National Council on Disability Document Archive

Memphis/Windows 98 info and beta testing

Posted by: Jamal Mazrui
Date Mailed: Wednesday, July 23rd 1997 12:12 PM

Here is a description of feature enhancements in the next version
of Windows, currently named Memphis.  At the end is an
application form to be a beta tester.  Through increased design
and testing for accessibility, this operating system will
hopefully be more usable than predecessors at the outset by
people with disabilities, particularly blind persons.


 Memphis Beta 1 Release - Feature Overview

  New Feature                 Description

  Enhance Reliability and Performance

  Disk Defragmenter           The new Disk Defragmenter Optimization
  Optimization Wizard         Wizard uses the process of disk
                              defragmentation to increase the speed with
                              which your most frequently used
                              applications run. To accomplish this the
                              wizard creates a log file which identifies
                              your most commonly used programs. Once
                              this log file has been created, it can be
                              used by the disk defragmenter to store the
                              files associated with your most commonly
                              run programs (the files will be stored
                              contiguously on the hard disk). Placing
                              all of the files associated with a given
                              application in the same location on your
                              hard disk will optimize the speed with
                              which your application runs.

  Memphis HelpDesk            Memphis HelpDesk is the first step in
                              resolving a technical support issue. It
                              links you to local and Internet resources,
                              including Online Help, Troubleshooting
                              Wizards, the Microsoft Knowledge Base, the
                              Microsoft Technical Support for Windows
                              Home Page, Windows Update Manager, and the
                              Memphis Web-based Bug Reporting Tool. You
                              can launch Windows Tune-Up Wizard from the
                              System Tool group off the Start Menu.

  Windows System Update       Windows System Update helps you ensure you
                              are using the latest drivers and file
                              systems available. It is a new Web-based
                              service (ActiveX control) that scans your
                              system to determine what hardware and
                              software you have installed, then compares
                              that information to a back-end database to
                              determine whether there are newer drivers
                              or system files available. If there are
                              newer drivers or system files, the service
                              can automatically install the drivers.
                              This process is completely configurable
                              allowing the user to choose which updated
                              drivers/system files to download, or
                              simply downloads the drivers requiring no
                              user interaction. There is even a
                              "rollback" feature which can remove a
                              driver which has been automatically
                              installed via Windows System Update.

  System File Checker         System File Checker is a new utility which
  Utility                     provides an easy way to verify that the
                              Memphis Beta 1 System Files (*.dll, *.com,
                              *.vxd, *.drv, *.ocx, *.inf, *.hlp, etc.)
                              have not been modified or corrupted. The
                              utility also provides an easy mechanism
                              for restoring the original versions of
                              system files which have changed. System
                              File Checker will be extremely valuable in
                              helping users and support personnel track
                              changes (file corruption, application
                              installation, application removal,
                              accidental deleting of files, etc.) made
                              to Memphis Beta 1 systems and restore
                              original files in the event a change
                              causes a conflict.

  Windows Tune-Up Wizard      The Windows Tune-Up Wizard was designed to
                              make the PC more self-maintainable. The
                              Wizard schedules tune-up jobs to be run
                              automatically on a regular basis. You can
                              launch the Wizard from the Start menu, or
                              off of the Programs, Accessories, and
                              System Tools.

  System Troubleshooter       System Troubleshooter (Tshoot.exe)
                              automates the routine troubleshooting
                              steps used by support personnel and users
                              when diagnosing issues with the Windows

  Microsoft System            Memphis now contains a centralized system
  Information Utility         information utility that gathers system
                              configuration information for technical
                              support. This tool is comprised of a
                              collection of ActiveX controls, each
                              responsible for collecting and displaying
                              a certain category of system information
                              in the right frame of MSInfo. A Support
                              Engineer can guide the user experiencing
                              an issue to MSInfo to facilitate the
                              information gathering process.

  New Dr. Watson Utility      Memphis Beta 1 includes an enhanced
                              version of the Dr. Watson utility. With
                              Dr. Watson enabled, when a software fault
                              occurs (general protection fault, hang,
                              etc.), Dr. Watson will intercept it and
                              indicate what software faulted and why. In
                              addition, Dr. Watson collects detailed
                              information about the state of your system
                              at the time the fault occurred. It logs
                              this information to disk, and can display
                              it on screen to assist administrative and
                              product support personnel in determining
                              the cause of the fault.

  New Backup Utility          This new backup applet supports SCSI tape
                              devices and makes backing up your data
                              easier and faster.

