* Prices may differ from that shown
So what have we had recently, Windows Vista, 7? Due to me being a student I can't afford either, so I went with Windows XP; even now after having many opportunities to change OS's I have stuck with windows XP. Now I'm not one of those people that finds one thing and sticks with it forever, before XP I was using the windows 7 beta; it was good but it felt to much like "I'm pretty". After about a year of using XP now, not just as a standard user but for both gaming and heavy duty video editing; I can very safely say that I will be staying with this OS until they cut support. Simply because it has been so well built up these last years, that now the OS does not break any more; long gone are the days when it would just crash now programs just become unresponsive while the OS happily chugs along. For someone that is dependant of their PC for both work and play, this is incredibly useful, I don't have to worry about loosing anything if one thing crashes because I know the system will keep going; until blue screen that is. It may be quite difficult to find a 64 bit version now, this is not a problem for me since I use 2GB of Ram however if you have more then you will need to use a 64bit OS. Gamers this system will sail through the latest titles! Even though the only limit is direct X 9 this is not a problem really, since Direct X 10 only enhances special visual effects; adding nothing to game-play itself. If your a user of Steam, you will probably play games using the source engine; source doesn't even use Direct X 10 yet! If you want an OS that works well with almost every piece of available software then I would highly recommend this, even if 32 bit. However if your somewhat new to the world of computing Windows 7 may be better for you as it is more user friendly. Media centre users will also want to give this a miss as it cannot play blu ray.
They say ?if it aint broke don?t try to fix it?, It is this comment which replays over and over in my head whenever I install a new operating system sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for a dreaded error message. Surprisingly I wasn?t greeted with any error messages during or after installation and the setup process was very user friendly. The process took approximately 75 minutes running at 666 MHZ. Before actually installing Windows XP on your computer you are given the choice to scan your hard disk drive for any programs which may be incompatible with your new operating system. Thankfully most of my programs were functional with the exception of Norton Anti Virus and Nero Burning Rom. I downloaded alternative CD burning software from the net within minutes but I was left with a gaping wound on my computer liable to virus infection due to the incompatibility of Norton Anti Virus. Nevertheless I found a suitable anti virus program for Windows XP within a couple of days and my computer was safe. The moment of truth came when I restarted my machine to run Windows XP for the first time. Microsoft claim that this operating system runs 30% quicker than previous version of Windows. Although I would disagree to this, it most certainly loaded somewhat faster than my old operating system Upon start up atmospheric music filled my speakers and I was prompted with an attractive log-in screen with minimum hard disk ?churning?. After setting up my password I was presented with a colourful scenic desktop with attractive looking icons, a snazzy taskbar and new chunky windows. As this style won?t suit all tastes, you have the option to switch back to the ?Windows Classic? theme where your desktop can be made to look like previous versions of Windows. Some say the Windows XP theme makes the operating system look like a child?s toy but if you venture deeper you will find that Windows XP is anything but. To make things even more customizable, users are able t o skin ANYTHING - Start Menu, Windows - You name it - you can change it! This comes in very handy when you?re tired of seeing the same old things when you turn on your computer each day. One thing which really ticked me off about Windows 98 was the need to reset my machine whenever a program crashed. Thankfully Windows XP allows each program to run independently to avoid system crashes. If an application fails to work correctly, the three finger salute (ctrl - alt -del) allows the user to shut down the program without disturbing any other programs. One main feature of Windows XP is the automatic download of system updates. Whenever the system finds out of date files, they are updated automatically in the background whilst you are doing other tasks. This process takes up valuable bandwidth on computers with slow internet connections but the update usually only lasts for a couple of minutes. The new files may be installed at anytime, and you are reminded by a flashing icon on the taskbar. Upon experimentation I discovered that Windows Media had been re-vamped into an attractive customizable interface. Instead of the boring grey box users can choose from various skins to spice up their desktop. To make your computer more personal you may add your own picture to be shown alongside your name on the log-in screen and start menu. More media file types are now supported and codecs (compression - decompression) are downloaded automatically! Viewing pictures has never been easier. Users are now able to view thumb nailed image files in a window before opening them saving valuable time and effort. Pictures can be compiled in ?Windows Movie Maker? to produce slide shows of your images. Unzipping files has been a tedious task for users who download files frequently. Gone are the days of dos based unzipping programs as Windows Xp allows you to view zipped files directly on your desktop. As before Windows XP includes a nice sele ction of desktop wallpaper from picturesque landscapes to detailed ?mood? scenes. Previous versions of Windows would slow down in speed whenever wallpaper was present, but Windows XP manages to run smoothly without any slowdown even with the most detailed of pictures. In-experienced users will be pleased to hear of the ?remote assistance? feature. In the unlikely event you encounter a problem with Win XP and you can?t fix it yourself, you are able to allow other experienced users access to your desktop and files via the internet to solve the problem. Now that?s a feature! Windows XP features 11 games to pass your time away including a pinball game and classics such as Solitaire and Reversi which can both be played online via Microsoft Gaming Zone. Many have said that this operating system is very un-reliable, but I beg to disagree. I?ve been running Windows XP for about 3 weeks now and so far I?ve only had problems with 2 programs (mentioned earlier) and 1 game (Grand Theft Auto 2). Older software may be patched to work correctly with Windows XP and these files are widely available on the Internet. Users of Windows 98 and previous versions will find Windows XP a change for the better, but it isn?t really much of an improvement over Windows 2000 or ME. System requirements are 300mhz processor with a minimum of 128mb ram (recommended) although 256mb will make your system run more smoothly. 1.5Gb of Hard Disk space. Windows XP Professional retailes at around £230 for the full version and £160 for an upgrade. Windows XP Home Edition costs £160 for the full version and £80 for an upgrade. The difference between the two is very small. The professional version is more network orientated and offers more features for business use. Owners of Windows 98 and higher may upgrade, but previous versions of Windows must be replaced with the full version. Overall Windows XP Professional is a bright, colourful operating system with some great added features. It is very stable and reliable and it incorporate excellent user support. I would highly recommend upgrading if you own Windows 98 or any other previous version. I?m still exploring the potential of Windows XP and I seem to find new features every day!
