Windows XP Front Page

Welcome to Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web

Albion | Freeware | Freeware From A-Z | Security | Virus Information |
| Windows XP Tips I | Windows XP Tips II | Windows XP Tips IIIWindows XP Tips IV | Windows XP Tips V

Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Windows XP = EXpect Pain

A 64 bit upgrade to a 32-bit patch for a 16-bit GUI shell running on top of an 8-bit operating system written for a 4-bit processor by a 2-bit company who cannot stand 1 bit of competition (but it's still better than a Mac.....sorta)!

First Take: Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1
Microsoft's 100MB update to Windows XP hit beta this week, and we took a look at the early version. Among some major changes mandated by Uncle Sam, the service pack promises better security and some exciting developments, one of which involves getting rid of those little .Net Passport nag bubbles. Will the update please both you and the DOJ? Find out what to expect with this fall's final release.
Read the First Take 

XP released, but do you need it?
Microsoft officially launched Windows XP, the newest version of its operating system and what could be the company's most important product in more than six years. The long-anticipated operating system, which Microsoft said improves performance, reliability and ease of use, is available at retail as of Thursday.
October 25, 2001, 10:00 a.m. PT | Read Full Story

Am I being to hard on Microsoft's newest shrink wrapped wonder? Read on, then you be the judge.

Free Download of the Week
PowerToys for Windows XP
Get an image resizer, slide show wizard, UI tweaker, and more.
Do you like to play with toys? Microsoft has a re-release for Windows XP toys

XP = Xasperatingly Pitiful?

Windows XP overload: What's really in it for me?
As with the release of Office XP, there's been a lot of hubbub surrounding Windows XP's October release date. If you've read all the news and checked out the review, you know that there's been a lot of guesswork about whether or not XP is going to ship before Christmas.

Given that I'm the type of person that likes to get to the meat of the issue at hand, what I really want to know is: What's in it for me? I've read that Windows XP isn't anything like the old Windows 95 operating system, but I want to know why I should upgrade, whether it's compatible with my current system, and how to use the new features. If this is the type of information that intrigues you, keep reading to get to know more about Windows XP before it even hits the streets.


Wendy Dittamore
Senior Editor, ZDNet Help & How-To


Should I upgrade to Windows XP?
Before you check your bank account to see if you even have the money for Windows XP, it's important that you know precisely what's involved in upgrading to this new OS. Is Windows XP more stable than its predecessors? Consider stability and more before you decide to ditch your old OS.
Can I upgrade? Is it worth it?

Another consideration is whether or not Windows XP is compatible with your hardware. It would be awful if you purchased the new OS only to find out that you couldn't use it with your system. Find out if you've got what it takes to support XP.

Can you really compare Windows XP to previous versions of Windows? We put this question to Windows expert Greg Shultz and he let the operating systems duke it out for us. Find out which OS is still standing after this Windows XP vs. Windows 98 and Me fight club.

How to use the new features of Windows XP
Sometimes taking the trouble to learn how to use a whole new operating system negates the value of its asking price. With Windows XP, we've taken the mystery out of using its features. Where's the best place to begin? The Start menu, of course! Find out what's new and what's out in Windows XP's new Start menu.
Windows XP highlights

Can't keep track of your documents, pictures, and music? If organization isn't your strong suit, Windows XP's extensive file management features might be just what you need.

When it comes to searching your system for files, or even the Internet for information, it can be a bear to find what you're looking for. Fortunately, Windows XP's Search Companion has a ton of special features-you can widen, narrow, and even enhance your searches. Find what it is you're looking for, no matter where it may be hiding!

So, whether or not you decide to go for Windows XP in October, hopefully I've helped make your decision a little bit easier. A new OS is like a new romance. Even if you think your new heartthrob has all the things you're looking for, in the end, you just have to take a leap of faith.  