  Automatic ScanDisk After    Memphis Beta 1 has been enhanced to run
  Improper Shutdown           ScanDisk automatically in the event the
                              operating system is shut down improperly
                              or your hard disk suffers a hard error.
                              This addition will go along way to help
                              people ensure their hard drives are in
                              proper working order, free of lost
                              clusters, cross-linked files, etc.

  Setup Enhancements          Several enhancements have been made to the
                              Memphis Beta 1 setup program in an effort
                              to decrease setup time while increasing
                              setup reliability.

  New Accessibility Tools     Memphis includes two new accessibility
                              tools including - the Accessibility
                              Configuration Wizard which helps people
                              adapt Windows' options to their needs and
                              preferences, and a low-end screen
                              magnifier which helps people with moderate
                              vision impairments and those working on
                              unfamiliar machines.

  Faster Shutdown             The time it takes to shutdown the system
                              has been dramatically reduced in Memphis.

  Make Computing More Entertaining

  Broadcast Services          Broadcast Services represent architectural
                              enhancements in Memphis which allow users
                              to receive TCP/IP packets which have been
                              "injected" into a broadcasting signal.
                              With the addition of a tuner board, a
                              Memphis-based machine will be capable of
                              receiving video and digital data that has
                              been "injected" into traditional broadcast
                              services. This allows Memphis users to
                              receive Internet content, enhanced
                              television shows, and other digital
                              content right on their PC, without tying
                              up existing phone lines.

  Support for New Generation  One of the major goals of Memphis Beta 1
  of Hardware                 is to provide complete support for users
                              to take advantage of the array of
                              innovations which have occurred in
                              computer hardware over the last few years.
                              Some of the major hardware standards
                              supported by Memphis Beta 1 include:
                              Universal Serial Bus (USB), IEEE 1394,
                              Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), Advanced
                              Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI),
                              and Digital Video Disc (DVD).

  Display Setting             Display Setting Enhancements provide
  Enhancements                support for dynamically changing screen
                              resolution and color depth. Adapter
                              refresh rate can also be set with most
                              newer display driver chipsets. Memphis
                              Beta 1 also includes the display
                              enhancements previously available in
                              Microsoft Plus!. (Microsoft Plus! is an
                              add-on pack for Windows 95 which provided
                              several minor operating system
                              enhancements.) The enhancements with
                              Memphis Beta 1 include: full window drag,
                              font smoothing, wallpaper stretching,
                              large icons, and hi-color icons.

  ActiveMovie™          ActiveMovie is a new media-streaming
                              architecture for Windows that delivers
                              high-quality video playback while exposing
                              an extensible set of interfaces upon which
                              multimedia applications and tools can be
                              built. ActiveMovie enables playback of
                              popular media types including MPEG audio,
                              .WAV audio, MPEG video, AVI video, and
                              Apple QuickTime video.

  Support for Intel MMX       Provides support for third parties to
  Processors                  build software that exploits the Intel
                              Pentium Multimedia Extensions (MMX) for
                              fast audio and video support on the next
                              generation of Intel Pentium processor.

  Improve Ease-of-Use

  FAT32                       FAT32 is an improved version of the FAT
                              file system that allows disks over two
                              gigabytes to be formatted as a single
                              drive. FAT32 also uses smaller clusters
                              than FAT drives, resulting in a more
                              efficient use of space on large disks.

  FAT32 Conversion Utility    For added flexibility, Memphis Beta 1
                              includes a graphical FAT32 conversion
                              utility, which can quickly and safely
                              convert a hard drive from the original
                              version of FAT to FAT32.

  Power Management            Memphis Beta 1 includes built-in support
  Improvements                for Advanced Configuration and Power
                              Interface (ACPI). ACPI is an open industry
                              specification proposed by Intel,
                              Microsoft, and Toshiba which defines
                              hardware interfaces that allow for
                              standard power management functionality
                              throughout a PC system. In addition to
                              ACPI support, Memphis Beta 1 includes
                              support for the Advanced Power Management
                              (APM) 1.2 extensions including: Disk
                              spindown, PCMCIA modem power down, and
                              resume on ring. Also supported are new
                              power management "schemes".

  Multiple Display Support    Multiple Display Support allows you to use
                              multiple monitors and/or multiple graphics
                              adapters on a single PC. The ability to
                              have your work environment displayed on
                              multiple monitors can be extremely
                              beneficial in many areas including:
                              desktop publishing, Web development, video
                              editing, and gaming environments.

  Remote Access Server        Memphis Beta 1 includes all of the
                              components necessary to enable your
                              desktop to act as a dial-up server. This
                              allows dial-up clients to remotely connect
                              to a Memphis Beta 1 machine for local
                              resource access or connecting to an
                              IPX/SPX and/or NetBEUI network.