I'd consider myself a fine connoisseur of Windows OS's. I started off using DOS and Windows 3.1. Since then I've tried them all. Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows NT, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and finally... Windows XP. I have all of them, and out of all of them I currently choose to us Windows XP. Now don't get me wrong it does have it flaws, but never the less is it a good operating system. Stability: Indeed Windows XP is fairly stable, not quite as much as Windows 2000 (I've only ever managed to crash that once), but still not bad. For most people who just want to play a few games and go online it is more that suitable. The problem is I'm a perfectionist. I'm only happy when my OS is running as well as I can get it to. This means updating drivers, and unfortunately, as far as I know, this isn't the easiest task with XP. I was surprised that when I installed XP it detected all my hardware successfully straight away. But for the best performance you really should look to upgrade the drivers yourself, preferably looking for drivers digitally signed otherwise XP throws a fit at you :) Appearance: XP is well.... 5 years old. My little sister thinks it looks brilliant. I admit I'm quite fond of the bubbly exciting new look Windows have given it. It does however wear off after a while I promise you. Then you'll be gagging to set the appearance back to the standard Windows theme. Security: At home the security is great. Unlike the other OS's Windows have made that use the 9x platform, you cannot log on by simply clicking on the 'Cancel' button. You can set up individual areas, fully customise them and best of all, restrict exactly what the user can and cannot do :) Very useful when you have a small one wanting to use it for who knows what. I'm not too sure on the security of the system over the Internet though. Dial-up connections can be protected with XP& #39;s built in firewall protection, but I still personally prefer to whip out my copy of Norton Internet Security and couple it with Norton Anti-virus, better safe than sorry. So overall it's a nice little operating system. If you're a die hard gamer then you're probably best off with Windows 98SE because it's the fastest OS Windows have made. It runs games faster than Windows 2000 though. On the other hand if you want security and power features I?d go for Windows 2000. I personally find XP a good blend of all of them.
Windows XP Many years ago, when PC operating systems where still in their text only domain, there came along an operating system which made us all sit up, take notice and say WOW!. That Operating system was Windows 95. Now since Windows 95 came along there have been lots of newer versions of Windows 95 but they have never been radically different in look, feel or buggy-ness. That is until Microsoft's latest incarnation of Windows fell on to the market. So, called Windows XP (XP box is raised to the heavens and angels cry Windows XP) Alright so, what is this XP, what does it do? where does it do it and most importantly does it work. After playing with XP now for a suitable period of time and having messed with all the new toys that come with it and tried to break them, I have to say that Microsoft have produced a Peach this time, and not the usual moldy, smelly, lemon. Why do I say this? Well my previous complaint about earlier versions of Windows was that you had to install them to see if they would work. With XP, it actually performs a compatibility check of your system before you install it. Reporting any devices or programs (if you're upgrading a previous version) which might not work, might require new drivers or might have a problem with. For me this reported 2 devices which wouldn't work and 5 programs which would not work (I upgraded from Win 2000 Pro). The devices which wouldn't work, where my Kodak DC210 and my Astra Umax Scanner. These where very device driver problems and just required a simple uninstall and then reinstalling. The software problems where again very minor, and only required uninstalling and reinstalling. However as I have PC Anywhere 9 installed I don't get the fancy login screen anymore. :( So after you?ve installed it what's it like? Well, the interface is much the same as previous versions of Windows only the desig n has changed, for the better in my opinion, now everything is bright and blue with nice round edges and shaded boxes. You can however return the look back to the same as previous versions of Windows, but everybody I know has kept the new interface as it's much more pleasing to the eye. It will take you time to get used to where certain icons are, as they have been moved around, but after a while it does make the use of the machine easier than before. However if you upgrade from a previous version of Windows it will keep your start menu and desktop settings. (Very useful indeed). If you're going to do a vanilla install then I might suggest that you spend a little extra money or time on a good book or on viewing the tutorials that come with XP. I am not going to go into specifics about what's been put where and how to do this and that, (although I'm sure somebody will whinge about not doing!), But I will say that I have never been so excited (I know it's sad!) about an operating system than I am about XP. Installing is a doddle, although on slower machines it does take time. From a usability point it takes some time to get used to (took me about 4 days, so Mr Average about a week to 10 days), your programs will behave better and if XP does crash it won't require a full reboot. I have had my work machine switched on and running XP for over 3 months and the number of reboots must be under 10. If something does crash then the application will usually terminate itself or pressing Control, Alt and Delete together will bring up the Task Manager so you can kill the application. I know you?re all asking "What's the benefit for me?" Well, I can only see a few advantages for the home user as this is the Professional version, but it is however very similar to the home version. (I bought the Professional version over the home version as in my experience Pro software is usually mo re polished and bug free than home versions, albeit more expensive). The security is much better on then on Win 95 or 98, there is support for multi users logins, Plug and Play support is much better. For the professional the network support is brilliant and to set an XP machine up on a network takes seconds and doesn't require a reboot. The advantages for the home user are mainly cosmetic. Its easier to learn as everything is big and bold, it has vastly greater security than previous versions of Windows, plus it has multiple user functionality (ideal if you have kids and want to keep your data and there data separate). It also looks and works miles better than Win 95/98. There have been a number of security problems already relating to XP but these have been fixed very fast by Microsoft and as with previous versions you can go to Windows update to get the latest fixes and patches for nothing. So for me XP gets the big thumbs up, its nice to look at, doesn't crash as much as previous versions of windows, is easier to use and I love it. :) If you want to get a copy it requires a 300 MHz + processor, 128Mbytes Ram, 1.5 Gig Hard drive space, SVGA 800 x 600 or higher Video Card and everything else is additional. Cost is £240 give or take a few pence and the home version is price at £160, near as damn it. The upgrades are £160 for the Pro and £80 for the Home. I do have two major gripes about XP however and thats if one fo your programs does crash it always, always asks if you wish to report this fault to Microsoft. I wish there was a way to switch it off. The other gripe is you have to activate it. I can understand the reason Microsoft have done it but it makes you wonder what information is being sent to Microsoft. If you're fed up of having those blue screens on Windows 95/98/ME then have a look at XP. In my humble opinion it makes the older versions of Windows look and feel old and tired and completely out of date. If you're buying a new machine make sure it has XP on it as you won't regret it. If you're thinking of upgrading then look no further than XP, it will give your PC that new lease of life it's been begging.
