The University Record, November 21, 1995

Pondering Windows 95? ITD advises waiting

By Mary Mayer
Information Technology Division

Windows 95, Microsoft's new, fast and friendly operating system that succeeds its own Windows 3.1, was introduced to computer users worldwide Aug. 24. The company estimates that half of all DOS and Windows users will convert to Windows 95 over the next year.

What's New

"Experienced Windows 3.1 users won't have any difficulty transitioning to this new version," says Carolyn Newman, Information Technology Division (ITD) instructor and referral consultant. "New users will likely find using the new Start button and Taskbar an intuitive way to run and manage programs and utilities."

Newman says the new features are very helpful. Among them:

"My Briefcase" allows easy file updating between an office computer and laptop.

"Quick View" lets you preview a file without loading its application.

Many accessories are now 32-bit applications. For example, Windows Write has been replaced by WordPad, which has a toolbar complete with a full range of fonts and text editing features.

Wizards (guided routines) help you install and remove software, printer drivers, and modems.

File names can be up to 255 characters long.

The right mouse button can be used extensively to access quick editing menus.

"Recycle Bin" stores files to be deleted.

Proceed with caution

As with any new computer product, some incompatibilities are not identified until the product is used for a while in real-life, high-volume settings.

The ITD Windows 95 Implementation and Planning Team has been evaluating Windows 95 to understand how it works (or does not work) with the University of Michigan Computing Environment (UMCE).

The team's first recommendation is to hold off on purchasing Windows 95 until there's a better understanding of how it fits with already-supported and deployed products.

No Windows 95 at sites

Windows 95 will not be deployed at Campus Computing and ResComp Sites, according to Andy Palms, ITD product area manager for Networking and Sites. "There are security issues with using Windows 95 over the sites' Novell network and no present way to authenticate users with their UMICH passwords," he says.

"We're not convinced that Windows 95 is or will be as reliable and as stable as Windows 3.1 in the sites' mixed-PC environment," Palms adds.

Support will expand

ITD will help users who have already switched to Windows 95. "Our present limited support of Windows 95 will be expanded as UMCE compatibility problems are better understood," says team leader Brenda Hill. "We've got ITD staff working on a Windows 95 Internet Access Kit and others looking at the need for Windows 95 workshops."

 Minimum Hardware Requirements

Joe Mullaney of ITD emphasizes that users need to be aware of the minimum configuration for reasonable performance with Windows 95. "Your computer should have at least an 80486 processor running at 33 MHz with 16 megabytes of RAM and 100 meg abytes free on the hard drive," he says.

"Installation can take anywhere from half an hour to several hours, depending upon whether you're doing an installation from a CD or from floppies. If you have a CDROM drive, we recommend you purchase the CD version of Windows 95."

Windows 95 and Internet access

General Internet access, including dial-in through a modem, is built into Windows 95. For instructions on how to configure the Windows 95 dial-in networking program, see the ITD publication " QuickNote: Configuring Windows 95 for Dialing in to a NAS," Step-by-step S4203.

ITD staff are working on a Windows 95 Internet Access Kit and related documentation. Check the ITD Windows 95 Web site for the latest information.

Purchase process

Negotiations are under way for special prices on volume purchases by U-M units of Windows 95 and other Microsoft products. According to Deb Masten, ITD site license manager, authorized department administrators will be able to download copies of Windows 95 from the IFS (Institutional File System) swdist directory (the central electronic location for software distribution).

There will be one price for the upgrade version and a slightly higher price for the new application version. The fee will cover the license to copy the version you need and all upgrades for the next two years. It will not include any documentati on. For details on the departmental purchase process, send email to licenses.itd@umich.edu.

Windows 95 can be purchased for personal use by individual faculty, staff and students at Photo & Campus Services, Room B542, LS&A Building.

More Information

You can try out Windows 95 at the Computer Showcase on the ground level of the Michigan Union, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

If your department is considering converting to Windows 95, talk to the ITD Customer Relationship Manager for your area. If you don't know who that person is, call Terri Saarinen, 763-4403, Carol Deneau, 764-6142.

You can learn how to use Windows 95 through any of a dozen or so books on the market, and Windows 95 team is putting together a list of helpful publications. The list will be available at the ITD Windows 95 Web site at the URL http://www.itd.umich.edu/UMCE_Prod_Serv/Software_Licensing/Windows95/.

The ITD Windows 95 Web site also contains lots of other information. If you still have questions, the ITD computing consultants will try to provide answers. Call 764HELP or send email to online.consulting@umich.edu.

There have been no problems noted with the following applications, but 32-bit applications written for Windows 95 work best.

 Microsoft Word for Windows 6.0 and 2.0

 Microsoft Word for DOS 5.0

 Microsoft Excel 4.0 and 5.0

 dBase III+ and IV

 PageMaker 4.0 and 5.0

 Eudora 2.1

There are varying degrees of problems with:

 Microsoft Word for DOS 6.0. In graphics mode, the desktop might not repaint correctly with a Diamond Stealth video card or driver using resolution 640x480x16 colors.

 LAN WorkPlace 4.x in the Internet Access Kit for Windows 3.1 does not work.

 waX.500 2.05. Only works in browse mode. Does not allow you to make changes in X.500.

 PC-Pine. Does not run under Windows 95. Instead, you can use Pine by using communications software to telnet to login.itd.umich.edu and running Pine there.

 Novell NetWare. Out of the box, Windows 95 will recognize and allow connections to all Novell servers on the network and allow basic network operations like file access and printing. However, NetWare Directory Service access and many of the popular NetWare services and features are not available. According to Novell, the Windows 95 NetWare client also limits the use of NetWare security features and in some instances breaches Novell security.

Novell recommends that customers use NetWare client v1.2 for DOS/Windows with Windows 95 instead of the client supplied on the Windows 95 disk. Novell has also announced that the NetWare Client 32 for Windows 95 is available as a pre-release product from Novell and is expected to ship before the end of the month. For more information on this client, visit the Novell Web site (http://netware.novell.com/).

 Banyan VINES. Windows 95 does not ship with any support for Banyan VINES. Banyan is working on a new client with support for Windows 95. Pre-release copies of the Windows 95 product are available from Banyan, and those the ITD team has seen appear to work quite well.

 Printing at the sites. Windows 95 does not allow for authentication, effectively blocking all access to the Campus Computing Sites printers.