  PCMCIA Enhancements         There have been several enhancements to
                              Memphis Beta 1 with respect to PCMCIA
                              technology including:

                                 * Support for PC Card32 (Cardbus):
                                   Cardbus brings 32-bit performance to
                                   the small PC Card form factor. It
                                   enables notebooks to implement
                                   high-bandwidth applications like
                                   video capture and 100Mbps networking.

                                 * Support for PC Cards that operate at
                                   3.3 Volts: This enables hardware
                                   manufacturers to lower the power
                                   consumption of their devices by using
                                   3.3V rather than 5V.

                                 * Support for Multifunction PC Cards:
                                   Allows two or more functions (such as
                                   LAN and Modem, or SCSI and sound) on
                                   a single physical PC Card. Supporting
                                   Multifunction Cards helps decrease
                                   the cost-per-function of PC Cards,
                                   and makes better use of the precious
                                   number of slots on most PCs
                                   permitting more functions per PC.

  Built-In Support for        Memphis Beta 1 includes support for IrDA,
  Infrared Data Association   the Infrared Data Association standard for
  (IrDA) 3.0                  wireless connectivity. IrDA support
                              enables Memphis Beta 1 users to easily
                              connect to peripheral devices or other PCs
                              without using connecting cables. This
                              driver set provides infrared-equipped
                              laptop or desktop computers with the
                              capability of networking, transferring
                              files, and printing wirelessly with other
                              IrDA-compatible infrared devices.

  Integrate the Internet

  Integrated Internet Shell   With the Integrated Internet Shell
                              included with Memphis Beta 1, Internet
                              access becomes a seamless part of the user
                              interface. Users will no longer have to
                              learn multiple applications - one to look
                              at their local information, perhaps
                              another to look at their network, and
                              unquestionably another to use the Internet
                              or intranet. With the Integrated Internet
                              Shell, Memphis Beta 1 unifies this process
                              into one utility to universally view
                              local, network, intranet, and Internet
                              data, so you can get to the information
                              you need faster and easier.

  Dial-Up Networking          The Dial-Up Networking included with
  Improvements (Including     Memphis Beta 1 has been updated to
  Multilink Channel           support: Dial-up scripting (which can
  Aggregation)                automate the process of connecting to
                              bulletin boards and online services);
                              Dial-Up Networking user interface
                              enhancements to simplify setting up and
                              using dial-up connections; and support for
                              Multilink Channel Aggregation which
                              enables users to combine all available
                              dial-up lines to achieve higher transfer
                              speeds. For example, you can combine two
                              or more ISDN lines to achieve speeds of up
                              to 128K, or combine two or more standard
                              modem lines. This can provide dramatic
                              performance improvements when dialing into
                              the Internet or corporate network.

  Advanced Internet Browsing  Memphis Beta 1 provides the easiest,
  Functionality               fastest, and most entertaining way to
                              browse the Web. This is done via:

                                 * Advanced browsing capabilities such
                                   as AutoComplete, enhanced Web
                                   searching, improved favorites,
                                   navigation history on the
                                   Forward/Back buttons, and improved

                                 * Support for all major Internet
                                   standards including HTML, Java,
                                   ActiveX, JavaScript, VisualBasic
                                   Scripting, and major security

                                 * Improved performance with Dynamic
                                   HTML, a just-in-time Java compiler,
                                   and basic code "tuning".

  Personalized Internet       When users are asked the biggest problem
  Information Delivery        they have with the World Wide Web, the
                              number one response is getting the
                              information they need. Memphis Beta 1
                              addresses this problem by providing a
                              mechanism to automatically select and
                              schedule downloads of the information you
                              care about. This enables you to see what
                              has changed on a Web site without
                              physically visiting the site and even
                              allows you to view the site when you are
                              not connected to the Web.

  Suite of Tools for          Memphis Beta 1 also contains rich tools
  Internet Communication      for online communication including:

                                 * Outlook™ Express, a full
                                   featured email and news reading

                                 * Microsoft NetMeeting™, a
                                   complete Internet conferencing
                                   solution providing standards-based
                                   audio, data, and video conferencing

                                 * Personal Web Server (and the Web
                                   Publishing Wizard), which provides an
                                   easy way to publish Web pages on
                                   intranets or the Internet.

  Client Support for          The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol
  Point-to-Point Tunneling    (PPTP) provides a way to use public data
  Protocol (PPTP)             networks, such as the Internet, to create
                              virtual private networks connecting client
                              PCs with servers. PPTP offers protocol
                              encapsulation to support multiple
                              protocols via TCP/IP connections and data
                              encryption for privacy, making it safer to
                              send information over non-secure networks.
                              This technology extends the Dial-Up
                              Networking capability by enabling remote
                              access and securely extending private
                              networks across the Internet without
                              needing to change the client software.