The long awaited Windows XP finally came, but was it really worth the excitement? Well, Windows XP now looks totally different to any other Windows and it also doesn't even seem like you are using 'Windows'. At least anyway all Windows programs run much better on XP and it contains many extra and useful features, such as stuff to do more with digital video and audio work, and also the ability to make multiple networking much easier. There are so many changes made to Windows that its quite hard to state all of them, I would have to go through a very long list! One feature that I did like was the driver protection which blocks other drivers which are causing stability problems with the computer. These are usually thrid-party drivers. The reliability of XP is basically the same as Windows 2000 from my opinion, but it is a lot better than Windows ME. Another feature that I liked in Windows XP is the compatibility mode which checks to see if a program is compatible with Windows XP. Its a very clever utility as it also keeps your computer away from future problems. Windows XP also features the Sytem Restore utility which was first built into Windows ME, and has now come onto XP. This is a tool which can keep your computer up and running if anything nasty goes wrong with it, and along with this utility comes many more of similar utilities. But some bad things that I heard from Microsoft is that they plan to release downloads to make Windows XP Bluetooth wireless networking and USB 2.0 compatible. Its a shame that this was not already introduced with Windows XP when it went on sale, but as long as you can download the patches, then that should be alright. Its the same thing with two other programs, Windows Media Player 8 and Internet Explorer 6. For Windows Media Player 8, it still does not have the capability of encoding MP3's which is a shame, but yet again! there is the capability of downloading a patch to allow MP3 encoding. And as for I nternet Explorer 6, it does not include Java Virtual Machine......which yes you guessed, it has to be downloaded!!! Microsoft seem to rely a lot on users downloading patches and extras. I mean say if someone did not have the internet or had a really slow connection, what would they do then! They would just have to cope without the additional downloads. When booting up the the computer with XP installed, it may or may not have a Welcome Screen depending on how the computer is configured, but it looks fantastic and made in Flash gives it an excellent look. Its worth having it on. Another thing when you boot your computer is that the desktop features no icons, not even the My Computer icon. I have to say that this did ennoy me because I found it hard to add the icons back onto my desktop, but I eventually got to do it. The Start button has changed into a big green one. You can change the whole look of Windows XP by making it into 'Classic' view. This changes the entire look of Windows XP to the Windows 2000 look. This is excellent as it is exactly like swopping between two operating systems whenever you want. When you first put the Windows XP CD in your drive, it presents you with a choice of three options. Install Windows XP, Perform additional tasks, or Check system compatibility. Once you boot XP, there is a limit of 30 days in which you have to activate XP either through the internet or through telephone. The activation is a way to block piracy. The serial is a huge 50 digit one. Once you have successfully activated XP you can't make more than five major changes to the hardware configuration without reactivating. The clock for the activation is reset every 120 days and you can make the extra hardware configurations. Whenever you reformat the hard drive or replace it, then you will always have to reactivate XP. To install XP you need to have a computer with at least 300 MHZ clock speed, 128MB of RAM and 1.5GB of hard drive space. The only thing I can say is that if you are already running Windows 2000, then there is no need to upgrade to XP. However if you're using any other operating system, then upgrade NOW! :) because it will make your computer feel like its had a makeover!
Packed with multimedia features, Windows XP Home Edition aims to unlock the full potential of your personal computer. It also looks great, with rounded window corners, larger and more detailed icons, and a clean-look desktop. The best thing about Windows XP is that, because it belongs to the Windows NT/2000 product family, it's designed from the ground up for reliability, security, and networking. XP Home users will soon see the benefits of this. The dreaded Windows crash-and-reboot cycle really is much less common with XP, and, provided the hardware is up to scratch, XP's performance is better, too. The downside is that using a different code base can make compatibility with old applications less assured. Business applications normally run fine, but older games, MIDI software, and system utilities may well cause problems. Windows XP is more customizable than previous versions, including its visual themes that let you change the whole appearance of Windows in an instant. Fast User Switching is a neat feature for computers used by more than one person--it lets another user log on without killing the previous user's session, and when you switch back, running applications and open documents are as you left them. This is impressive, but what really counts is that XP understands how to deal with multiple users. Each user has their own special folders, such as My Documents, which cannot be seen by other users. And for those with more than one computer, the network setup wizard simplifies setting up a network. Windows XP Home has many strong multimedia features. New Media Player lets you copy music from CD to hard disk, create your own playlist, and write your own music CDs if you have a CD writer. You can also play back DVD-Video (but only if a hardware or software DVD decoder is already installed) and play MP3 audio files and MPEG videos (but sadly not the popular RealMedia formats). Admittedly, Media Player does nothing that you cannot also do with free alternatives, but it is slick and nicely integrated. There is also Windows Movie Maker, a basic tool for capturing and editing videos that's fun to use, although too limited for serious work. For Web browsing, XP Home comes with Internet Explorer 6.0 and MSN Explorer. The most significant new feature for Internet users is the built-in firewall. A firewall protects against one of the most disturbing security risks, in which other users unknown to you might connect to your computer while it is online, reading private files or causing other damage. XP's built-in firewall is a simple affair, but it does prevent most types of unauthorized connections. The XP user interface is not a radical departure from earlier versions of Windows, but there are a number of small changes that together add up to a significant improvement. For example, you can add and remove shortcuts from the Start menu by right-clicking on the icon and selecting Pin or Unpin from the pop-up menu. Windows online help is integrated into a Help and Support Center that works like an internal Web site, with searchable help, tutorials, and walkthroughs. Laptop or other flat-screen users can set Windows to use ClearType for screen fonts, for a more readable display. There are, of course, some pitfalls. Windows XP Home is demanding on hardware, and it would be a mistake to install it on less than Microsoft's recommended minimum. Business users note: unlike Windows 98 or Me, XP Home Edition cannot join a Windows server domain, so the networking is peer-to-peer only--see Windows XP Professional Edition Upgrade for this functionality. There is also no multiprocessor support, and a mildly annoying anti-piracy measure requires you to obtain a code from Microsoft for full installation and any future system changes. But don't let that put you off: this is Microsoft's best Windows yet.
