Mobile quirks stop users booting Windows 98

The tales of woe continue with Windows 98 installations. Now, it is the turn of mobile users. Upgrading to Windows 98 from an earlier version of Windows can cause some annoying communications problems.

Users who have tried loading the commercial version of Windows 98 on top of Windows 95 have experienced problems getting the operating system to recognize PC Card modems and LAN adapters.

One notebook user, an engineer at a communications company, encountered the problem when he attempted to upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows 98 on several notebooks: a Toshiba Portege 660CDT, a Micron Transport XKE and an IBM ThinkPad 760.

All three notebooks refused to recognize LAN+modem PC Cards from 3Com, Intel and Global Village. "I spent all weekend configuring the laptop," said the user, who requested anonymity.

The problems didn't appear to affect users who received Windows 98 preinstalled or who performed a "clean install" of the operating system. A test by PC Week Labs revealed that on a Gateway Solo 2500 notebook upgraded from Windows 95 to Windows 98, PC Card modems, including 3Com's Megahertz XJ1336 and 3C562C LAN+modem, did not recognize the cards automatically. Technicians had to reinstall drivers in those cards for them to work with Windows 98.

Networking cards from 3Com, Intel and Xircom worked fine in PC Week Labs' test. Windows 98, however, removed the Novell client, SPX and NetBEUI, which had to be reinstalled.

One source said the modem and LAN adapter card problems have to do with Windows 98's drivers. "What we're seeing is LAN cards not working because the network drivers aren't being loaded correctly," the source said.

Microsoft hasn't heard of any problem with Windows 98 and PC Cards, said Hazel Lloyd, senior engineer in the Desktop Systems Division's technical support department. "This doesn't sound like a driver issue at all. It sounds like the second card [in a combination card] is having trouble getting resources allotted to it," Lloyd said. The workaround is to manually install and assign resources to the card, he said.