Desktop Upgraders Consider Windows 98 Instead of NT

Windows NT workstation shipment delays and better management tools in Windows 98 have some users considering Windows 98 instead of NT for future desktop upgrades.

Windows NT workstation shipment delays and better management tools in Windows 98 have some users considering Windows 98 instead of NT for future desktop upgrades.

“We’re running Windows 95 right now, but there are tools in Windows 98 that are going to make life much easier, especially in the area of networked PC connections and Web tools,” said Wayne Hastings, assistant vice president at Detroit Edison Corp. in Detroit.

Hastings said the company has considered NT but is unlikely to adopt a first version of Microsoft Corp.’s NT 5.0 operating system. Detroit Edison, which has 12,000 PC users, recently upgraded to Windows 95 on the desktop, and Hastings said he expects early versions of NT 5.0 to be full of bugs. The company uses NT on the server, however.

Hastings said Detroit Edison will likely adopt Windows 98 in the second half of 1998 — mostly for embedded tools such as Microsoft’s Zero Administration, which eliminates the need to load software at the desktop and lets administrators poll desktops for trouble spots.

Hastings said features that allow remote setup and software distribution can save time and money. Integration with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which lets users toggle between the Internet and data files, also will save users time.

“Windows 98 is going to have a big impact in the market,” said Mike Gartenberg, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Group Inc. With Windows NT Workstation 5.0 shipping late in 1998, most corporate customers would be wise to think twice about migration plans that must take place before mid-1999, Gartenberg said.

Dan Grosz, director of business systems planning at Timberland Co., a Stratham, New Hampshire-based shoemaker, concurs.

“We are using NT for some of our servers, but not as a desktop operating system. We just completed a move to Windows 95, and we’ll stick with that for quite some time, because Microsoft’s initial releases tend to be fairly buggy,” Grosz said.

“Certainly, Microsoft is positioning the NT platform to be the operating system of choice for business, and it will be interesting to see if they can sell that,” he said.

Most users won’t be able to handle the footprint of NT Workstation. It optimally runs on a Pentium II-class desktop with 64M bytes of memory. “That just isn’t the typical machine,” Gartenberg said.

Support for features such as ACPI — an advanced power and configuration standard — won’t appear on most hardware until mid-1998, he said.

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