Windows eXPerience (WXP) as an operating system (OS) comes with two versions. The first one is WXP Home Edition and another one is WXP Professional Edition. I have ever installed and used the WXP Professional Edition, and here is my review on the product. *** Minimum System Requirement Here are some specific specifications of your hardware should be noticed. Processor : Pentium 300 Mhz Display Adapter : VGA with 800 x 600 Screen Resolution Harddisk : 2 GB RAM : 128 MB CD ROM : Required As an additional note from me, I have tried to install the WXP on a Pentium 233 MMX with 64 MB of RAM. It can run, but not as well as expected. *** Installation Process I tried to install the OS in two ways, and here is the result. Installation via Windows 98 : It runs well. Installation via CD ROM : It runs well. Actually, there is no difference between the both ways of installation process. The result of the installation process is the same. Some people say that it is difficult to install the OS. It is right! It happens when this OS is checking the hardware plugged on the PC. It seems that not all drivers of the hardware are recognized by this OS. By the way, it takes about 60 minutes to finish the installation process. *** The Performance The display with the soft blue color nominated the screen as the default display is nice. At the first glance, from the booting process starts till shuts down, we must say ?What a wonderful OS it is!? Concerning to the speed of the OS, I would say this OS is the best in the Windows family, but certainly this assumption is made based on the thought that the OS is supported by ?appropriate? hardware. The stability is the priority problem to us. Sometimes we find ?illegal function? message and other messages that sometimes are not understood by us. So far I am using th e OS for about 1 month, I have never found the messages in the ?blue screen? which must be very annoying or disturbing. How about the menus in the taskbar? Personally, I see it is a great improvement of Windows in making changes in the new OS. At the first glance, I am sure, everyone must be confused as it is changed at all. But, don?t worry as users can change the display of the taskbar into the ordinary taskbar like we see in other Windows OS. And the most important one, the OS seems to be compatible to most programs (software) which can run well under the previous windows OS. Besides, I am sure, most professional software developers have anticipated for the development of Windows day by day. Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) comes with this OS. Using this browser, I think this OS become more stable and faster for us to do some browsing processes. This feature should be considered! Entertainment is okay! It includes some games which can be played in stand alone mode, and some can be played in online mode. How amusing it is! Need help? This is the most outstanding thing to figure out here. This OS supports its users to get help online. Supposing someone find an error message, then the OS can direct you to send the error message via email! It seems that Windows is serious in servicing his customer. Certainly, not all users can get this service, only registered users can get it. It is fair! Well, I realise that there are many things I cannot expose here about this new OS for many reasons. However, I hope this some information can be a general illustration for you. *** Suggestion from me I have been using several Windows operating systems, such as Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 Professional Edition, Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows eXPerience in various personal computers in the office where I am working now, I see that Windows XP is a very suitable operating system for personal use or workstation; it is my conclusion on the Windows Family. Based on my experience in installing and using Windows XP, I would like to recommend this product for others. But before making your decision to upgrade your OS, the most important thing to do, is to consider the condition of your hardware. It is better for you to visit the official site www.windows.com to find out the latest information on the product to see whether it is compatible to the current personal computer of yours or not at all. Get you new experience with Windows eXPerience!
