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Get up to Speed on Windows XP

Microsoft's next version of Windows is anything but ho-hum.
PC users everywhere need to know about this one.

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

May 3, 2001

If you're like most people, hearing about something that improves the way your PC works is worth at least a moment or two of your time. But the split second you realize the upgrade is yet another new version of Microsoft Windows, you're probably well into a disgusted eye roll. Microsoft may be like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, though. Because after a long series of okay but unimpressive knock-offs of Windows 95, this time the software giant really does have an entirely new version of Windows. One you should take seriously. Windows XP is the real deal.

Sure, it appeals to geeks and power users (like us) because it has the operating system-equivalent of titanium under its hood. But that improvement is good for everyone in quiet ways. Windows XP can run and run and run without having to be restarted. Windows 95, 98, 98 Second Edition (SE), and Windows Me aren't nearly so hardy, and often need to be rebooted. What's more, software running on Windows XP is a lot less likely to crash. If such reliability is what's important to you, Windows NT or 2000 would have gotten the job done. But those versions of Windows are more expensive, harder to install, may have trouble with some types of hardware, and don't offer up-to-date support for things like USB, digital media, wireless networking, CD-RW, and other cutting-edge technologies.

Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP

Windows XP is the first version of Windows that merges the reliability of Windows NT/2000 with the mainstream, up-to-date usability and technology support of Windows 95/98/ME. The feature sets of Windows 2000 and Windows Me are both baked into the Windows XP cake. They're both there, and in another way they're both gone -- never to be heard from again. In a few short months, XP will be the only version of Windows.

As controversial as it is advanced, there's a lot to sort out about Windows XP. It offers many advantages, but it also represents significant change over previous versions -- especially the familiar and popular Windows 9x. What is XP? Do you really need it? Should you upgrade? Will installing it be a nightmare or a dream? Will it work with your hardware? Should you just wait for your next new PC? Based on the nearly feature complete Beta 2 version of Windows XP, this article (originally published on Lycos Computers) was written by a team of recognized Windows experts. It should answer just about any question you have about Windows XP.

All in all, we think the new Windows is going to be well worth your consideration. But there are several criteria both you and your PC must meet before it's a no-brainer decision for you to make the upgrade. Click "Next" to learn about all those things. But if you're in a hurry, you can jump right to our bottom-line conclusions.

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