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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Observers praise new Windows, but differ about upgrading

 •  Windows XP imperfect but much improved

Gannett News Service

Gannett News Service asked computer columnists who have tested preview versions of Windows XP for their impressions. Here are some of their comments.

David Coursey
Columnist and executive editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk

Here comes Microsoft, once again telling us its new version of Windows crashes less and is easier to use than the previous version. So what's new this time? With Windows XP, Microsoft isn't lying.

If you buy a new PC, you'll be happy you get the new operating system. Especially because it means you won't get the brain-damaged Windows Me that's the current standard.

If you're among the majority of users, who are now running some version of Windows 98, you'll like XP but ought to consider buying more memory to bring your computer up to at least 256 megabytes of memory. Check the specs on the XP box, but most newer PCs should run XP just fine.

XP makes Windows less of a product for the crash-test dummies and more one for real people, even those who have shied away from computers until now. But mostly, Windows XP means Windows finally works as well as Microsoft always said Windows works. And reduced aggravation alone is probably worth the cost.

• • •

Kim Komando
Nationally syndicated talk radio host, personal technology editor for Popular Mechanics magazine and author

Windows XP has stirred up some controversy because of its product registration requirement. One license means just that — no more using the same CD to set up your desktop and laptop.

Be prepared to spend money to get XP: $199 for individual consumers and $299 for corporate users. The Home Edition upgrade costs $99, while the Professional upgrade costs $199. If you want to put XP on more than one computer, look into the Additional Family License program. This lets people who have already purchased one upgrade to buy additional upgrades at a discounted price.

XP features a built-in firewall to protect your Internet browsing and Internet Explorer 6.0. One Internet connection can be shared among various Windows machines (running Windows 95 or later).

There's much more to Windows XP under the hood (Remote Desktop, Remote Access, etc.) and it's worth the upgrade. If this is not enough to convince you, there's one more thing to consider. Windows XP doesn't seem to crash as often as older versions.

• • •

Jon Sidener
Technology writer for the Arizona Republic

When my 180-day evaluation copy of Windows XP expires, I won't be forking out the cash to upgrade, at least not right away.

There are a number of features I like, but none I like so much that I can't wait six months or a year until my next computer upgrade.

The biggest advantage I see in XP is in its reliability. Since the first version, Windows systems have been prone to quirks and crashes. XP goes a long way toward fixing that.

The newest operating system from Microsoft has an all-new interface that takes time to get used to. Some features, such as the revamped start menu, seem like an improvement. But I'm not convinced that the payoff justifies the learning curve.

My biggest dislike is the new activation system. XP takes ID numbers from my hardware and uses them against me. Once Microsoft has my information, I need Bill Gates' approval to install a new hard drive or swap out modem or video cards.

That bugs me. If the privacy advocates can convince Microsoft to drop or defang the activation system, I'll probably upgrade with my next computer. If not, it's a coin toss whether it's worthwhile.

• • •

Gary Deckelnick
Answers computer questions for readers of the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press

I confess that I put the last beta (preview) version of Windows XP on my computer with some trepidation. I fully expected this to be another in a line of not-so-necessary upgrades that was just going to coincidentally hit stores in time for the holiday shopping season.

I expected another Windows 98 Second Edition to Windows Millennium improvement — a few bells and whistles but no real need to buy it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since it's been on my 866 megahertz Pentium III system, it never crashed. Not once!

That might not be too much for Windows NT or 2000 users to expect, but it's unheard of for we who struggled with Windows 9x or Me. What's more, my boot-up time averaged 25 seconds, much less than what it had been.