Before you begin, I'd let to explain, that until recently, I really *hated* (for lack of a stronger word) Microsoft products. They're always crashing, they're slow, and always giving the Blue Screen Of Death. The only decent MS ap was IE, and that was just because Netscape Navigator was so bad with it's HTML (Note: Version 6.2 using The Gecko is much better!). Anyway, since getting XP Pro, my vision has much changed. MS done good! Here goes... I couldn't believe it when I started seeing ads on tv and around town for a Microsoft OS. The ads were great, but could Microsoft come up with a stable operating system and prove all their critics wrong? Probably not, I thought. I've always hated previous versions, being so unstable, and only used it for the sake of compatibility. Anyway, I bought a new laptop which came with XP. I didn't think much of it, it'd just be like 2000 with a different startup screen. How wrong I was! They've moved things around to make it a little more logical, added friendly interfaces to absolutely everything and the main attraction... STABILITY!! Being more like 2000 than 9x, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del brings up the task manager listing all tasks, and also all system processes/services, giving you the option to kill them one at a time. When an app dies, you don't need to worry about rebooting your machine, XP really does deal with the program directly and kics it out of memory!! They've also added some smart extras, such as the taskbar. It shuffles around keeping related windows together, and when faced with lots of windows, rather than scrunch them all up, it groups them. If you had 12 IE windows open, it'd group them into one (with a 12 in front), which, when clicked, would bring up a little sub-menu of all the 12 windows. Being built on NT, I thought XP may be more focused on networking, but I was surpised to see it was as much 9x as NT. There's not really an emphasis on using a networ, other than the default to have profiles and a logon screen. XP introduces "Simple File Sharing" for those wanting to share folders and files without having to worry about permissions and policies like NT/2k required. Simple File Sharing acts just like the file sharing in 9x, allowing you to share a file/folder with all users accross the network. For those that prefer more options (I know I do!) and want to set permissions on shared folders, simply turn off Simple File Sharing (Tools -> Folder Options -> Advanced), and you'll be given back you Security tab, which allows you to allow access (Full, Read, Write, Add etc.) for different users and groups to your folders. This comes in handy, say if you ran an intranet, and wanted to allow people to access your pages via their browserss, but not edit the pages. You'd give the web server access to the folder, but not the actual users. The Windows Update is another feature that's been vastly improved. This can be scheduled to run automatically, or you can just point your browser at windowsupdate.microsoft.com (Note: This works in older versions of Windows), and it'll list all the updates available, allowing you to choose which bits you want to download. This by no means compensates for anti-virus software, but will make sure your email clients aren't vulnerable!! The whole "My Computer" look has been improved upon. The left-hand pane (familiar to those who used the previous "View As Web-Page" facility) is now more friendly, and offers various options, depending on the content of the window, and the file(s)/folder(s) selected. Selecting some music files will give you the option of playing them, burning them to a cd, or buying music online, whereas selecting images gives you the options of viewing them, or emailing them to friends. If you choose to email them to a friend, you'll be given wizards to allow you to conver t, resize and crop the images, allowing you to optimise and reduce the filesize for sending. Partition management is a fairly new feature to Windows. Like NT and 2000, Windows XP not only reads both FAT and NTFS drives, but allows you to format both types, resize them, and even swap drive letters around... without even needing to reboot! Converting from FAT to NTFS (NTFS supports file/folder permissions) is simple, run the "covert" command, as documented in the (for once helpful) help system, and you're away. Previously, to convert the Windows partition, you may have found yourself booting from a floppy, and converting it through dos... Not any more! XP explains that the Windows partition can't be converted while windows is running, and offers to schedule it for the next time it starts up! Rebooting the machine then allows you to watch while the task is completed! Tada! Oh, and of course, the default Windows sounds have been changed! - Much better!! I can't wait to see what comes next from the software giants.
My machine, a Dell 8100 with a 1.7Ghz Pentium 4 processor, 40Gb Ultra DMA 100 hard drive and 1Gb of RAM already had Windows 2000 installed as well as Red Hat Linux 7.1. One of them had to go for the purposes of this test, and unfortunately it was Linux (as Windows is used heavily by my fiancé, so I couldn't get rid of that). So, I insserted the CD and waited to see what - if anything - would happen. The installation resembles a cross between Windows 98 and Windows 2000. When Windows XP gets to the "main" installer having copied the installation files to hard drive during the text-based portion of the installer before partioning, etc., it very much resembles the Windows 98 installer. You get a lot of Microsoft spiel on the right hand side of the screen and the installation progress on the left hand side. On my Pentium 4 machine, it took approximately 20 minutes to install (although it claimed the whole installation would take 39 minutes). Overall, the installation of Windows XP over Windows 2000 is very much quicker and requires minimal input from the user. It's very good at working out what it needs by itself. After installation, I was happy to see that XP detected every bit of hardware that I've got - even the Jessop's USB Sony Memory Stick reader. Heck, it even managed to work out that my CD-ROM drive was a CD-ROM/DVD and CD-REwriter combo drive and thus made it available to Windows XP's built in CD burning facility. More on that later. I've got a Speedtouch USB ADSL modem and installing the drivers from the CD enabled me to get XP on the Internet just fine. The only problem I've experienced was that after long periods of inactivity, the Speedtouch would just refuse to work. A reboot of the machine cured the problem. However, since upgrading the Speetouch drivers to 1.3.4 from Alcatel's web site this has resolved the problem completely. By default, the interface to Windows XP is very different to what I've been used to with Windows 2000. You don't have a My Computer on the desktop straight away. Everything has been tucked under a newly improved Start menu. It's all confusing at first as Microsoft appear to have crammed the entire desktop into the Start Menu. However, I soon got used to this eccentric method, but I did switch it off and go back to the older style of Start menu which I am much more acustomed to. The great thing about XP is it's ability to "skin" the interface. You can skin the taskbar, the desktop, the Start menu, the title bars, 3D objects and the list goes on. I do use the Windows XP style for dialog boxes and title bars, etc, but I found that the 25 point title bar was far too large for me to handle. I simply reduced down to 20 and I've got a cool looking Windows interface now that combines the best of the older Windows 2000 interface with XP's new colourful icons and title bars. As for performance, I've certainly not noticed any slow downs. In fact, Windows XP boots much faster than Windows 2000 and Windows 98 and this means that you get to your desktop much quicker than ever before. With the support of DirectX 8.1, games run very smoothly under XP and have not encountered any compatibility problems as yet with anything that I've got. Another big change for Windows users is the use of Windows Product Activation. In order to stop casual