• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 4. What's New and Noteworthy in ... > Other New Shell and Customization Fe...

Other New Shell and Customization Features

The Windows 95 shell was a big hit with most people, but that didn't stop the Microsoft engineers from making changes. The Windows 98 shell boasts quite a collection of improvements, as well as many new tools for customizing Windows 98 to suit the way you work. Here's the rundown:

A better Setup program: The improvements in Windows 98 really begin at the beginning: in the Setup program. This is particularly true if you're upgrading from Windows 95 because the Windows 98 Setup program makes use of the Registry to carry over all your settings (including hardware configurations). This means that the installation process requires very little user input (Setup even reboots the computer automatically as needed). Even for full installs, Setup streamlines the process and is a bit smarter when it comes to hardware detection. (The latter now occurs after the first reboot so that Setup can take full advantage of any Plug and Play data it receives.) The Setup nitty-gritty can be found in Chapter 1, “Preparing for the Windows 98 Installation,” and Chapter 2.

Global Windows Address Book: Windows 98 implements a common address book—called the Windows Address Book—that can be used among multiple applications (including Outlook Express and Internet Explorer).

My Documents folder: Setup creates a folder named My Documents on the same drive on which you installed Windows 98. This folder is intended to be used as a storage area for the documents you create while working in Windows 98. The common Open and Save As dialog boxes have been tweaked so that they default to this folder. See Chapter 14, “File and Folder Tricks and Techniques.”

Easier user profiles: As in Windows 95, Windows 98 enables you to establish user profiles to create custom configurations for multiple users of a single machine. A new Users Control Panel icon makes it easier to set up and maintain these profiles.

Wheel mouse support: Windows 98 has built-in support for the Microsoft Intellimouse with the extra wheel “button.” In most Windows 98 windows, you can scroll up or down by rotating the wheel. See Chapter 8.

Microsoft Plus! display enhancements: All of the display customization features found in the Microsoft Plus! add-on for Windows 95 have been incorporated into Windows 98. These include full-window drag, font smoothing, wallpaper stretching, and customizable desktop icons. I show you how to work with all of these enhancements in Chapter 6, “Customizing the Taskbar, Start Menu, and Display.”

QuickRes—on-the-fly color depth changes: Windows 98 bundles the QuickRes utility (formerly part of the Windows 95 Power Toys collection), which enables you to make on-the-fly changes to the color depth used by your graphics adapter (Windows 95 required a reboot to put this change into effect). Windows 98 also places a display settings icon in the taskbar for quick adjustments to both color depth and display resolution. All this is covered in Chapter 6.

Easier Start menu customization: Windows 98 enables you to reposition Start menu items by dragging them up or down within a menu. I explain this technique in more detail in Chapter 6.

Improved Accessibility options: Windows 98 continues the excellent support for the needs of disabled users that was pioneered in Windows 95. To make these Accessibility options even easier to use, Windows 98 comes with a new Accessibility Wizard that provides an intuitive, easy-to-use front-end for most of the settings (see Figure 4.6). Windows 98 also includes a new utility called the Microsoft Magnifier that enables you to “zoom in” on the screen and thus view the contents at increased magnification. I offer complete coverage of Windows 98's accessibility features in Chapter 7, “Setting Accessibility Options, User Profiles, and More.”

Figure 4.6. The Accessibility Wizard makes it easier than ever to customize Windows for users with special needs.

New interface animation effects: The Windows 98 interface has been tweaked to include effects such as sliding menus, color highlighting of toolbar icons, and ToolTips for things such as the window Maximize and Minimize buttons. The Windows 98 CD-ROM comes with a utility called TweakUI that enables you to control some of these settings, and I show you how it works in Chapter 6.

Revamped Help system: Windows 98 implements a new Help system front-end called HelpDesk. This is a Web page that resides on your computer and gives you access to Local Help (the Windows 98 Help system) or to Internet-based Help resources. The Help system itself has been retooled as HTML and now runs inside a custom browser window.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint