Skip Navigation Links  For Secure Customer Area Access,   Login
Skip Navigation Links
Previous Next
volume 6 number 10 october 2001 TipSheet

Welcome to the October issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.
This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.
This month we'll devote this space to a Preview of Windows XP.

Tip 392   WINDOWS XPECTIONS Category:   WindowsXP

Just when we were getting used to Windows Me and 2000, Microsoft wipes the slate clean with a version of the operating system that eclipses everything that's come before.

What's the big deal about Windows XP? Aside from the name change and a spiffed-up interface, it's probably the most important version of the operating system since Windows 95.

Under the hood, it isn't even the same Windows anymore. The old Windows 9x/Me kernel and OS structure, including DOS, is dead and gone. XP is 32-bit code from top to toe, using the same core technology as Windows NT and 2000. As a result, Windows 9x drivers won't work with your hardware, but XP supports the vast majority of existing hardware out of the box. And although DOS itself may be extinct, DOS applications will still run in emulation mode, including games that require sound.

XP comes in two flavors: Home and Professional. XP Home is a $99 upgrade ($199 for the full version) and Professional is a $199 upgrade ($299 for the full version). Recognizing that many homes now have more than one PC, Microsoft also plans to offer discounts of $8 to $12 off the price of additional upgrades for home users (the Open Licensing Program is still available for business or home users who need 5 or more copies). That's fortunate because you'll need the additional licenses since the Product Activation feature makes it all but impossible to install a single copy on more than one PC.

The changes in XP are so numerous that it is difficult to summarize them in one or two sentences. It looks completely different from previous versions; it offers far more features to address emerging applications such as digital photography, and digital audio and video; and it is designed to easily accommodate multiple users and networks. Perhaps the best news is that XP behaves more like Windows NT/2000 than previous consumer versions of Windows. In other words, it is noticeably faster and more reliable than Windows 98, 98 SE, or Me.

Both versions of XP share the same architecture, but Professional's features make it a better choice for managed corporate desktops. These include on-disk encryption, portable user accounts (managed through Active Directory), logon validation through domain controllers, and the ability to configure user permissions through administrative profiles.

After days of testing at ZDNet Labs using several different versions of Windows on identical desktop systems, we can summarize the performance of XP with this simple statement: If you've been using Windows 2000, the performance you'll get with XP is virtually identical; if you've been using Windows Me, 98 or 98 SE, or 95, your system is going to feel like it has a whole new lease on life.

If you're used to Windows 98, 98 SE, or Me, you'll find XP vastly more reliable. If you're accustomed to working in Windows NT or 2000, you'll see the same level of reliability as well as the inclusion of broad hardware and software support. If you come across a legacy application that isn't compatible with XP, the Compatibility Mode lets you emulate a Windows 95 or NT environment to run it, and you can associate the application with its compatibility mode to avoid future system problems.

Hardware requirements for both versions of Microsoft's Windows XP include:

SO what should YOU do? If you're in the market for a new system, by all means go with XP. If you're lucky enough to be running Windows 2000, stay put. If you're running Windows 95, consider a new system. Windows 9x and ME users tired of sacrificing a good deal of their machine's speed and power to an OS hobbled by 1995 technology should, at the very least, give serious consideration to Windows XP.

Copyright 2001, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

Previous Next