copying of Microsoft software, they've implemented a mechanism which means that after 14 days of use, you MUST activate Windows either through the Internet or by calling a 24 hour operations centre to ensure that you can continue to use Windows. This is a bit of pain if you're trying to install the software into two partitions as once you've activated it on one partition/machine, you can't activate on another without calling the operations centre and explaining to them what you're doing. This is the case if you ever need to re-install Windows on your system again. Like it or loathe it - it's here to stay. Other interesting items to note is the inclusion of Windows Media Player 8 which claims to play DVDs. Unfortunately I've not been able to get this to work at all - the system keeps complaining Back to CD burning. XP now includes native support to burn files to a CD-ROM through the Windows Explorer interface. Although I have not tried this as yet, I am pleased to see that the operating system now includes native support for CD writers. However, for those with Roxio's Easy CD Creator 5.0 Platinum, XP will NOT work with this software unless you upgrade to 5.02 of Easy CD creator. DirectCD with this package will refuse to work completely. It's been rumoured that Roxio will release a full XP compatible version of Easy CD Creator 5.1 Platium for a small upgrade fee after XP is released. Other new additions include new ethernet security protocols, although this is enabled by default and confused Windows XP when it tried to connect to my laptop through the network. Disabling the security on the ethernet card resolved this problem. There is also a built-in firewall which can be used on ethernet connections or through dial-up connections (ditto for ADSL connections). This is actually a pretty good firewall and it's done a grand job so far of protecting the machine if looking at the firewall log has anything to go by. Another new feature is Remote Assistance whereby you can have a college look at a problem on your machine remotely (aka PC Anywhere) and fix it. Again, this is not something I've tried, but as I've now received two copies of XP RC1, I may give this a go with my laptop. Internet Explorer 6 is the default web browser, but also includes MSN Explorer for those that have Microsoft Passport accounts or MSN accounts. Both work incredibly well. For beta code, this is an incredibly stable and zippy operating system. The user interface changes will require some getting used to as there are some very different layouts within the system that could confuse people initially. However, once everybody gets over the interface change, there is plenty of new features to explore and home users who have been using Windows 98 up until now when find a whole new world of stability and performance from XP. Is it worth upgrading to XP if you're a Windows 2000 user? I'd say yes. As well as the quicker start-up time, you'll get more device support than before (my Netgear FA311 isn't supported natively under Win2k), a better more customisable interface, and better overall performance. You can be sure that when the final release comes out that I'm forking out for the upgrade ;) Normally I wouldn't do this for some time, but if the RC1 stability continues to be excellent for the next few months, I'll take the plunge.
Windows XP Okay, if you can?t be bothered to read my opinion, just click very useful and go buy a copy. But if you are clever, listen to me and I?ll explain some more about my favourite OS, Windows XP. Intro Microsoft Windows XP is basically the latest operation system by Bill Gates and his friends at Microsoft. Big wow I hear you scream. Well the big difference is that it integrates the 9x and NT series of Windows into one. Well kind of, as there is home and professional. I have used both home and pro, I can comment on both :). In case you haven?t guessed, Home is for home users, and Pro is for Business/Power users. The main difference?s are that home has less features than pro. Pro has all the features of home, but home doesn?t have all the features of pro. Simple. Some of the features that home lacks is dual monitor support and dual processor support (multi-threading I think it?s called in jargon language). Anyway I?ll review the features in more detail? Why MS made it Microsoft made XP, apart from to make huge amounts of money is to combine two product lines into one. Why would they want to do that? Well they can market them simultaneously, and don?t need to have two separate customer care things. Stuff like that basically. XP is quite simply, the best windows ever. Read on my friends? Good Points Stable Windows XP is unbelievably stable. I can?t make it crash. I used to be able to make the system completely lock out by scrolling really fast in Internet Explorer. Now I can?t. If you are used to having to constantly restart due to system lock-ups, I recommend you upgrade now. Why is Windows XP so stable? Because it?s based on Windows 2000, which is the expensive business version and Windows 2000 has a completely different kernel (core software) to Windows 95, 98 and ME, even though they look the same and do nearly the same things. Fast Windows XP is much faster than crappy old 9x. I have probably saved in a week about 10 hours of working time, thanks to not crashing. If you only have 128mb of ram, think about going up to 384mb, as it can swap around a bit if you don?t have 256mb+. Games also run faster due to DirectX 8.1a. Nice features If you are new to the world of computing, you?ll love some of the new toys that come with it. Internet checkers and backgammon are provided, which will get you hooked on online gaming in an instant. The new MSN Explorer is also good, if not biased towards MSN services. The new Movie Maker is great and if you have a few home movies, you?ll have them edited like a pro in an instant. Windows Media Player 8 is version 7 done properly. Forget all the crap with it being memory hungry. It?s been streamlined and now contains a DVD player which is as good as, if not better, than the commercial players. CD-Ripping into windows media file format is handled well and will have you building a collection of music up in no time. It also contains CD-Burning software and a way to manage your files on portable music players. Sweet. File Compression is at last handled, so you can throw away WinZip for uncompressing. You?ll still need it for compressing files, though. The new Windows Task Manager is very nice, which shows how much of you memory, CPU and various other details are being used by your programs. This replaces the old cntrl-alt-delete thing. The help and support centre is MUCH better, and actually helps, instead of just confusing you more. It pulls various hints and tips off the Microsoft website, which is nice. If that doesn?t help your problems, and you have a techie friend with XP, he can dial into your computer and fix your problem remotely, thanks to Remote Assistance, which gets rid of the need for PCAnywhere. Are you sick of your kids messing up your desktop, deleting system files, etc? Well not anymore. The new login looks lovely, and also stops people that you don?t want to messing up your system. Only one person can do that, the ?Admin? as XP calls it? Bad Not Free It would be better if it was free. Or at least cheaper. At nearly £300 for the full pro edition, it?s a bit steep. The full home edition is only £100 cheaper. Which is too much in my opinion. Poor driver support. Poor might be a bit harsh, but it is a bit on the weak side. My modem and printer weren?t supported, so I had to go and download new ones. If you can?t find XP ones, just download Windows 2000 ones. They usually (99%) work. Make sure you run the system compatibility wizard from the CD to make sure nothing will break down that you desperately need. And don?t install just before you need to do that memo, as you might never get it done :(. Conclusion Windows XP is great. I recommend you buy it. Everything has been redone, and your PC can do loads of cool stuff that would next-to-impossible/expensive with Windows XP. Now to wait until Edition 2004 comes out?