Exploring Windows XP's Start menu
Where's the best place to begin when investigating Windows XP? The Start menu, of course! Find out what's new and what's out in this next version of Windows.
In Help

Windows XP superguide
There's a lot to know about Windows XP, and, luckily, we know most of it. Get all the information we have on the latest Microsoft OS, from recent reviews to help columns, tips, and upgrade advice. Our Windows XP superguide is the best place for all things XP, so start sharing the experience. A C|Net tech compilation

 Will windows XP be worth the cost of upgrade?
Okay, you've read all of the hype on Windows XP. You've searched countless articles and you have only one question. What's in if for me? Well, we have put together several articles from around the web and I think that you will find them useful in answering your most secret XP questions. Like, "Does Bill Gates really need another bathroom in his mansion"? Ug...sorry, "Is the new OS going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread or is it going to become moldy and tainted as is Win Me"?

Windows Product Activation (WPA)
Windows Product Activation (WPA) for Windows XP WPA: threat or menace? Invasion of privacy or violation of personal freedoms? Maybe none of the above. We put WPA through its paces in both RC1 and RC2, and found some intriguing differences. If the RC2 version becomes production software, WPA may not be as onerous as you've heard--we were pleasantly surprised that it was more permissive than RC1. Then again, it may be a real irritant to hardware enthusiasts. This article describes the technology and tests various upgrade scenarios including disk, graphics, network, and motherboard swaps. UPDATED: Includes new input from Microsoft's WPA Technical Bulletin released August 6th, 2001. http://extreme.ziffdavis.com/cgi-bin10/flo?y=eJ420C6pKC0FBV0LNy0At

Discussion Boards
Windows Product Activation Join writer Jay Munro in discussing the ins and outs of WPA. http://extreme.ziffdavis.com/cgi-bin10/flo?y=eJ420C6pKC0FBV0LiA0AQ
Benefits and Drawbacks of Windows XP Discuss the pluses and minuses of Microsoft's upcoming OS. http://extreme.ziffdavis.com/cgi-bin10/flo?y=eJ420C6pKC0FBV0LiB0AR

Is your system Windows XP compatible?
Microsoft released Windows XP to manufacturing last week. What do you need in order to run this new release? Well, lets put it this way, it ain't your father's PC anymore. Got Windows 3.1 for workgroups? Your kidding right? Well, anyway, forget about an upgrade. Got Windows 95? No dice here either I am afraid. Got Windows 98? Viola, you can upgrade with no problem. Okay, there probably will be problems, but at least you won't have to pop for the full retail cost. From all indications, Win XP ain't going to come cheap no matter which version you choose. Oh yeah, there are two major versions. One for the home user the other for business or the home office user. Both are based on the more stable platform of Windows 2000. Of course, Windows XP should be more driver friendly then Windows 2000 is. Which version is right for you? Click here for the Microsoft answer.

Oh, you heard that Windows XP won't crash? You heard wrong. The architecture of Win XP is a big improvement over previous version to be sure. If you experience, say, 5 crashes a day, then most likely Windows XP will only crash about twice per week. An improvement for sure. But if you are thinking that Windows XP is crash proof, ah....ya really need to rethink that. I know all of the propeller heads can tell you all of the ins and outs of the reasoning behind why Win XP is not as crash prone as your old OS, but I don't think we should get into re-inventing the wheel should we? Thought not. If your machine is crashing five times a day, you may have other problems then your current OS.

Microsoft is going to tell you that a machine running a 300 MHz processor, no mater the brand, that you can run Win XP. Well ya, if you like waiting a half hour for the first screen to come up. I wouldn't run Win XP on anything less than a 400 MHZ or more. What about RAM? Well, again Microsoft suggests 128 and says Windows XP will run on a scant 64 MB of RAM. Okay, first clue, if you have 64 MB of RAM, now is the time to upgrade to at least 128 MB, and 256 MB of RAM would be even better. RAM is pretty cheap right now but once folks start upgrading for real, expect these prices to rise. Got about 1.6 GB of spare disk space? You are going to need at least that amount simply to set up Win XP. Windows XP is going to require that amount for the setup files not for the final OS. If you have an extra 2.5 GB then that should be enough to run Win XP and additional Apps which you may want to set up as well. Movie maker, Media player and all the rest of the fluff stuff. A simple rule of thumb could be, if you can run Windows Millennium, you should also be able to run Windows XP. Want the low down? Check out the Microsoft Website for what they have to say. Click here, I'll take you there, but hold on, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

I have been getting a few questions on the topics below....this should be easier than me trying to field 40 Win XP email questions...check em out.

