Upgrading to Windows XP

 

Well after playing around with Windows XP for more then a month, I like the new look. Yet, I still prefer the classic style, which is available in XP. XP's new look is a clean Desktop, Start Menu, and window design. I struggled trying to get use to it, I looked all over the place for the things I use often, like the Control Panel. Although it is right there, it is not in the same place as the classic mode.

Windows XP is built on the NT platform of Windows. Actually XP is more like a Windows 2000 lite version. The NTFS file system is available. No more DOS, so if you get locked out of Windows you cannot move files around if you install it with the NTFS file system.

XP is much more hardware friendly than ME is. It is less friendly than ME when it comes to software. Windows XP does not run all my software. The key here is that if the software does not work on Windows 2000 it won't work with XP.

XP offers the IIS (Web Server) with a limited number of Connections, as in NT Work Station. A Plus for XP if you want to host a small Web Site on your machine. You'll need Windows 2003 to have a real web server.

The NTFS file system offers you greater security than does the FAT32 file system. In either case you cannot backup the Registry files, just like Windows 2000 and NT; unless you have a tool like Winsafe. However is does have a system restore feature built in, as does Windows Millennium; but you must be able to get into Windows first.  Microsoft did away with the file checker in Windows ME, and still has not replaced it in XP. So here comes System Sentry to the rescue. System Sentry and WinSafe will be real life savers for the home user of XP. NT Perfect Companion will also be released for November.

However, the big draw back to Windows XP is that anyone, and I mean anyone, with a little knowledge has the ability to get into your computer whenever you are connected to the Internet. Windows 2000 has the same draw back but not as severe as Windows XP. This is primarily due to the Windows Messenger service, which allows anyone to send you an instant message when you are connected to the Internet. I do not like this at all, and Microsoft has not fixed all the loop holes yet. In fact they have not fixed them in Windows 2000 either. And XP turns it back on if you delete the run Key.

The Messenger service uses the Microsoft Passport to send messages. This means that when you are connected to the Internet, Microsoft knows it. I wonder what other information they are sending back to their servers. Is this an invasion of privacy or what? I bet that Windows XP sends MS information about my machine every time I am connected to the Internet. Stuff like what software I just installed. This is done by the Operating System. As it seems to send lots of packets once I am signed on to my ISP.

In fact, after you install Windows XP, you must register with Microsoft within 14 days or Windows XP will no longer work. What you need to do is go to the MS site and fill in a form. Windows XP creates a long set of numbers which tells MS what hardware is on your computer and so on. Then MS gives you a number to type in if you call. This process is automatic when you register the software on line. This means that if you have more the one computer and you want to run Windows XP on more then one machine you must purchase more then one license from Microsoft. This is what you where always suppose to do, but who does?

The biggest hassle of them all, is if you format you will need to reactivate XP. If you change your hardware configuration with more than 4 of the ten pieces Microsoft is inspecting within a 120 day period, you need to contact Microsoft to reactivate XP. XP resets the hardware configuration to zero every 120 days. So you can change the hard drive and RAM in the 120 day period and then change 4 additional items the next 120 day period without reactivating. I have not tested this, but this is what MS says.

I tested XP on a 450 AMD K6 III, Windows XP seems more stable then Windows 98 or Millennium, however it is noticeable slower then 98 or Millennium.   So if you want fast you will need at least an 800 MHz CPU. It runs great on an Athon XP 2800. The memory usage seems to be OK so far. I have had XP crash and reboot itself just by opening a program, or even the Windows Help after letting the machine idle for about 10 minutes. It appears to take about 1 minute for Windows to fully load after I logon, with the 450 AMD.

My thoughts

In my opinion, upgrading to XP offers a more stable system (as Windows 2000 does) and if installed using NTFS instead of FAT32, it helps eliminate the possibility of a corrupted FAT . If you don't have a firewall, XP includes a limited firewall, almost worthless. However, XP offers less security while on the Internet than 98 and ME even with the firewall installed. XP is a much larger operating system then 98 and ME, thereby slowing down your computer. Having the System Restore feature running as in ME, causes the system to be even slower. I would recommend not upgrading unless your using at least an 800 MHz CPU unless your willing to sacrifice some speed.

If you need the stability the $100 may be worth the investment. If your current OS does the job now, the $100 investment may not be worth it. If you have Windows 95 on a computer built in 1998/99 you may want to upgrade to 98 or ME. If your computer is more than a couple years old you will not want to upgrade to ME, 2000, or XP; go with 98 or 98 SE. These newer OSs are much larger and require hotter CPUs. A Celeron, Cyrus, and AMD KII are not hot CPUs. A 500 AMD KII is much slower than a 400 AMD KIII or even 400 Pentium. If you have a newer CPU like the Thunderbird, Athelon, PIII or PIIII, the newer OS will work for you.

Email from this Article

I downloaded a version of XP pro and have generally been ok with it. As you note the damm thing shuts down at randomůsometimes it will shut down without touching it. I fried a cheap HD in July when I first tried XP. I run PIII @ 500mhz with 512 pc100 sdram. I have win ME on other partition. When each are a clean install the xp boots faster. But over all reliability, the hat tips to ME.

MS has rushed this one to market and will iron out kinks (sorry Ray Davies) as time passes. Look for SR 1,2,3 etc. You know the drill.

Somebody should put a billion dollars into Linux and take over the world with a really stable, simple OS that will run anybodies software.

Anyway, thanks for letting me rant and keep up the great work. You're RegRepair and Qikfix have saved me hours of grief.

Chuck
BTW, a shutdown utility for xp pro would be cool

 

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