<< WHY >> Before I start in on the main part of this review I will give you a little background. I have been working in IT for 17 years now, I started out using CPM & DOS based machines, played with GEM then Windows 286,3,95,98,SE,NT4,ME,2000. I currently run the my company's R&D function ensuring that new hardware and software are compatible with our existing systems and follow company policies. I first encountered XP at beta level and have been following its progress ever since, I have refrained from commenting on the product until it was in the real world. << THE OS >> OK, enough of banging my own drum. You clicked on this opinion to find out about XP, not learn about me. Microsoft has launched their new baby into the world with much fanfare, also a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Much has been made of the 'anti-piracy' features that require you to activate the software by contacting Microsoft, not to mention the 'feature' that requires you to reactivate if you make too many hardware changes within a given period (120 days). An improved family login facility enables you to set up isolated logins for all the family and you will not be able to see each others data, unless you want to allow it - this works best if you format the hard disk for NTFS. Once logged in, the first thing you will notice is the new interface and colour scheme, green and blue instead of blue and white. Don't worry you can switch back to the 'Classic' interface. A new start menu which will customise it's self by showing only those applications you use most often, other options are still available, click on the down arrow at the bottom of the menu. Those of you that use Windows 2000 and Office XP will be familiar with this. Other features of note include full video editing and recording, a powerful yet easy to use set of utilities that enable you to create you r own video from raw footage download from a digital Cam via USB1 or FireWire. Remote Desktop control, useful for support departments and talented friends. They made much of this at the launch on 25th October. However all they have really done is combine the functionality of Instant Messaging with Netmeeting and rebundled in a pretty interface. Another 'support' function is a system rollback, which will return the PC to a usable state if you perform something like a bad software install. IE6 has been included in the package along with media player 7. A very useful personal firewall helps to protect against hackers. A number of 'features' are conspicuous by there absence: Java is not supported, I wonder why? However you can download the JVM from the SUN site and I am sure some nice computer mag will include it on their cover disk. IE does not support a number of addins including Realplayer and Macromedia. USB2 is also unsupported, OpenGL appears to be currently unavailable on video adapters. << Hardware >> So what do you need to run XP? A minimum specification of a Pentium 300Mhz with 64MB RAM, 128MB preferred and 4Gb HDD. Having performed a number of tests on various hardware I would recommend a Pentium III 500Mhz with 128MB RAM (256MB preferred), 10Gb HDD, 12Speed CD-ROM, 15" CRT (17" preferred) CRT or 15" Panel as the minimum. 'WINTEL' obviously want you to go out and by the latest Pentium 4 - at least that is what they kept banging on at the launch on the SouthBank in London. Check the Hardware compatibility list on the MS website to see if your hardware will be suitable. Manufacturer websites should also be checked and downloading the latest 2000/xp drivers is always useful. I have found using a Manufacturer's driver solves more problems than the MS version. << Software >> Although there is a new 'compatibility' feature within XP, there have been a numbe r of compatibility issues reported, general advice is to check the manufacturer websites and download what you need. The main products to worry about are your Office suite (Wordprocessor, spreadsheet etc.) Antivirus, games. I have seen that as of this date (09 Nov 2001) MS-Works 2001 is not compatible with XP. << The Upgrade >> Good preparation is the key to a successful upgrade: - 1. Backup your current environment, at very least ensure you backup your data and have your original installation disks (CDs) available in case all goes pear shaped. I use Symantec GHOST to take an Image of the disk/partition I am about to upgrade; restoring the PC to a previous OS is a lot faster. Using an Disk imaging utility such as GHOST gives to the option of performing a clean install of XP, yes XP is more expensive using this route, however I have had more reliable upgrades using this method. 2. Ensure you have checked through the Hardware and Software compatibility lists. 3. Download all the required upgrades; copy to floppy or burn to a CD before you kick off the upgrade. Err on the side of caution. 4. Read the Manual, I know this is usually last resort, but do it anyway - that includes you techies out there. 5. Check the newsgroups and support sites for known issues and solutions. Once you have done all this and checked it at least twice, go for it. <<< CONCLUSION >>> Windows XP is an excellent Operating System that brings together home and business under what is essentially the same environment. I would have preferred that the Home and Professional editions had been combined at a lower cost. Before deciding on upgrading to this product, do a little research and answer a few basic questions: - 1. Is my basic PC hardware suitable? Read above 2. Is my applications compatible, check on the websites? - Office suite - AntiVirus Software 3. Is all my peripherals compatible, check the Hardware Compatibility Lists and manufacturer websites? 4. What benefits would I get from upgrading now? 5. Am I comfortable upgrading? If you cannot answer 'Yes' to these questions, I would recommend that you don't bother. Save your pennies and buy a new PC with XP preinstalled and save yourself the hassle. If you are running Windows 95, a new machine is called for. Windows NT4 you may need a new PC check the minimum spec and HCL. Windows 98, again you may need a new PC, check the minimum spec and HCL. Windows ME, your hardware is probably OK. If you think you would benefit from XPs advanced features, or you want a more stable environment go for it, otherwise wait until you upgrade your hardware. Windows 2000, again - your hardware is probably OK. If you think you would benefit from XPs advanced features, go for it; otherwise wait until you upgrade your hardware. << THE COSTS >> All prices are in GBP (£) incl VAT, delivery extra. XP Home Upgrade 85 from 98 & ME only XP Pro Upgrade 160 XP Home New Install 165 XP Pro New Install 240 XP Plus Pack 30 extra games and utilities 128MB PC133 RAM from 15.00 256Mb PC133 RAM from 20.00 10Gb IDE HDD New PC System Approx 500 P900 Celeron, 128Mb RAM, 20Gb HDD,15" CRT XP Home etc. New PC System Approx 900 1.7GHz Pentium 4, 256Mb RAM, 40GB HDD, 17"CRT, XP Pro etc << What did I do? >> Well, did I? Didn't I? Will I or Won't I? You are probably asking these questions, so I shall tell you the answers: - At work, after much discussion, We will be continuing our 2000 roll out and review XP or its successor in 12-18 months time At home, although my hardware/software suite are Ok,I am perfectly happy with Windows 2000pro and don't require XP. In the future I may upgrade my hardware and buy XP as part of the deal. Linux is being looked at as an alternative and certainly StarOffice to replace MS-Office97. << An Ending >> To those of you who have read all of this Opinion, congratulations and well done! I hope you find my ramblings useful in some way.