How can I check for XP compatibility on my machine? Microsoft will be distributing, for free, a Windows XP "Upgrade Advisor" that will check your machine for compatibility issues before you spring for the OS. When this is available, it will appear on the XP Web site, as well as any other distribution method Microsoft can arrange. Just as soon as it is available I'll provide a link to it. Developers already have a test kit, but it is not widely available to the public as yet. You can view Microsoft's Hardware Compatability List in the meantime though.

Is Windows XP faster than the Windows I am now using? XP seems to be significantly faster than Windows 9x and insignificantly faster than Windows 2000 Professional. However, speed isn't really the thing here. It's compatability and the ability to get done what you do most, whatever that might be.

Is Windows XP less crash-prone than the Windows I am now using? Now this is the important part: If you are running Windows 9x, you'll find XP to be tremendously more stable than what you're used to. The operating system can be crashed, but it's not a regular occurrence. When apps crash, they do so without taking the OS or other apps down with them. This results in a much more stable (and safe) system than the Windows 9x system you are probably running today. Windows XP is not, however, significantly more stable than Windows 2000 Professional. This isn't surprising, since they share a common foundation architecture.

I hear Windows XP must be "activated." What's that? Activation is a form of copy protection, in which each copy of XP must be turned on by registering it with Microsoft. (You will have about 30 dyas from install to activate) The copy of Windows XP is then uniquely associated with a particular computer, thus preventing pirating of the operating system by using the same disk to upgrade multiple machines. This is highly controversial. The valid reason is that activation can break and require reactivation, which can be inconvenient.

Microsoft has responded to user concerns, it says, by making activation as seamless as possible. New hardware with XP pre-installed doesn't require activation and should never require reactivation, even if significant changes are made to the hardware configuration. I have not been able to get a good answer on the installation of a new hard drive and some have said that Win XP is incompatible with some archiving software such as Drive Copy and Drive Image to name a few. Even if Microsoft says that a new machine with a pre-install of the new OS is not going to need reactivation, I get a little concerned over the wording, and yes, I do have my doubts on that score.

Upgraders will have to activate their software when it is installed; typically, this is done automatically over the Internet or alternatively over the telephone. Microsoft says it's significantly raised the threshold of hardware changes required to force reactivation (which occurs if there are enough changes that XP thinks it's been copied to a new computer). I think Microsoft has been sensitized to this issue, and we'll see how it works out once customers start upgrading to XP en masse. More on Activation here

View a video from Microsoft concering Windows Product Activation (WPA) here

What will it Cost? If you do decide to upgrade, don't get fixated on whether to buy the Home Edition ($99 upgrade, $199 full) or Professional Edition ($199 upgrade, $299 full). Professional contains everything that Home has, but throws in some additional network security features that you'll probably never use at home, and perhaps not even in a small office. Will I be upgrading? Not for the short term, but expect Windows 98 to go the way of Windows 95 in a very short span of time. Eventually, I will of course upgrade, but I think I'll take a wait and see attitude for the time being.....having been stung by Windows Millennium, which I find more trouble then it is worth. At present, my Windows 98 SE OS is doing just fine and I even have it working so that crashes are almost unheard of.

