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Windows95 upgrade to Windows98: solving conflicts

by Bob Wright

Win95 upgrade to Win98
Problem solving: Drivers
- Virtual Conflict Manager -

by Bob Wright
Senior Partner
The NOSPIN Group


If you have finally taken the plunge to Windows98 - 98SE and to save money you purchased the upgrade version, there might now be some issues that are driving you nuts. Many people have reported varying issues with this upgrade on PCBUILD mailing list and PCSOFT mailing list.

The one issue that seems to torment many users is the driver issues. Windows95 ran clean and solid on their computer, then they loaded Windows98 and all went down hill.

The usual advice is to perform a clean install, basically formatting the hard drive and install Windows98 fresh. This requires you have your Windows95 install CD or disks handy so that Windows98 upgrade version can verify you are upgrading.

But, if you are a more timid soul, you believe that Microsoft surely would not put out an Operating System that has issues upgrading from the previous version... and just upgraded over the top of Windows95... there is one solution that helps many users solve driver problems: The Virtual Conflict Manager in Windows98.

Windows98 Virtual Conflict Manager

When upgrading Windows95 to Windows98, the Win98 installation procedure swaps out some of the Windows95 drivers in your current configuration with some newer Windows98 drivers. Microsoft is NOT advising the user on this, and sometimes the new Win98 drivers do not work properly... OOPS!!!

So now what do you do? To check, whether you have been the victim of such a driver swap during your upgrade, check the "Version Conflict Manager (VCM)", which you find your Windows98 menu:
Start / Programs / Accessories / SystemTools / System Information:

Microsoft went out of their way to hide this utility, possibly believing end users were incapable of solving their own issues with Windows98 or perhaps hoping this issue would generate additional traffic to their "Pay for Tech Support" phone lines. What ever their intent, the next step once you have the System Information window opened, click on the toolbar: TOOLS /Virtual Conflict Manager.

This next window will display all the drivers that Windows98 replaced and backup during the install process. The great part of VCN is that it allows you to replace the drivers or lack of drivers in Windows98 for your hardware with the drivers used in Windows95 that were working properly. In this example, it shows that Windows98 replaced the MS Intellimouse driver supplied with the MS mouse with a Windows98 driver and it is not working properly:

Now it is a simple matter to highlight the driver and click on the Restore button. Nearly always, if the driver worked fine in Windows95, this restore will solve any issues you are experiencing after the Windows98 upgrade.

Understand that this may solve most of the problems you experienced after an Upgrade from Windows95 to Windows98... but, as always with Microsoft products, there are no guarantees.



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