Windows XP Home & Professional
Originally posted on July
Updated on April 9th, 2002
Just Another New OS...
[Added after a few months
of getting my feet wet with XP]
At first, I really liked XP home & Pro. Well, let me rephrase
that. I do like Windows XP. I use it myself on my mission critical
PC and my wife's PC. She uses the Home Version and I the Pro.
When XP came out, it had everything. Even that new car smell.
But then after you drive it for a while, and talk to the service
department (MS tech support) you start to think about trading
First I would like to know why
Billy wants EVERYONE to activate? This Activation thing is driving
me crazy. Not because I pirate software, not in the least, but
because it really puts a cramp in my day to day operations. When
you buy XP and install it, make sure you write down the installation
number that is printed on the orange sticker on the inside of
the foldout packet. Get a Sharpie or permanent marker and write
it right on the installation CD. Why Billy doesn't print it on
the CD for your convenience is beyond me. I guess they're betting
that you'll lose the number or mixup your CDs and just say the
heck with it and buy another copy.
I have to track dozens of CDs
now for my clients. I have to track who's got what CD on what
computer and make sure the number matches for future upgrades.
Its a pisser. It really pisses me off.
And another thing... Billy removes
major functionality from XP that WAS IN Windows 98, ME or 2000.
What you may ask? How about the ability to log into a server?
That's been removed from XP home, the replacement for Windows
98/ME. You can still connect to a server resource through the
Map Drive command thou.
Playing DVDs is out too. Unless
you want to fork over another $20 dollars for a addin program
for Windows Media Player to let you watch DVDs. Microsoft has
printed right on the back of the XP box "Play your favorite
DVD's!". That cant be done without the extra purchase kids.
MP3 ripping support is removed as well. You have to use Billy's
WMA format to making CDs. Remember too that Billy's got the licensing
turned on too by default. You can turn it off it the Options
menu of Media Player.
Discounts? Yeah sure. If you
count on car pooling to Costco to get a copy for yourself with
So should you upgrade to XP?
I say no. Upgrade to Windows 2000 Pro (if you can find it) and
make sure it has the Service Pack 2 with it (SR2). Wait for the
newer version of the OS to come in mid 2003.
Virtually crash proof
- New Mac like interface - Drag and Drop CD recording - Remote
Assistance - ME like networking - faster than Windows 98/ME or
2K - Movie Maker Software - Firewall Software - Great Driver
The Not So Cool
Activation. One disk,
one installation. That's it. Bill wants to be the first Trillionaire.
If you don't sign up with the .NET service, you loose lots of
the so called cool features - Need a pretty fast PC to run it
(600MHz) - Extra licenses for home users will only be discounted
10% or so - MP3 support not in Media Player but you can $purchase$
it from MS - Pesky licensing of your songs through Media Player
- Plus pack is a disappointment. Oh yes, and if you were expecting
to run those DVD movies or rip some MP3s you need to buy a add-on
guys to accomplish it.
What to expect
Upgrading your present
operating system ( 98SE/ME/2000 ) will bring you much pain. I
highly recommend a FRESH install. Buy a copy of Ghost to backup and endure the pain honey...
When it's installed, you'll really like it. It wont crash. Not
unless you install really old software on it.
On The QT:
Windows XP Home & Professional are based on Windows 2000.
XP is a phenomenal operating system. I'm not exaggerating here
kids. If it's installed right, it's just great. From installation
to final use, it's Microsoft crown jewel in my opinion. I'm planning
on upgrading all my clients.
When I loaded the OS from scratch,
it detected everything on my system. I did have to reboot several
times during the OS installation, but having to not reach for
ANY of my driver CD's was absolutely amazing.
The only lockup of any kind that
I can report about would be the Adobe Photoshop LE software and
CD Buring software. It locks up occasionally causing me to
do a END PROGRAM from the task manager, but XP will recover most
Boot up times are great, in fact
I think it boots up from a cold start in 34 seconds. The reboot
time is very fast, a lot faster than you might think giving the
load of hardware I have on the system.
Do you upgrade your present installation
or install a fresh copy and start a new...