How does XP stack up as an operating system for gamers? If you are happy with how your games perform under Windows 9x/Me, then don't immediately switch to XP. Microsoft itself says XP only rates "very good" on performance and compatibility compared to "great" for Windows 9x/Me. However, on reliability--fewer crashes--XP rates "great" compared to "poor" for the older Windows versions. XP will improve as drivers are tuned and the game companies start writing apps specifically for the new OS. In short: If your games aren't crashing (and you are otherwise happy with what you're running), don't change your setup until XP has matured a bit. Computability issues seem to deal more with USB, Multifunction devices, and some camera models at present. These should improve, however, once more driver specific applications are written.

Will my DOS apps run under Windows XP and, if so, how well? Q&A by Ziff Davis Publishing
Mark Croft: (Mark is a marketer from Microsoft) Several improvements to the DOS virtual machine were made in Windows XP to ensure broader compatibility with many popular DOS titles--specifically, new SoundBlaster 16 support and a number of quality fixes. We tested a number of popular DOS titles to ensure improved compatibility over Windows 2000 and NT4.

Will my Windows 98/Me games run under XP?
Croft: Probably. We tested over 1,200 top-selling consumer-oriented applications for Windows XP. Many of these were games. We will have a definitive list of applications we have tested available publicly by the end of September. In addition, the "Designed for Windows" logo will provide an at-a-glance validation for any applications or hardware in retail by the holidays and beyond. The application compatibility technology in Windows XP works for many apps beyond just those we tested internally, plus the compatibility modes offer another tactic for getting apps running if they don't work by default.

However, there will definitely be exceptions--some apps simply won't work. Usually this will be because the app is either very old and/or rare, or because it could cause stability issues. When push comes to shove, reliability takes precedence over compatibility in Windows XP.

If I have questions about drivers working properly, what should I do?
Croft: Microsoft is providing a tool--Upgrade Advisor (UA)--which users can run on their machines prior to installing Windows XP to determine how compatible their systems will be with Windows XP. This tool can be updated dynamically via a Web connection and provides an easy way to check a whole PC. The data on this is identical to the data used by Windows Setup during an upgrade.

Over and above UA, users should check any critical devices with the vendor; a minority of devices will have valid Windows 2000 drivers or an updated vendor driver that Microsoft does not yet know about. So even if a device shows as incompatible, it's worth checking directly with the vendor.

Do I need the home or professional edition? What's the difference?
Croft: Window XP Professional is designed for businesses of all sizes and power users who demand the most of their computing experience. Professional provides all the benefits of Windows XP Home Edition, plus added remote desktop, security customization, manageability, and multilingual features. The big item for any business with a domain or a need to manage PCs centrally is the whole management toolset--domain membership, group policies, roaming profiles, offline folders, etc. Also, WinXP Pro supports dual processors and a personal Web server.

Windows XP Home Edition is designed for home users and provides a rich computing experience together with the latest enhancements in digital media, a clean and simplified visual design, and help and supportability improvements, among other features.

I have Windows 2000 Pro. Why should I upgrade to XP? And why can't I upgrade to the home version?
Croft: Customers currently running Windows 2000 Professional should evaluate the specific scenarios where XP could improve their computing experience--for example, Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance. Windows XP should offer improved usability and better support tools, meaning better productivity, less futzing, and lower support costs. IT professionals may also value the improved wireless and wireless security features (based on 802.11x).

The upgrade path from Windows 2000 Professional to Windows XP Home Edition is not supported, because it would result in feature takeaways--for example, some of the advanced security and management options in Win2K Pro just do not upgrade to WinXP HE (specific examples are Encrypting File System, Domain Membership, and Offline Folders). In that sense, it would not be an upgrade. Also, the vast majority of Win2K Pro is deployed in businesses, and the default upgrade path for these customers should be WinXP Pro--ensuring that their current feature set is added to, not diminished.

And for Windows NT users?
Croft: NT4 is a very different upgrade proposition from Win2K Pro. Upgrading to WinXP Pro from NT4 should offer users four major benefits: better reliability, better compatibility, better performance, and improved manageability. Each of these items is significantly better in WinXP Pro--something that even conservative users should value.

