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HELP DESK

Q: Reader Alan Wilhite of Bellingham, Wash., asks: Your May 18 article (on upgrading to Windows 98) made no mention about those using a release of Windows earlier than Win95. I have been resisting the upgrade from Windows 3.1. I realize that sooner or later support will end, and new software features now available are not compatible with 3.1. Will a Win98 upgrade be offered for Win3.1 users?

A: Absolutely. The retail version of Win98, which will be available for around $90 on June 25, is designed as an upgrade from Windows 95, Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, or MS-DOS. I upgraded a number of Win95 computers without trouble. Older systems have more potential for difficulty, but the installation should go smoothly in most cases.

Microsoft's minimum system requirements for Win98 are a 66 Mhz 486dx processor with 16 Mb of RAM. That computer will run the upgraded operating system, but sluggishly. I'd recommend a Pentium processor, preferably 133 Mhz or faster, and 32 Mb of memory. Disk space is likely to be the biggest problem for anyone trying to upgrade an older system. To install Win98, you'll need at least 120 Mb of free disk space. It includes a utility that allows significant savings in how files are stored on your hard drive, but it cannot be run until after Win98 has been installed successfully.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR HELP DESK? E-mail asksteve@businessweek.com

BY STEPHEN H. WILDSTROM


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Updated June 11, 1998 by bwwebmaster
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