EDITOR'S NOTE: A week after this BugNet Alert revealed that many PC vendors are advising newer laptop customers not too upgrade to Windows 98 immediately, ZDNet reported that Microsoft has pressured two vendors -- Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard -- into pulling their Win98 warnings. For the most complete, uncensored coverage of this problem available anywhere, read on...

Updated July 11, 1998

On The Bleeding Edge...

Many Newer Windows 95 Laptops Trip On Windows 98 Upgrade

IT's QUICKLY becoming apparent that users of newer model laptops should talk to their vendor before upgrading from Windows 95 to Windows 98.

Gateway, Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba are warning users that some of their newer models shouldn’t be upgraded to Windows 98 until patches for the laptops' BIOS and hardware drivers have been installed. In some cases, the needed patches don’t exist yet.

Dell, at http://www.dell.com/products/notebook/latitude/98upgrade.htm, says that their Latitude CP, Latitude CPi, Latitude XPi CD, Latitude XPiCD MMX, Latitude XPi P133, Latitude LM, Latitude LM MMX, are upgradeable to Windows 98, but it is not recommended.

Dell says "your system, configured as it originally shipped to you, can be upgraded to Windows 98. However, a software system patch will be necessary for optimal performance." They are working on this patch, and will release it after testing.

For Dell Latitude XPi P120, Latitude XPi P100, Latitude XPi P90, Latitude XPi P75, Latitude LX 4xxD/T, Latitude XP 4xx, and Latitude XP 4xxD/T, you can upgrade but "due to the non-optimal performance of Windows 98 on your system, we do not recommend upgrading."

Dell terms its Latitude 4xx and Latitude 4xxM "not upgradeable."

Toshiba says that any of their laptops with ACPI (advanced configuration power interface), which include recent models 100CT, 305CDS, 310C, 320CT, 320C, 330C, 490CDT, 490XCDT, 550CDT, 750CDT, 750CDM/DVD, and 780CDM/DVD, should not be upgraded to Windows 98 until ACPI is patched. If you upgrade to Windows 98 first, it will be extremely difficult to install the Toshiba patch. Toshiba models without ACPI should be OK to upgrade. Keep an eye on http://www.csd.toshiba.com/tais/csd/support/issues/98060020.htm for an announcement for when the patch is released.

IBM says it will be bringing out a patch for ThinkPads that will deal with the ACPI problem, which affects the ThinkPad 600, 770E, and 770ED. According to IBM, there are "significant issues with Windows 98 support of ACPI."

IBM is offering an upgrade coupon that will allow users to obtain Windows 98. "The Windows 98 Upgrade Coupon is included with select systems and is available at many retail purchase locations." For more information, see http://www.pc.ibm.com/software/windows98.

Meanwhile Hewlett-Packard's Brio support web site states that "using the Selective Application Setup option of the HP Product Recovery CD-ROM under Windows 98 may seriously corrupt your system. Your system may not be able to restart successfully."

Gateway says some of its Solo 9100 laptops should not be upgraded to Windows 98 until the BIOS has been flash upgraded. The new BIOS version 8.41 is now available on the Gateway web site (click on Technical Support, Software Library, Hardware, Portable Systems, 9100 BIOS, then scroll down the page to find BIOS 8.41).

Gateway notes that not all 9100 owners will need the new BIOS, "so clients should reference the information listed next to the download link to determine whether or not their specific system is affected."

In addition, a Gateway spokesman says Gateway will be sending all affected 9100 owners the new BIOS and installation instructions "in the next couple weeks."

-- Bruce Kratofil

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