Learn about Windows XP's built-in help center


More on Win XP Activation
A number of readers have asked about what has to happen before they have to "reactivate" their copy of Windows XP, which may involve a telephone call to Microsoft (open 24/7 in the United States).

Windows XP will look at 10 different system components, if they are present. As long as your network interface card isn't changed, at least six of the components must be changed before reactivation is required. Changing the same component repeatedly counts only as one change. Adding additional components doesn't count as a change.

The majority of new PCs will have activation linked solely to the BIOS, and as long as that remains the same, the entire rest of the PC could be changed without requiring activation.  Microsoft doesn't mention anything about what happens with a BIOS upgrade. At least, not that I have found.

The Company Line
Microsoft promises that no personally identifiable data is transmitted during activation. "The majority of Windows XP users will never experience activation," Microsoft says. However, all upgraders will, so we'll have to see if it works out as painlessly as Microsoft promises.

What? Still haven't gotten your fill of Windows XP? Okay, you can check out some of the articles which have been written on the subject from all over the web. I do understand though. Something as important as an Operating System shouldn't be done on a whim. Congratulations on being a wise computer operator, I salute you! To satisfy your longing desire for more knowledge, here is more on the subject.

10 Things to Know about Windows XP -
before you dig out your credit card

--Ben Patterson,
Senior editor,
CNET Tech Trends

Chomping at the bit to unleash Microsoft's latest OS onto your machine? If so, cool your jets: there are a few things you should know before you run out and snag a copy. For starters, will the system on your desk run XP at all? What's up with Smart Tags, and why should you care? What's the deal with product activation, anyway? Don't fret: we have answers for you. Read on for the 10 things you need to know about Windows XP before you break out your credit card.

What's the deal with Windows XP?
Microsoft's latest operating system is nothing if not controversial. From product activation to software compatibility, Smart Tags to raw socket support, the thunderbolts of news just keep coming. We pulled out the top 10 issues and compiled this comprehensive, need-to-know guide to Windows XP.

Microsoft's application compatibility tests

Microsoft plans to post its Upgrade Advisor compatibility tool on the Windows XP Web site; it will let you check your present system and software for incompatible devices or applications. The tool should check your hardware as well, and, unlike the old Windows 2000 compatibility program, this one dynamically updates itself over the Internet each time you start it up on a Net-connected machine (so that if, for instance, Microsoft adds driver support, the checker will know). So far, Microsoft hasn't posted a list of troublesome applications or notes about specific software.

Meet XP's minimum requirements

Windows XP:
233MHz CPU (300MHz or higher recommended)
64MB of RAM
1.5GB of free disk space
Super-VGA (800x600 resolution) video adapter and monitor
CD-ROM or DVD drive
Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Obviously, more is better; exceeding these recommendations will only improve your system's performance. Your CPU's speed and the amount of RAM you have is usually shown on the screen when you turn on your PC. Based on our experience, your disk drive should support Ultra-ATA66 or ATA100 IDE and have a fast average seek time of 10 milliseconds or less with 256-512KB of on-drive cache buffering.

Your video card should be a PCI version with 4MB or more of video RAM; AGP is even better. Your CD-ROM drive should be a late-model ATAPI device providing 8X, 12X or 16X performance. Your sound card should also be a late-model, name-brand PCI version.

The specifications for your CD-ROM or hard drive are usually printed on the label on the drive itself. The drives included with most systems built since 1999 should meet these specs just fine. You can look up the specs for your devices by their model numbers on the equipment manufacturer's Web site. Don't know the make or model of the hard drive, CD-ROM drive, or video or sound card you have? You can look these up through Start > Settings > Control Panel > System; select the Device Manager tab, then double-click the devices in the list.

Older I/O cards that use the ISA I/O slots (usually the longer black connectors on your system board) will perform slower than cards that use PCI (typically white connectors) or AGP (typically green connectors) I/O slots on your system board, and could make it harder for Plug and Play and Windows to configure your system. System boards with built-in video and sound features already use the PCI bus, so they're as fast as they are going to get.

