Benefits of Windows 2000 vs. Windows 98

I administer a system for a small business that integrates some PC's running Windows 98, some Windows NT 4.0 machines and an HP9000 running HP-UX.  The business also hosts its own websites and has a site server, mail server and proxy server, all of which are using Microsoft products.  For the most part, everything works fine.

Here's my question.  Is there any compelling reason to upgrade my Windows 98 or NT machines to Windows 2000?  I've taken the position, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it.".  However, I also want to be sure that I'm not missing some features, which would make the jobs of the employees here a little easier or more productive.

I realize that this is a very general question.  However, I'm really only looking for a basic pro-con discussion of the issue and I know from experience that the people that frequent this board are well informed.

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dcgamesConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There is a compeling reason for upgrading Win98 clients to Win2k Pro clients. They are a lot more secure than Win98.

If your NT is a domain controller that the clients log into, then by all means upgrading the clients works better.

Now, about NT vs. 2K SERVER, the Win2K server is a LOT better than the NT server. Not just a bit, but a lot better.

But "Compelling reason"?  Don't know. If you run a web site, e-mail, and security under NT, I imagine it will be a lot easier to do the same things under Win2KServer, but that doesn't elminiate the learning curve or the upgrade pains.

I'd say that maybe upgrading the Win98 clients is a good idea, and perhaps adding a Win2K server and putting something on it just to get a feeling for it would be worth it. Say your e-mail server, or whatever.

There is certainly a LOT of walkthroughs on and a lot of books on migrating NT to 2K, so you wouldn't be doing it blindly.

Good luck,

postdata, addendum, or oh-by-the-wayums.. :)

Key things about Win2K vs. other:

a) You don't need ANYTHING but TCP/IP (can get rid of WINS, NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, etc.)

b) Everything goes in the active directory. Machines, Users, Hosts, Services, etc.

c) DNS is in AD also.

d) IIS 5.0 on Win2KServer is infinitely more scalable than IIS 4.0 on NT. Scalablility is tied to system resources, not any internal limits of the software.

e) All Domain Controllers are peer. No need for Primary vs Backup DCs, etc.

The last item means you can change anything anywhere, etc. This includes DNS entries (for example).

So yes, there ARE good reasons to upgrade. The only question is whether any of them are "compelling"

One of the main reason for migrating clients is stability. Windows 2000 should reduce basic user support calls. If you don't spend a lot of time putting out fires then it may not be as important.

However, you will need to throughly test applications to see if there are any issues. Windows XP is supposed to resolve a lot of these issues but we still are waiting on the final product. Good Luck!!
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Generally, I'd say, unless you are prepared to take training in Active Directory and Windows 2000 server, don't put anything production on one unless it's required.  I have had some problems with "playing around" (no formal training or extensive book reading) with 2000 Active Directory.  (For example, I had one at home.  Wanted to preserve my user accounts when I wanted to reinstall my server, so I setup another DC.  Everything appeared fine... UNTIL I tried giving my server it's old name (even after believing I deleted its computer account).  The result was failure. I had a mess of problems and to my surprise, one said something about a master domain controller (I believed it when they said all DCs are created equal with 2K, but apparently that's not the case.  The first DC has some special assignments to it...)

Bottom line, for the server end, get trained BEFORE you start doing anything production on a 2K server - YES, it's nice - there are some really cool things with it - but I haven't PERSONALLY experienced any significantly increased stability or performance from my Win2K servers over my NT servers (my network environment is 30 servers/700 clients - mix of NT/2K/9x/Mac/Unix)

As for Win2K on the client side - I'd say go with it.  ESPECIALLY over 9x.  At least reinstall the 9x machines as NT.  The stability and security of NT/2000 over 9x should make it an obvious choice to dump any 9x installation that isn't requiired by a specific software package.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Be careful of XP - it reportedly won't support 16bit or DOS apps (the itanium version DEFINITELY won't but I think that also applies to the 32bit version as well).  Personally, I think this is a bad move by microsoft.  Their first attempt to bring the NT kernel to the home market (really) and they toss support for the users MOST LIKELY to still use 16 bit programs and shareware...
Well I will try and keep it general....