  Online Services Folder      The Memphis Beta 1 desktop contains an
                              Online Services Folder with links to
                              America Online (AOL), AT&T WorldNet,
                              CompuServe 3.0, and Prodigy clients. When
                              you click the link to the client, a setup
                              program starts that automatically
                              registers you with that Internet Service

  Increase Manageability and Other Business-Related Features

  Win32+ Driver Model (WDM)   The Win32 Driver Model (WDM) is an all
                              new, common driver model for Windows 95
                              and Windows NT+ . WDM will enable some
                              common types of devices using USB and IEEE
                              1394 to have a single driver for both
                              operating systems. The WDM has been
                              implemented by adding selected NT Kernel
                              services into Memphis Beta 1 via a special
                              virtual device driver (NTKERN.VXD). This
                              allows Memphis Beta 1 to maintain full
                              legacy device driver support while adding
                              support for new WDM drivers.

  Windows System Update       Windows System Update, part of the "Zero
                              Administration" initiative for Windows,
                              helps you ensure your users are using the
                              latest drivers and file systems available.
                              It is a new Web-based service (ActiveX
                              control) that scans a userFs system to
                              determine what hardware and software they
                              have installed, then compares that
                              information to a back-end database to
                              determine whether there are newer drivers
                              or system files available. If there are
                              newer drivers or system files, the service
                              can automatically install the drivers.
                              This process is completely configurable
                              allowing the user to choose which updated
                              drivers/system files to download, or
                              simply downloads the drivers requiring no
                              user interaction. There is even a
                              "rollback" feature which can remove a
                              driver which has been automatically
                              installed via Windows System Update.

  Windows Scripting Host      Memphis Beta 1 supports direct script
                              execution from the user interface or the
                              command line (a script is simply a series
                              of commands that can be automatically
                              executed). This support is provided via
                              the Windows Scripting Host (WSH) and
                              allows administrators and/or users to save
                              time by automating many user interface
                              actions such as creating a shortcut,
                              connecting to a network server,
                              disconnecting from a network server, etc.
                              The WSH is extremely flexible with
                              built-in support for VisualBasic+ scripts,
                              Java scripts, and a language independent
                              architecture which will allow other
                              software companies to build ActiveX™
                              scripting engines for languages such as
                              Perl, TCL, REXX, and Python.

  Distributed Component       The Component Object Model (COM) allows
  Object Model (DCOM)         software developers to create component
                              applications. Now, Distributed COM (DCOM)
                              in Memphis Beta 1 (and Windows NT 4.0)
                              provides the infrastructure that allows
                              DCOM applications (the technology formally
                              known as Network OLE) to communicate
                              across networks without needing to
                              redevelop applications.

  Client Support for NetWare  Memphis Beta 1 includes Client Services
  Directory Services (NDS)    for NetWare that support Novell NetWare
                              Directory Services (NDS). This enables
                              Memphis Beta 1 users to log on to Novell
                              NetWare 4.x servers running NDS to access
                              files and print resources. This service
                              provides the key features that Novell
                              users need, such as: NDS authentication,
                              ability to browse NDS resources, ability
                              to print to NDS print queues, and full
                              support for processing NetWare login
                              scripts, NDS property pages, and NDS

  32-bit Data Link Control    The Data Link Control (DLC) protocol is
  (DLC)                       used primarily to access IBM mainframe and
                              IBM AS/400 computers. The 32-bit DLC
                              protocol software built-in to Memphis Beta
                              1 enables a network administrator to add
                              support for 32-bit and 16-bit DLC

 To apply to become a beta tester for Memphis, please e-mail the request
 to, put Memphis Beta Tester Application as the
 subject field and include the following information in the text of the

    * Name
    * Company name
    * Physical address (no P.O. Boxes)
    * Phone number
    * Fax number
    * Internet e-mail address
    * Specify that you are applying to beta test Memphis.
    * Complete description of the hardware configuration you use
      including computer, monitor, graphics cards, memory cards, add-on
      cards, and any peripheral devices such as printers, plotters and
    * Complete description of the software operating environment you use,
      including current operating systems, networks, and memory-resident
    * Reasons why you want to be a beta tester, including experience you
      have using the product and any previous experience you have in
      doing beta testing.
    * Developers should include a request for any related Software
      Development Kits (SDKs).

 Please note: Application for the Memphis beta program does not guarantee
 acceptance. You will be notified if you are chosen. Due to the high
 volume of requests we receive, status checks cannot be done on an
 individual basis.

End of Document

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