Windows 98 – codenamed Memphis – was released by Microsoft Corporation on
June 25, 1998. Windows 98 was the successor to Windows 95 and presented
a hybrid 16-bit/32-bit monolithic product which was based on MS-DOS. It
was quickly followed by an updated to the operating system with Windows
98 SE (second edition) as Microsoft attempted to fix many bugs that were
present in the original version.
Among the newer features of Windows 98 were better AGP (accelerated
graphics port) support, functional USB (universal serial bus) drivers,
and support for multiple monitors and Web TV. It also featured support
for the FAT32 file system allowing it to support disk partitions larger
than the two gigabyte maximum accepted by Windows 95. It was also the
first version of Windows to support ACPI (advanced configuration and
Windows 98 was also the first operating system to use Windows Driver
Model which standardized device driver programs and allowed for more
peripherals to runs smoothly on the system. When Windows 98 was
released, this fact was not well published and device manufacturers
continued to develop devices with drivers under the old system which
would make them incompatible with the new operating system.
One huge advantage of Windows 98 as an operating system was that the
system requirements were low. That means that even older machines can
effectively and efficiently run Windows 98 and users can take advantage
of the new updates to the system.
Windows 98 also offered up full support for DOS applications because it
can easily be switched to DOS mode. In doing this, DOS based
applications can handle the system in their native environment. Having
DOS mode available also provides for easier ways to fix system errors
without having to enter into the graphical user interface.
Like other previous versions of Windows, this operating system wasn’t
without its problems. Windows 98 was never as stable as common users had
hoped. Often, the software developers of drivers and applications had
insufficient experience with the creation of programs for this new
system. This caused many errors generally described as system errors by
users even if the error was not caused by parts of Windows or DOS.
Newer versions of Windows would fix these problems, and Microsoft worked
quickly to provide patches to the Windows 98 system for users to download
and make their system much more stable.
As with most operating system, Windows 98 was updated soon after its
release and improved upon. It did provide some great updates that would
serve as models for subsequent versions of Windows.