The question many people will be asking is whether or not to invest in the rather high price. Whenever Microsoft launches a new piece of software it says 'this has to be the biggest thing since err... Windows 95,' and yes they said it for the launch of Windows XP on October 25th. **THE COST** The standard upgrade costs £89.99 (And you need to have windows 98,2000, ME or NT already installed on your PC.) And you'll need to buy the full version for a whopping £179.99 If you have any operating system prior to Windows 95. The professional upgrade version will set you back £169.99, while the standard professional version will make a massive dent in your pocket at £259.99. Microsoft is running a promotion, buy before 31st Jan 20002 and get £50 cash back. But the only thing is you have to purchase the standard professional version for £259.99 to be eligible. **WHY GET IT?** So do these extortionate prices justify what you will get? I've been lucky enough to have a play on my brothers 'XP' PC and from what I've seen it?s a definite NO! NO! He upgraded from Win 98 and experienced many hardware and software problems. Installation took around 55 minutes after which became apparent that his Primax scanner, FujiFilm Digital camera, Hitachi DVD ROM, Norton Antivirus, and Norton Cleansweep were all incompatible and will not work on 'XP'. This is because the manufacturers do not intend to release software updates for these items. Even I've contacted these companies but they told me they cannot offer any further help. This is not the only hassle you are likely to face if you choose to upgrade. Most likely the stuff that is compatible with 'XP' will need updating from the Internet. Microsoft provides basic drivers for certain peripherals. But if you want to do more than the basic you'll need to spend a few hours downlo ading the relevant drivers and updates. **WHAT'S NEW** The first difference you'll notice (if you do decide to go for it) is that the start menu has changed. The start button has gone green, with the menu increasing in size to hold more items. The colour scheme has also changed, and if you're not a big fan of the colour blue, forget it. One of the best features included is the system restore function that allows you to roll the clock back on your PC if you have encountered problems, e.g. Software installation gone horribly wrong. There are also a few extra games but many of which require Internet connections for play. You also have a function called Remote Assistance where you can ask a friend (someone who also must also have XP) to fix a problem on your PC from the comfort of your friend computer. Windows media player is also new and cannot be downloaded from the net. It includes new skins and visualisations. Internet explorer has also had a revamp. Firstly it looks different but more importantly it has a firewall built in, new security measures and a cookie manager. Another plus point for this operating system is that it is more stable and less likely to crash. This is because if a programme stops responding, instead of restarting your computer you can just shut down the offending piece of software. A nice touch on 'XP' is that every member of the family can have their own login details. This allows each member to customise their desktop, save their files etc. and not having to annoy dad. Unlike the previous operating systems whereby even if you did not know the password you could log in. this is different you won't be able to get in. I think that the disadvantages sadly outweigh the plus points. Microsoft could perhaps done a bit more work to make sure more things were compatible with its new OS. So the moral before you take the 'XP' plung e is to contact the manufacturer of your PC, any hardware and software on your computer to see if meet the requirements, whether or not there are updates and if you will be OK to upgrade.
Windows XP the new incarnation of windows from Microsoft is an amalgam of Me and 2000 and it hums. I have been using XP for a week and you all want to know if you should upgrade. The answer is yes and no. The good: It is faster, more stable and has a simpler user interface. It is basically an reworked NT system and has the added benefit of allowing plug and play making adding hardware a breeze. XP professional also allows easy networking. The photo handling and viewing features are fantastic, and the new look media player is a doddle to get around. Programs load faster and for me the two features I really love are the fast restart and the event log to chase errors. But for most it's most endearing feature is its stability, no more freezes and no more Blue Screens. If a programme fails it simply shyts that programme down. It also has got rid of 98's worst feature the GDI resource limitations - now you can run as many programmes as you want. The Bad: Forget trying to load it on a Pentium 2. You need a 350+ processor and more than 64 Mb of RAM to make it worthwhile. So that may mean a new computer. The main drawback though is the need to get new drivers for most applications. Microsoft were not quite truthful in their build up stating that 2000 drivers would work. They don't, not for everything. Most hardware manufacturers play ball and are providing XP drivers but the unscrupulous are making you buy a new product. The problems I had: Two things would not update their drivers, my modem ( hence awhy my Dooyoo life has been quiet recently - apologies) and my scanner. The only modem I found that would load was a Zoom V92 PCI modem model 3025, and the only scanner was a Visioneer 4800 USB. Total cost above the software £100. The other big problem was Adaptecs CD rewriting and copying software. They are not providing patches but encouraging me to buy their latest versions at $89. Norton too are doing the same, like I say unscrupulous. ( AVG's free virus scanner and Zonelabs free firewall work perfectly well though! although Xp has it's own firewall, but I suspect this will be easily hacked.) Once again Microsoft seem to have released a system with too little Beta testin too, I have had XP a week and had to download 5MB updates to address known issues. The verdict: Well for those of you getting a new computer it is a definate must as this is the way forward, the same OS for all systems at home or at the office. For those of you with a relatively new system and with few peripherals yes yes yes it is the way forward. For those of you with an older system and with lot's of well loved applications that are more than a year old stay as you are. As mentioned minimum requirements are 300 Mhz processor1.5 Gb free space and 64MB RAM, but I would suggest you really need another generation of spec above this.