Like Windows Millennium Edition, NT, and 2000, XP does not load DOS or real-mode drivers and programs before Windows start-up. If XP recognizes your hardware, it will try to use its own new drivers, but if you have a very old (say pre-1995 or 1996) CD-ROM drive or an ISA-bus sound card that required drivers to be loaded in your C:\config.sys and C:\autoexec.bat files, XP may not support those devices. For performance reasons, you probably want newer hardware anyway.

Hint: We've found that, in many cases, if your hardware or peripherals lack XP driver support, you can download and install Windows 2000 drivers for the devices, and they will work just fine, although you may get a pop-up message from XP telling you that the drivers you are installing are unsigned (not registered with Microsoft) and therefore not proven to work. Fortunately, you can use XP's System Restore feature to keep track of things before and after you try them and back out if you need to.

Additional hardware requirements
Now that you have the baseline requirements, here are a few items you'll need to fully take advantage of Windows XP.

Windows XP:
For using the Internet in general and Microsoft's .Net Internet-based services and features (including Passport credentials, e-mail, Microsoft Messenger, voice and videoconferencing, Remote Assistance, Remote Desktop, and application sharing): 28.8Kbps modem for dial-up or cable, DSL, or wireless Internet connection through an ISP; Microsoft Passport account
For voice and videoconferencing over the Internet, both parties also need: Videoconferencing camera; microphone and sound card with speakers or headset
For Remote Assistance: Windows XP on the helper's PC and a connection between the two (local network or Internet)
For sound: Sound card and speakers or headphones
For DVD video playback: DVD drive and DVD decoder card or DVD decoder software; 8MB of video RAM
For Windows Movie Maker: Video-capture feature requires appropriate digital or analog video-capture device and 400MHz or higher processor for digital video camera capture

Check with hardware companies
Windows XP should recognize and run on any hardware that supports Windows 98 or Me (again, excepting any device that requires a DOS-level driver). This includes your PC's motherboard, BIOS, and chipsets. Since XP is based on Windows 2000, most, if not all, Windows 2000 hardware drivers should work with XP.

If in doubt, or if a Windows 2000 driver doesn't work, check your system's and device manufacturers' Web sites or Microsoft's list for information about compatibility. Microsoft's XP Web pages also list dozens of XP-ready PCs, and the company will soon publish a downloadable copy of Upgrade Advisor, a tool that tests system and software compatibility. The Windows XP CD also contains several vendor-specific text and HTML files in the i386compdata folder that indicate precautions and exceptions for many vendors' devices that may or may not work under XP. Be prepared for some disappointment: it's up to manufacturers to decide whether they can or want to create new drivers for their older products. Some manufacturers did not update their drivers for older (1994-1999) hardware to work with Me or 2000; they may not create new drivers for XP, either. This could apply to products just a year or two old, leaving your relatively new toys to become doorstops or flea-market stock.

Windows XP Upgrade Advisor

Windows upgrade advisor is finally here and none to soo either. What is upgrade advisor? This is a tool, from Microsoft, which will tell you if your machine is Windows XP compatable. Want it? Here is where to get it:

More Info. on WXPUA or WUA here
Check for Upgrade Eligibility
"Upgrading from Previous Versions of Windows" tells you if your version of Windows can be upgraded to Windows XP.

Download the Upgrade Advisor
If your version is eligible for upgrade, download the Upgrade Advisor. You can choose to save the file to your hard disk and run it locally, or open it directly from the Web.


Active X component Adviser to see if your machine is XP compatible

Here is a website which will check your machine for Windows XP computability using the Windows Active X component. It is allot easier then downloading megabytes of software to do the job...quick easy and painless and you will know for sure if your PC can handle the new upgrade. Click the link below to go there:

http://www.pcpitstop.com/xpready/

Depending on your Internet connection it may take a little while to download and install components to run the test...be patient

When I ran the test on my own machine I was told that I am not Windows XP compatible and it also showed in what areas I needed to upgrade.

