If you’ve been in IT for any time at all, it seems like many of the arguments for and against Windows Vista have all been heard before. Here’s an article from TechRepublic’s big brother site CBSNews.com. See if you can name the version of Windows that’s being discussed.


Windows Vista is everyone’s favorite whipping boy lately. Most recently, TechRepublic’s Jason Hiner piled on by declaring Vista dead and mentioning the reasons why Vista failed. Even so, as everyone in IT who’s been around for a while knows, every new version — including the celebrated and now legendary introduction of Windows 95 — is greeted with the same trepidations and warnings of “Ooooh, should we upgrade or not?”

To prove the point, I dug around archives of TechRepublic’s big brother CBSNews.com and found an article about another version of Windows. This is the typical reporting done by the press when a new version of Windows comes out.

Read the article and see if you can identify the version of Windows that’s being discussed. Beyond the version information, I’ve omitted some obvious historical references in the original article just to make it a little harder. I’ve also condensed the article for space.

Windows XXXXXX: To Buy Or Not To Buy?

With one week to go before Microsoft’s Windows XXXXXX hits retail stores, inquiring computer users want to know: Should they shell out the $XX or so for new software to upgrade their machines?
The new software, to be launched XXXXXX, isn’t the huge advance that Windows XXXXXX was. Microsoft Corp., acknowledging the less dramatic impact of the upgrade, hasn’t duplicated the huge advertising campaign of XX years ago.
Computer game players may want the system’s improved 3-D technology. And those who spend a lot of time nosing around the Internet might like  Microsoft’s Web browser. But most computer users will find far fewer enhancements than the Windows XXXXXX upgrade offered, and nearly all new applications will work with either Windows XXXXXX or XXXXXX.
“In my opinion, what little we will get above and beyond (what) we already have … is not worth $XXX,” said Rajendra Gondhalekar, a civil engineer in Birmingham, Ala. Windows XXXXXX is expected to sell for about $XX less than its $XXX list price.
Microsoft readily acknowledges that Windows XXXXXX is more of a tuneup than an overhaul. But the company says it offers a variety of solid improvements that most consumers would find useful and allow them to run programs easier, faster and more reliably.

Computing publications and industry analysts, meanwhile, say the decision to upgrade should be based on how consumers use their PCs and what new tasks they might want them to perform.

“For the pedestrian home users, who are happy with what they’re doing and don’t plan major changes, I don’t understand why any of (them) should be motivated to run out and get this,” said Harry Fenik, an analyst with Zona Research in Redwood City, Calif., who has tested Windows XXXXXX for several weeks and likes it.
“Alternatively, people who tend to buy the latest and greatest and add new peripherals on a regular basis are probably going to find their world less crazy than they did before,” he said.
Anyone who’s bought a PC with Windows XXXXXX in the last year already has many of the new program’s upgrades. Anyone with a PC more than a couple of years old may simply want to take advantage of low prices and buy a new machine, which will come with Windows XXXXXX.
…, Windows XXXXXX starts up and shuts down more quickly than Windows XXXXXX and is less prone to crash. It also boasts a more efficient file-storing system.
Richard Pulcrano, owner of a mobile radiology service in Huntington, W. Va., continuously gets on and off the Web and believes Windows XXXXXX will let him work more efficiently.
Pulcrano put his order in for Windows XXXXXX several months ago.
“It’s such a cheap way to get things done,” he said. “Time is money, and $XXX is nothing compared with how much time it saves me.”

Name that Windows version

Ok… so you’ve read the article.  Now – Name That Windows Version!

Do you think you got it right?

Get the answer.

The version in question is Windows 98. This article appeared on CBSNews.com on June 18, 1998. The full article’s title is Windows 98: To Buy or Not to Buy?

I left out the pricing, which would have been a dead giveaway. The article lists Windows 98’s launch price as $109, which is much cheaper than Windows Vista even adjusted for inflation. I also left out a reference to an ongoing federal lawsuit that Microsoft was worried about as it launched Windows 98. Finally, there was the mention of Microsoft embedding a browser in Windows, which would also have given it away.

In the final analysis, however, you see the same type of reporting done ten years ago being used over and over and over again. Do a simple search and replace, and you can put Windows Vista in for Windows 98 in that article and basically republish it.

The versions of Windows constantly change, but the issues surrounding each new version are always the same:

  • Your applications will continue to work.
  • It’s not really worth the upgrade.
  • Most users should wait to buy a new computer.
  • The new version has more features than the old one.
  • The new version should boot faster and be safer than the last.

It’s not an in-depth weekly edition of Geek Trivia, it’s just a simple rehash of history on Classics Rock.