Well the consensus around here
at MH is upgrading will be a major problem for MOST users. We've
run extensive tests on many sorts of combinations of clones and
store bought PCs [Dell Gateway Micron] and in a nutshell, you're
gonna have problems if you upgrade.
We HIGHLY recommend backing up
your entire system and running a clean install with the XP CD.
Otherwise, you're asking for grief kids.
This means getting a copy of
Ghost, partitioning your hard drive into two drives and going
from there. If you don't have enough room, get another drive
and Ghost from one to the other. Use the old one for data.
Speaking of getting more stuff,
Microsoft says you can run this on a 300MHz'ish PC with 128MB
of memory. No way. Don't even think about it. If you wanna try
this, use that copy of Ghost to put your PC back to the was it
was when you started or you're gonna be hating life for a while.
In my opinion the very least
configuration is as follows:
- 600MHz Pentium III or AMD Athlon.
15GB ATA66 7200RPM Hard Drive
3D Video Card like a Geforce 2 MX or ATI Radeon
If you're unsure whether or not
you're system will run XP, try Microsoft's compatibility checker
to see if your system is up to snuff. You can also download the
the hefty Upgrade Advisor (31mb) to see if you meet
some of the requirements for XP.
If you're planning on using that
copy to upgrade the entire office or home, think again. Microsoft
is doing it's best to prevent you from illegally copying it to
your other computers, friends and colleagues. Office XP lets
you copy it twice though.
I'm told that if you use a hard
drive copying program like Symantec's Ghost or DriveCopy, you
can Ghost it on two PCs that have identical hardware. I haven't
tried this yet but it sounds logical.
If you're running 802.11b wireless
networks you most likely will run into trouble. Check your hardware
manufacturer for an update. I've had no trouble with my Netgear
Access Point and my PCMCIA MA401 cards.
It's the general feeling around
the tech community that Microsoft is attempting to shove you
into the .NET service. I recommend signing up for it, but don't
use MS's MSN or Hotmail service. Use your own email or better
yet if you have your own domain, use your @Anyone account to
On October 25th, 2001 (day it
was released) many people using Netscape, Opera and other non-explorer
browsers complained that they couldn't get into their MSN webpages.
Microsoft offered a download page instead for Internet Explorer
(boy the justice dept. would love this). Microsoft, turns 180'
to change it same day!
XP sports a new Search feature
and tosses the old 98 style Find/Search. The new feature is more
humanistic according to MS. You can now enter in your searches
in plain English. The search engine asks, "What do you want
to search for?" and lets you use categories like Pictures,
Documents, etc. Nice. Microsoft hasn't done away with the others
like Google and AskJeeves. You can change the default to whatever
Microsoft has also followed the
leader in the department of System Restores. If you need to,
you can enter the world of techness to restore replaced system
drivers and applications. It's not perfect but it'll get you
back running again. I recommend Ghosting your system though.
XP has a new standard for your
pictures and video calling it Digital Media. Some things are
welcome additions like the new Media Player, but you have to
take the good with the bad. Media Player strictly enforces the
Music you RIP into it with it's license program. It doesn't even
support MP3 unless you purchase the optional upgrade (I'm not
sure if it licensees MP3's). You might also want to know the
DVD movies aren't all that great on XP. You can play them but
you can't decode them. You'll need a good decoder program with
MPEG-2 support like PowerDVD or WinDVD.
Windows Movie Maker is a cool
plus to XP. Using Microsoft's own WMV format you can edit then
email your movie production to friends and family. It's pretty
good. I recommend getting a Firewire card installed for faster
editing and transfer from digital cameras. You can edit uncompressed
AVI movies at 720 x 480 resolution for decent quality reproduction.
Nice for holidays and get togethers.
Worried about software compatibility?
XP has a new and improved services just for you. Just right-click
on the programs icon and check the level of compatibility you
desire. I haven't had the occasion to use it, but I hear it's
But if you're a DOS nut with
lots of games or old utility programs you're gonna be a little
miffed. XP has given DOS the heave Ho. You can run some DOS programs
under XP, but very very few. If you really got to have that old
program (I have one client who is a tax man and he needs this)
you can get a copy of System Commander and partition your hard
drive to boot XP and Windows 98 or a DOS session. Note that the
two OS's don't even see each others drives, they are completely
divorced from each other.