  1. I have enough Disk space (1 - 20 GB and 1-8GB hard drives, but I have placed several virtual drives and narrowed the C:\> or boot drive to only 2 GB. With software present and Windows 98 SE installed on this partition I only have 987 MB available Free . there fore this will mean I have to re-partition and reformat my drive in order to make it XP compatible. Do I want to go to all that trouble? Not at this time I don't..
  2. The test showed that my video card won't support the 800 X 600 pixel resolution. In truth my card will support it but my monitor (A really old Packard Bell) won't.
  3. Some of my software also flunked the computability test. Mostly Norton Anti-virus and Norton Utilities. This of course isn't really a problem as I rarely use them anyway.
  4. The test showed that I do not have enough memory to run XP. In truth I do (128 MB of SRAM). I'll need to do a little more rummaging around to see why the test showed I didn't have enough memory. Everything else passed the test.

Buying XP? Better wait a minute:

My advice? Don't order Windows XP until they done all the digging for you. Regardless of the scare tactics from some retailers, there'll be plenty of Windows XP boxes available - just a wildly varying prices and updates, patches and all of the usual stuff.

Best advise? Don't rush out willnilly and try to grab the first box off the shelf. There is a system to these things and they usually aren't addressed in the first shrink-wrapped box.


Will you be upgrading bo?

This is invariably the question I am asked most often when it comes to Microsoft upgrades. I have never held to the Microsoft theory that new is always better. Lets face it, if the general user kept updating every time Microsoft came out with a newer, shinier, shrink-wrapped whatever, we would all be in the poor house. I am perfectly content with Microsoft Office 97/98 thank you. It does everything that I want it to do and after beta testing Office XP (By the way, has Bill Gates spent a fortune on this XP thing and wants to get his money's worth out of it or what?) I have concluded that Microsoft Office 97/98 has it all over XP as far as reliability, and longevity are concerned. If I need to work with an XP file I'll use Star Office 6.0 (Now being beta tested) or my Star Office 5.2 thank you very much. And guess what? Star Office by Sun Microsystems is a free office suite and is gaining in popularity everyday. But I digress.

I am not opposed to people getting rich, after all, I'd love to be able to get lost in a one-hundred room mansion myself. I am just opposed to helping someone else get there before me.

I have always held to the theory that if it works, don't fix it. Besides...after several episodes of hair pulling, (thought I was going bald by natural causes didn't you) I have finally gotten my windows 98 SE system so that it hardly ever crashes at all. At this point in time I see no pressing reason to upgrade. Besides, according to everything I have read and talked about with other IT professionals, my computer needs a few minor upgrades in hard ware....another good reason to hold off on an upgrade.

It never ceases to amaze me how gullible Microsoft thinks we are. Microsoft Windows Millennium will run faster than Windows 98. Well uh duh! Windows 98 runs just fine on 32 MB of RAM, SIMS at that. Win Me requires at least 64 MB and 128 MB is even better. Windows XP runs faster and better than Windows 9x. Again, well duh! Win XP requires processor power of at least 350 MHz while Win 9x is happy with a Pentium 100. Also Win XP requires a monitor capable of at least a 600 X 800 Pixel resolution range. Win 9x is happy with 640 X 480. Win 9x is happy with, depending on rather you have Win Me or win 98, 64 MB of RAM. Win XP requires at least 128 MB and 256 MB is advised and the list goes on.

Windows 98 is capable of being a very stable platform. After a ton of tweaks and faithful updates I have proven that it can be made into a very usable and user friendly operating system..

So you can see, the hype really doesn't justify the upgrade cost. Win XP had better run faster, and better than the old Win 9x kernel after all, it needs a power machine just to run at all. This friends, is Bloatware with a capital B. For the cost of an upgrade Win XP should do my dishes as well!

