Win95 reps rush to aid the Air Force in installation battle

Sonny Brown got the attention of software giant Microsoft Corp. when he complained
about the struggle he had installing Windows 95 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.


The base had to upgrade about 200 PCs and buy as many as 300 more to accommodate the
changeover to Win95 from MS-DOS and Windows for Workgroups.


Brown, a small-PC manager for the Air Force Reserve, said Win95 made his job “four
to five times more difficult and time-consuming.” He said he has had to focus on
Win95 support and will resist any move to Windows 98.


Within hours of his remarks to a GCN reporter, however, Brown said he received calls
from Microsoft’s Air Force account representative and a federal field engineer who
offered to fly to Colorado to help him fix things.


“He was extremely helpful,” Brown said. “I was really surprised that
they were quick to respond.” He attributed it in part to the Defense
Department’s buying power.


Brown said he has had difficulty troubleshooting the Win95 software, getting Windows NT
Server 4.0 to work with Win95 and managing the registry files.


When he upgraded the 200 PCs, he said, Intel Corp.’s Plug and Play did not work on
up to 40 of them. Brown said he suspected Win95 was at fault, because the PCs had come
from different manufacturers and because Plug and Play had failed for more than one kind
of peripheral.


Meanwhile, new systems bought directly from manufacturers and advertised as
network-ready out of the box turned out to be “worse than any we’ve had,”
Brown said.


“Any one setting from the software can cause a computer to lock up, which means it
needs a complete reformatting and reload,” he said.


Although Brown had made a half-dozen attempts to solve his problems through Microsoft
technical support, it took the call from the federal field engineer to clear things up, he
said. 

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