Hold your horses...new sofeware can wait awhile

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 September, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 September, 1995, 12:00am

IT looks like Windows 95 made quite an impact in the local market. The number of questions I have received in the past two weeks related to the operating system and from people who went out and bought it far surpasses enquiries on any other subject.

Interestingly enough, a lot of the questions were from people who use PCs for such regular tasks as word processing, game-playing, the occasional bit of graphics work and some layout. One reader uses it to manage the accounts of his one-man company. And they all wanted to know what software to buy for Windows 95 now that they are into 32-bit computing.

I'm sure several software companies will disagree with my opinion on this one, but here goes, anyway.

DON'T go out and buy any software for Windows 95 just yet. If you are a new Windows 95 owner, there are several good reasons for postponing a Windows-induced software shopping spree, and spending thousands of dollars in the process (assuming, of course, that all you plan to - as you should - go out and buy original software).

First, you should spend some time to learn more about Windows 95 itself. The system has a lot of good features, but you might discover that you have little use for many of them. As a fellow non-technical journalist said recently after listening to an explanation of multitasking: 'Maybe your PC can do 27 things at once, but I prefer to do one thing at a time.' One thing you may notice if you play with Windows 95 for a while - and Microsoft is the first to admit this - is that the system makes many old DOS and Windows programs work better, and thus less in need of replacing.

This leads on to the second reason for holding your horses. Many software vendors have rushed to cash in on the publicity generated by Microsoft over Windows 95 and have released programs ready for use on the new system. In more cases than one, these programs are only slightly revamped versions of the old applications and appear to have been put on the market in a bid to take advantage of the buying frenzy. Many market watchers agree that the really good Windows 95 programs will come in the next generation of such applications.

Even if you are not buying new Windows 95-ready versions of programs you already use but plan to invest in some entirely new applications, I would advise you to wait a while if you can. You are going to have to learn to use every new program you buy, and no matter how good you are, this will take a little while. Once again, far better to spend that time learning the new operating system itself.

And finally, there remains what is in my book the single biggest reason for holding back on unnecessary software purchases. You would do much better to spend that money on some new hardware. You would be much better off, for example, adding new RAM to your system so that Windows 95 and other programs you have on it will perform better.

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