W ithout getting too technical, this article describes some of the important differences we observed between Windows 3.1 and Windows 98.   Our objectivity is based on the fact that we haven't actually committed fully yet to Windows 98, and only got to try it out as a result of a memory module failure in our Fujitsu laptop.   This resulted in our acquiring a hardware upgrade along with Windows 98.   In this exciting first look at Windows 98, some of our notes may thus be reflective of hardware rather than software (money doesn't grow on trees, but it does grow inside them).   While we may present hardware analysis in a future article, we also reserve the right to make further analyses on both operating systems, but especially on Windows 98.
The UMAX ActionBook 312T laptop computer which came installed with Windows 98 runs a 266 MHz K6 processor by AMD, and has 32 Mb of RAM preinstalled.   On our Fujitsu Milan with a Pentium 100 MHz Intel processor we had been able to use Windows 3.1 to do web browsing, web design, download software, write software programs, write and rewrite CD's (seemingly rare in Windows 3.1), operate external disk drives through an SCSI PC Card, install and use a wavetable (hardware-based) sound card in another PC Card slot, run several applications simultaneously, avoid General Protection Faults almost entirely, install and use a database, scan and edit photographs, print photo-quality output, create art for animations, make drawings, and back up our hard drive.   We may have left some things out.
In our first look at Windows 98, we saw these improvements: much improved DOS memory management, much faster browser startup and much faster browsing (Internet Explorer 4 for both), the ability to multi-task, fewer conflicts between programs, fewer reboots, the ability to run either the RealPlayer or Media Player for streaming video, vastly improved installation of hardware and software, automatic recognition of devices when plugged in (without rebooting), support for sleep/wake (no booting required), better hard disk management, ability to run 32-bit applications, and support for long filenames.   Also, our DOS programs ran a lot faster because of the faster hardware.   The disadvantages: bulkier software and increased complexity.