Get up to Speed on Windows XP

Windows XP

Story Contents


Facts & Figures

Home & Pro Differences

Behind the New Wheel

Folders & Special Folders

Looking at 'My Pictures'

Windows Media Player 8

Internet Explorer 6.0

Functional Improvements

Personal Firewall

Remote Assistance

Backup & Restore

Product Activation

Hardware and Setup

Will Your Programs Run?


Beta Conclusions

Beta Conclusions

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.

Win XP's Display Properties showing MultiMon controls in action. You click one of the monitor numbers to make it the primary.
Click to see larger image

Win XP's Display Properties showing MultiMon controls in action. You click one of the monitor numbers to make it the primary.

Conversely, buying a new PC with Windows XP pre-installed is an excellent idea. If you've been holding out for the right time to buy a new PC, this is it. What's more, as one of the authors put it: "Anyone whose PC meets the system requirements and who is suffering the indignities of Windows Me should buy Windows XP when it becomes available later this year." All of us agree with that statement.

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 -- and better. Lets hope it lives up to expectation.

The People Behind This Story

Several talented people -- all from Windows Magazine -- donated their time and expertise to the making of this article. Designer and graphic artist Heide Balaban designed the story layout and created or edited the artwork. Production mavens Jeanette Hafke and Roma Nowak coded and produced the pages. Windows experts Scot Finnie, Serdar Yegulalp, Dave Methvin, and Neil Randall researched and wrote the story. Scot Finnie and Roma Nowak edited it. Please click our links to contact us or discover related material we think will interest you.  Back to the Introduction.

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