Readers of C Vu who use Intel/Windows 98 as a development platform do not want to have to consume large amounts of their time trying to get their machines to work correctly. There are many reasons for choosing to use a newer OS. The current cost of hardware encourages many to buy a new machine that comes with Windows 98 already installed. As you probably will eventually want support for things such as USB ports it is probably short- sighted to replace Windows 98 with some earlier version. However, unless you are unusually fortunate in the quality of the work done by your machines supplier, you will find that you have a pretty generic installation of Windows 98 which keeps getting in the way of a multitude of things that you know are possible. Secondly, having become comfortable with Windows 98 you may well decide to upgrade your reserve machine which will have a variety of older hardware that will need correct support. When things go wrong you can spend a horrific amount of time fixing it (I know, because I have to fix my clients' machines).
This book is divided into 15 chapters. The first focuses on the philosophy of 'Bulletproofing' versus that of 'Troubleshooting'. The second gives you a fairly quick overview of Windows 98. The remaining thirteen chapters cover everything from 'Bulletproofing Installation' to 'Bulletproofing the Registry'. Each chapter follows the same format. They start with a general introduction to the topic to give you a foundation which will provide context for the bulk of the chapter. The latter consists of listing major problems that you might meet. For each problem the author supplies ideas for a short-term fix followed by those for a long term one.
I like the way the authors have presented their material. Though you do need some technical literacy to make good use of this book it would be hard to see how you could aim at a wider readership. The biggest drawback is that bulletproofing requires you to invest time ahead of the potential problem. The frantic rush of our lives makes it hard for most of us to do this. When we do, we find that our system gives us no problems and we start wondering if we wasted our time. Such is human nature.
If you value your time and have to do your own machine maintenance put aside a couple of days (a weekend if needs must) and work through this book with a clean installation of Windows 98. You will save much more than two days during the subsequent year (though you will still be lucky to have a trouble free year).