Eventually, of course, I'll have to break down and buy the upgrades needed to run this sucker. What I do here at Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web will demand it. I am not going to upgrade by shear desire however. They are going to have to drag me, kicking and screaming, to the computer store. This much I promise you.

Not going to pop for the new OS imediatly? Then try this freeware:

Windows XP Theme makes your PC's desktop look just like the XP desktop. No one but you will know the difference. (Free/Win95-98-NT)
Download Now
About 2.4 Megabytes


The Hidden Cost of Upgrading To Win XP

Planning on upgrading from say, Win Me or Win 98? Have you considered the hidden cost for an upgrade?

If you are upgrading from say Win2K or Net the differences are that noticeable. If you upgrade from any of the Win 9x kernels then there may be a huge surprise awaiting you. Many have complained that after upgrading they were forced to buy upgrades of software and hardware to the supported brand under XP. McAfee's virus scan may work great under Win 9x but with XP expect about a $30 upgrade to a Win XP compatible version. Some scanners will not work under XP. Expect a $150 upgrade for this one.

Microsoft hasn't been hiding this fact, nor has it been trumpeting it, of course. XP is the result of cross-breeding two operating system philosophies: the solid, reliable 'corporate' NT/2k approach with the ultra-usable, ultra-compatible, legacy-friendly 9x/Me approach. The result is, however, not a balance between the two. Instead, it is much, much more Win2k with a smarter, prettier face than it is Win 9x/Me with a solid core. Think of it as 85% Win2k and 15% Win 9x/Me and you have about the right balance.

Because of that balance, while the hardware and software support in XP is much better than that in Win2k, it's nowhere near as good as Win 98's or Win Me's.

What things might give you a problem?

What's going to come apart at the seams? All sorts of things. You can count on many system utilities (including some virus scanners) not making the upgrade. Norton SystemWorks and other programs which work deep down in the operating system will certainly need upgrading because of their very nature.

CD burning software, too, needs to be watched for, because XP's built-in CD burning capabilities can cause problems. Roxio, for example, - finally - has released its updated version of Easy CD Creator 5 (make sure you read the instructions before upgrading) so you'll now be able to get full use of your CD burner with ECDC. Amazing that a company which provided the CD burning technology built into XP took so long to provide an upgrade.

You're likely to have all sorts of problems with USB equipment, too, unless it has specific XP drivers. For example - a hub of, SmartCard readers, scanners and digital cameras - not a single piece worked directly with XP. You manage to get the scanner and digital camera going using workarounds, but you'll still be waiting for updated drivers for any of this stuff.

Either Microsoft needs to support the process of writing updated drivers more actively, or the hardware makers need to pull their fingers out. Both, really. It's not as if Microsoft has taken the hardware makers by surprise with the release of XP.

In the meantime, before you upgrade, especially if you're coming from the 9x/Me world or if you have a piece of can't-live-without hardware or software, check out the Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List and, if you can handle a 30MB download, run the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor or use the Windows XP Tester above from PcWorld which is quite intuitive and much easier than downloading 30 MB of files over a 56K line modem. Neither of these resources is a perfect guide to compatibility, but they're a useful starting points. Also worth a visit is NT Compatible. Despite the name, this site provides info about Win2k and XP compatibility as well as NT. It's a good place to hear how others are faring with their XP upgrades.

And one final note: Acer has come out with a crop of XP drivers for its imaging equipment.


Windows XP tips from About.com

Power and Fluff management in Win XP

XP Your Way - Visit the About.com /Forum for what's hot - topically speaking of course

Picture this!

Power Toys and more

Want more tips from About.com? Click here F

Entertainment Government

Other Stories

Technology About Email Me

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein (1875-1955)

I do not allow organizations to use my name or to contact me to make solicitations other than as permitted in my Junkbusters Declaration.

Version Dec 7 Copyright 2001 Larry Blaisdell