Home and Professional
I should start off by saying that Professional has everything
the Home version does with lots of corporate stuff like IP encryption
and administrator stuff for large networks. Professional isn't
just a look and feel Home version. It's got some serious horsepower
under the hood. Some features include, 300 or so Group Policies,
Roaming User Profiling, Encrypting File System, Remote Control
via email and Remote Desktop. Remote Control lets a XP Pro user
send you a email so that they can remotely control your PC. Don't
worry the email is time sensitive and will expire in a day. The
other feature, Remote Desktop is more like PC Anywhere where
you can see the other persons desktop directing them with your
One thing the Professional version
sports that the Home lacks is multi-processor support. Your Home
version will run a computer with more than one CPU, but it can't
utilize it. Even though Professional supports multi-processors
systems, and even then you'll need software specifically written
to run on your mutli-cpu computer.
So far so good. I do get the
very occasional lockup or error, but no blue screens, no GPF
like errors. Keep in mind, I'm a experimentalist. I'm always
installing and removing software and hardware.
In my opinion it's very solid.
Performance was splitting hairs. XP ran 2% faster in every department
so it's no great improvement over ME, 98 or 2000. Hard drive,
video, gaming, memory usage is all faster, but just by the skin
of your nose. The number one thing thing to remember here kids
is that it's much more stable. Much more. That's where you're
gonna love it. No more reboots and system crashes. I think the
Apple guys better start looking over the fence because here comes
a monster truck!
XP Activation Notes
The free ride is over folks.
Billy wants to be the first trillionaire and that's that. Windows
XP home is $99.95 and Professional is $199.95 for the upgrades.
You'll need a Windows 98 or better CD when you install with the
new XP OS. Borrow a copy from a friend or officemate because
during the install of XP, it'll ask for your Windows 98, ME or
Here is the nitty gritty on Activation
and getting a legal discount for extra copies.
The only way to get a discount
is if you buy more than 5 copies.
Call Microsoft henchmen at 877-426-6010.
I'm told it's anywhere from 5% to 25%.
There are other programs available,
but unless you buy 100 copies or more, this is the plan for you
until they change it.
XP Home vs. Windows XP Professional
The only cool feature for the
average joe would be the built in Backup program. Other features
that Professional offer are:
Better file security with NTFS
partioning. When you setup XPp, it defaults to format or convert
your hard drive to this formatting scheme. Microsoft says it
provides better security on networks.
01.07.02 - Windows XP Home does have a Backup
program. In fact, its the same one that comes installed on the
Professional version. Just pop in the Windows XP CD and look
for this folder ---> \VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP and double-click
While building a system for a
client, I see they already have it on the shelf at my local computer
store... Oct 19th, 2001 6 days before its supposed to be out...
Features of Windows XP Home
Virtually crash proof - Remote
Control of other computers (Netmeeting had this already) - NTFS
or FAT32 formatting - Cool new MediaPlayer
Yes you can bootleg Windows XP.
All the computers involved need to have all the same hardware.
So, if you're setting up your home office or small office, you
can use Symantec's Ghost software to do a disk-to-disk clone
and avoid paying Bill his $100. There are also cracks out there
right now that will turn off the Activation, but be forewarned...
most are viruses and Trojans. Do this at your own risk kids.
If you are legitimate (like me) and you want to install it for
a friend, you can. You have to use your original CD with your
original key code but it will work. After it's installed you
will have to put in the new key you bought at the store. After
that, it'll work just fine.
Love and kisses
Installation process: Coming
I have a dedicated Tip Section
for Windows XP which can be seen
Motherboard running a 1.7GHz CPU, 128MB RDRAM (PC800), nVidea
GeForce2 Ultra (64DDR), IBM 60GB ATA100 7200RPM.
I haven't run these tests on
a Athlon XP system yet, but you can expect scores of at least
2 -5% higher.