Facts & Figures
Home & Pro Differences
Behind the New Wheel
Folders & Special Folders
Looking at 'My Pictures'
Windows Media Player 8
Internet Explorer 6.0
Backup & Restore
Hardware and Setup
Will Your Programs Run?
All four of the reviewers who wrote this story are more excited about this version of Windows than any since Windows 95 (well, some of us were this excited about Windows 2000). As a team, it's become a tradition for us to tell our readers whether we're going to install the Windows we're reviewing on our primary PCs. There's a quick "Yes" to that question from two of the four of us. The other two are hanging back a bit. Product Activation is one of the sticking points for all four of us. The real-world results on the questions about hardware support and application reliability are another. For at least one of us, the user interface changes are too beginner oriented. One thing we can all agree on: We like a lot of things about Windows XP.
Although a lot of precincts still have to report (namely, the RC1, RC2, and "gold" versions of this product), we project that Windows XP will be a winner.
There's one caveat: Don't buy it for older hardware. Don't buy it for a machine with less than 128MB of RAM. You won't have a good time. As stated at the top of this story, machines built before January of 2000 could run into trouble. We recommend against any but very experienced PC users opting to buy Windows XP for a circa 1999 or earlier PC. We're not saying it won't run there; it's just that the potential for major headaches is much higher. The same hardware caveat goes for older, low-cost or leading-edge Win98/Me-specific peripheral hardware. "Windows Printers," for example, might not run under XP. Internal cable modems might not run under XP. Some "WinModems" might not work with XP. Some optical drives may not work with XP. If you have hardware like this, check with the hardware manufacturer before buying and installing Windows XP.
Merging the mainstream hardware support and consumer features of Windows 9.x with the reliability and stability of Windows NT/2000 is a no-brainer. Windows XP is the version of Windows that consumers should have had two years ago. It's long overdue. The fast boot times, multiple-user logon functionality, digital media features, and vast array of small but powerful improvements really add up.
Windows XP is a real operating system. Whether you knew it or not, we've all been moving from one Windows operating system mirage to another for the last several years. Windows 2000 had the technology, but it just wasn't quite ready for prime time. The signs are right for XP to be different