RingCentral 2000 or FaxCentral 2000.

For those users who are not interested in BETA software another similar product that has been given a good review by more than one Aptiva owner is SmithMicro's HotFax Message Center. While I have no first-hand experience with it one Aptiva owner noted that he found this product "does everything that Ring Central was supposed to do
and a bit more".


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