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volume 8 number 5 may 2003 TipSheet

Welcome to the May issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This month we'll start a series of tips on Windows XP.


When you decide to upgrade to Microsoft Windows XP or buy a new system, you'll need to decide which version is right for you, Home Edition or Professional. For the majority of consumers, the less expensive Home Edition is fine. Windows XP Pro, a superset of Windows XP Home, is the obvious choice for most businesses, but smaller organizations probably won't need its more granular access controls, security, and networking capabilities.

Some of Windows XP Professional's added features include:

Additionally, there is the new Windows XP 64-Bit Edition. The 64-Bit Edition is only for computers using the Intel Itanium or Itanium II, and it is functionally similar to Windows XP Pro.


If you're planning to upgrade, you needn't worry about a new OS coming out in the next few months. According to Microsoft, the company won't release its next operating system (code-named Longhorn) for at least another two years.

This year, however, Microsoft is releasing a few versions of Windows XP with slight alterations. These will be available only to computer makers on machines specially designed for these new versions.


When you're setting up your hard drive, Windows XP offers you a choice between two file systems: FAT32 and NTFS. On installation, Windows XP defaults to using NTFS. But in many cases either file system will work.

FAT32 is an enhanced version of the file allocation table (FAT) system that has been around since the early days of DOS. NTFS is the NT file system used in Windows NT, 2000, and XP.

NTFS has some major benefits, like I/O throttling and better driver management. (I/O throttling works when the system can't allocate memory. As its name implies, it throttles down I/O to process one page at a time, if necessary. This allows the system to continue at a slower pace until more resources are available.) These features provide enhanced reliability and stability. NTFS also supports large hard drives with up to 2 terabytes.

As a guide: Use FAT32 if your hard drive is smaller than 32GB, or if you want to install more than one operating system on your computer. Use NTFS if you have a hard drive that is larger than 32GB and you are going to run only one operating system.


More than a year has passed since Windows XP shipped, and Microsoft has posted a lot of bug fixes and security updates to its site. Service Pack 1 contains all of the updates released before SP1 shipped and is available for download from Microsoft's update site.

You can also buy an SP1 CD for $9.95. If you recently purchased a computer with Windows XP or bought a copy of the OS in a retail store, you may already have SP1.

Service Pack 1 doesn't add much in the way of features�a key reason for the update was to let PC manufacturers disable Microsoft applications such as Internet Explorer and Windows Messenger�but we do recommend installing it to make sure you have all the fixes

Copyright 2003, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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