Being in the computer industry for almost 20 years, I always have
mixed feelings about the release of a new operation system version.
I always anticipate the improvements including, hopefully
more stability, better support for hardware and improved performance
to name a couple key issues for me. There is however a downside of the cost per seat to upgrade,
lack of compatibility with older application (so I’ll have to but
new versions of everything), time it takes to upgrade (if the
upgrade version really installs correctly), and what older hardware,
computers and peripherals and computers just won’t run it.
I always try and work with a new version
of Windows well in advance of its release but I don’t have the
time for early Beta testing. I
usually wait for the second release candidate (RC2) (this is the
version that comes out with all the features and almost none of the
bugs just prior to the final frozen code).
This time I got involved in the evaluation program exactly at
the time that RC2 was released.
I figured I wouldn’t sacrifice a
machine that I depended on for my livelihood but I thought my laptop
would be a challenge for it. My
laptop is an older Toshiba Satellite 1555 CDS that I primarily use
at client sites to work on networks with.
The Windows 98se install on it had been giving me some
trouble for a couple weeks……so what could it hurt?
The week prior to getting RC2 I had attempted an install of
Windows 2000 Professional on the laptop but it had trouble with the
laptops video and recognizing several other hardware components.
So, I did what I never do, I opted to UPGRADE the existing installation of Windows that was on the laptop.
The installation went very smoothly, with fewer questions to
answer, and fewer reboots in the process.
At the end of the installation process, all of the programs
on the system that were compatible with Windows XP were just
absorbed (along with all of my settings) and worked right off the
bat. Those that were
incompatible were summarized in a report that also told me what
drivers would have to be updated.
After playing with the configuration for about an hour,
everything was working BETTER than it ever had.
The boot up process was faster, and the system ran about a
third faster. All PC
Cards (that’s really PCMCIA for the techies among you) I plugged
into the system had their drivers installed automatically on their
first insertion, even those that had been problematic in earlier
versions of Windows.
What I really like is the compatibility
settings. I tried to
install an older but important program I use daily, and it
wouldn’t install. I
right clicked on the SETUP file and went to Properties where under
the compatibility tab I told the program to run in Windows 98
Compatibility mode. It
installed perfectly, and is running flawlessly.
Several other older programs installed properly but required
me to change the OS Compatibility on the shortcut to run properly.
Finally, a major upgrade that seems not to have retired very
old programs. Compatibility
mode supports Windows 95, 98, Me, Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack5) and
Windows 2000. WHAT A COUNTRY! I
also like the fact that you can get rid of the annoying new Start
Menu with all those real cute new BIG and
BOLD icons and revert to the previous
I am writing this the day after the Windows XP
launch (October 26th) and I am planning to upgrade RC2
quickly to the real deal. In
the time I’ve been using Windows XP Professional, I haven’t
experienced any problems or crashes that I didn’t expect because I
was pushing my luck. Even
when I did that, I was able to revert to a time before I messed up
the system, and I was up and running again in no time.
There has been much discussion in recent month,
coming to a head in the week prior to release as to whether or not
Windows XP was worth the cost and trouble any major upgrade has to
produce. My take on this is a
RESOUNDING YES !
The only versions of Windows prior to this that really
excited me were 3.1 and Windows 95. This version of Windows just keeps on working no matter what
I do to it, intentionally of otherwise.
The cost for acquisition and migration to Windows XP will
easily be offset by its stability and the increased, and
uninterrupted productive time it will give you between problems.
If it can repair and improve an almost dead laptop install
the way it did for me, imagine what it will do when it’s installed
on a clean system.