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Windows 98 is the operating system from Microsoft that succeeded Windows 95. It was the second major release in the Windows 9x family. It had significant updates and improvements over Windows 95, including fixes and support for new peripherals. Windows 98 was succeeded by Windows 98 Second Edition. Microsoft ended support for the Windows 98 operating system in mid-2006.
Windows 98's boot sequence was based on MS-DOS, and the operating system introduced features to help in greater Web integration. It introduced Web-based applications like FrontPage, Windows Chat, Internet Explorer 4.01 and Outlook Express. There was also greater emphasis on security, as additional protection was provided for important files along with auto-backing of the registry feature and enhanced networking. The system file checker had the ability to repair critical system files and also check the files for any corruption or modification. There was improved hardware support for devices like USB and DVD, and there was built-in support for MMX processors and graphics cards. It also had the capability to convert the drive to FAT32 with no loss of data.
One very significant feature in Windows 98 was the Web-based interface. Active Desktop was introduced, which provided users the ability to customize the desktop with the look and feel of the Internet. It also introduced NetShow player, which was eventually replaced by Windows Media Player. NetShow player was a media player which was to function either as a standalone program or function embedded in Internet Explorer or other webpages. Windows 98's taskbar was more customizable than the one in Windows 95. Multi-display support and power management was improved. The disk cleanup tool was introduced, which helped in removing unnecessary files from the system. The disk defragmenter helped in optimizing the performance of the system.