Windows 98

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Windows 98 (codenamed Memphis) is a graphical operating system by Microsoft. It is the second major release in the Windows 9x line of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on 15 May 1998 and to retail on 25 June 1998. Windows 98 is the successor to Windows 95. Like its predecessor, it is a hybrid 16-bit/32-bit[2] monolithic product with an MS-DOS based boot loader[3]. Windows 98 was succeeded by Windows 98 Second Edition on 5 May 1999, then by Windows Me (Millennium Edition) on 14 September 2000. Microsoft support for Windows 98 ended on 11 July 2006.


Web integration and shell enhancements

The Windows 98 shell includes all of the enhancements from Windows Desktop Update, an Internet Explorer 4 component, such as the Quick Launch toolbar, deskbands, Active Desktop, Channels, ability to minimize foreground windows by clicking their button on the taskbar, single click launching, Back and Forward navigation buttons, favorites, and address bar in Windows Explorer, image thumbnails, folder infotips and web view in folders, and folder customization through HTML-based templates.

Newer standards support

  • Windows 98 was the first operating system to use the Windows Driver Model (WDM). This fact was not well publicised when Windows 98 was released, and most hardware producers continued to develop drivers for the older VxD driver standard, which Windows 98 also supported. The WDM standard only achieved widespread adoption years later, mostly through Windows 2000 and Windows XP, as they are not compatible with the older VxD standard[4]. Windows Driver Model was introduced largely so that developers would write source compatible drivers for all future versions of Windows. Device driver access in WDM is actually implemented through a VxD device driver, NTKERN.VXD which implements several Windows NT-specific kernel support functions. NTKERN creates IRPs and sends them to WDM drivers.
  • WDM Audio: Support for WDM audio enables digital mixing, routing and processing of simultaneous audio streams and kernel streaming with high quality sample rate conversion on Windows 98. WDM Audio allows for software emulation of legacy hardware to support MS-DOS games, DirectSound support and MIDI wavetable sythesis. A Microsoft GS Wavetable Synthesizer licensed from Roland shipped with Windows 98 for WDM audio drivers. Windows 98 supports digital playback of audio CDs. Windows 98 Second Edition improves WDM audio support by adding DirectSound hardware mixing and DirectSound 3D hardware abstraction, DirectMusic kernel support, KMixer sample-rate conversion (SRC) for capture streams and multichannel audio support. All audio is sampled by the Kernel Mixer to a fixed sampling rate which may result in some audio getting upsampled or downsampled and having a high latency, except when using Kernel Streaming or third party audio paths like ASIO which allow unmixed audio streams and lower latency.
  • Windows 98, in general, provides improved -- and a broader range of -- support for IDE and SCSI drives and drive controllers, floppy drive controllers and all other classes of hardware than Windows 95.[5]
  • Windows 98 had more robust USB support (e.g. support for USB composite devices) than Windows 95 which only had support in OEM versions (OSR2.1 or later).[6] Windows 98 supports USB hubs, USB scanners and imaging class devices. Windows 98 also introduces built-in support for some USB Human Interface Device class (USB HID) and PID class devices such as USB mice, keyboards, force feedback joysticks etc including additional keyboard functions through a certain number of Consumer Page HID controls. [7] It includes a WDM streaming class driver to address real time multimedia data stream processing requirements and a WDM kernel-mode video transport for enhanced video playback and capture. USB audio device class support is present from Windows 98 SE onwards. Windows 98 Second Edition also introduced support for WDM for modems (and therefore USB modems and virtual COM ports). Microsoft driver support for both USB printers, and for USB mass-storage device class is not available for Windows 98; support for both was introduced in Windows 2000; however generic third party free drivers are available today for USB MSC devices.
  • Basic FireWire (IEEE 1394) support
  • Integrated Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) support compared to the Windows 95 original release. (Note: USB Supplement to Windows 95 OSR2 and later releases of Windows 95 include AGP support).
  • DVD support and UDF 1.02 read support
  • ACPI 1.0 support which enabled Standby (ACPI S3) and Hibernate (ACPI S4) states. However, hibernation support was extremely limited, and vendor-specific. Hibernation was only available if compatible (PnP) hardware and BIOS are present, and the hardware manufacturer or OEM supplied compatible WDM drivers (non-VxD) drivers. There are also hibernation issues with the FAT32 file system[5], making hibernation problematic and unreliable.
  • Still imaging architecture (STI) for scanners and cameras, Image Color Management 2.0 which supports more color spaces and TWAIN support
  • Broadcast Driver Architecture
  • Multiple monitor support allows using up to 8 multiple monitors and/or multiple graphics adapters on a single PC.
  • Windows 98 shipped with DirectX 5.2 which notably included DirectShow. Windows 98 Second Edition shipped with DirectX 6.1.

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