(sorry cant think of many)
*oh here is one..most hardware supports win98 and you are already configured.... :->
*Fat32 supported
*doesnt need lots of memory or big cpu

*Not secure - file, directory, only share permission password.
*can press esc at logon screen and get into the system

Windows 2000
I will start with this because I can only think of a few-
*Some hardware not supported by 2000 but sometimes win9x drivers work
*If you use NTFS for the file system you cannot get to your drive from dos...boot on a disk...
*The more memory the better

*Secure-cannot press esc at logon
*NTFS File system security
*ability to change settings that dont require reboot-ip change, stuff like that..not to important but nice
*Upgraded xcopy in win2k supports (with correct switch)copying and retaining acl and ntfs permissions on files/directories
*Quota on drives
*MOST applications dont need reboot after install of app
*Fewer reboots in general
*Multi CPU support

I went from running win9x to win2000 and I wont go back. It does require a little bit more memory...but checkout memory prices at and you will see what I am talking about....CHEAP. I have less problems in general. Also if you do a win2000 server you can run terminal services..which doesnt require any more hardware once win2k is up and running. You can remotely manage your machines like pcanywhere but MUCH FASTER. I even connect from work to my machine at home through terminal services...I have a cable modem and it is as fast as if my machine was in the next room.

hope it helps...
Jeffrey J. Riggs
CSC - NT Server Support
Onsite @ Motiva Enterprises LLC
Delaware City Refinery
Regarding the AD comment above, I most certainly recommend reading a book. Or at least browsing through the many support pages on

If the poster had done that he would know that all domain controllers are equal in the sense that you can make a change to any of them, but there are 5 roles that you distribute to the domain controllers. If you DEMOTE a domain controller, and it has one of these 5 roles, it will "pass the role" to another domain controller in the same domain (if it can find one).

If you want some book recommendations let me know, I've got the books at home but I've got one that is VERY well written and easy to read.

Any one can install Win2K server and stumble around a bit, but it's as easy to screw up as it is on Windows NT. If you don't know how to do something, it's better to read a bit on it before trying.

Given a choice between NT and 2000, it's a no brainer. 2000 is better at everything. No exceptions. The decision to move is purely convinience. If you're working fine with NT, know everything about NT and don't have the time to learn something new, you could stay on NT a while longer.

Just remember that sooner or later you WILL find a compelling reason to upgrade, and you may have LESS time then than now. So I'd start learning even if I didn't do a full migration.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Being "the poster" - I'd like to point out that I DO know you can make changes to any DC - but guess what... I haven't seen any real difference between Win2K DCs and PDC/BDC in terms of that - I make changes all the time to BDCs - and the changes get replicated to all BDCs and PDCs.  The implication, when one first hears of this "benefit" of not having to have a PDC and that all DCs provide the same services, is that they are all equal.  I could setup 12, take down any five, including the first one, and nothing would be noticed.  That is not the case.  Furthermore, I did this in my home environment - not a true production environment.  I was playing around and incidentally, I did read one book that made no mention of the problems I encountered.

And perhaps you're the exception, but working in an IT ennvironment, with 19 other people, 25 since I've been here, only 1 could regularly read manuals conver-to-cover.  Most people, including myself, get headaches by the second chapter - I don't discount manuals, but they are far more useful to most people, I think, as reference materials and not how-to manuals.
I've got 4 Win2K books and only one of them is written where I could read it side to side without getting a headache.

I'll get the name of it and post it here tomorrow.

DIdn't mean to insult. I was going from your comments that you didn't really read any books and just went and did it and it went wrong. I've screwed up Win2K enough that I had to do a clean install to get rid of the problem. Twice.

Both times it was because I was trying to do something and didn't really know exaclty how, but thought it was easier to just figure it yout than to read the book.

The point I was trying to make is not to waste your time trying to learn Win2K adminstration by trial and error. It's too complex for that and it will invariably go wrong.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Misunderstand clarified.  My point was that Win2K Server administration is too complex to just upgrade and think everything will be fine - if it's not a domain controller, then it is that straightforward - I did it 5 times in a production environment after working with it for 8 months and experienced no problems.  But I still haven't touched the domain controllers because I have long realized AD is a huge beast not to be played with in a production environment unless you are confident you know what you are doing.
Agree with you there. Active Directory solves a lot of problems, but if you screw it up you're up the creek without the provervial paddle.

I've been "playing around" with Win2K (but also reading lots of books and stuff), but I still run into problems that I have no idea how to start debuging.

Thank good for and the Knowledge Pro upgrade. Those 500 question points come in handy :)

ggs54Author Commented:
Thanks for all of the input.  It's all very good and I appreciate you taking the time to answer.  I'm accepting dcgames answer directly on this question and will post points for leew and csc nt support for 50 points each.  Your input saves me considerable time in determining the direction to go.

I am going to start upgrading from Win98 to Win2k and will put the NT upgrade on hold until I have done my homework.

Thanks, again.
****ATTENTION csc_nt+support****
Please post in to recieve your 50 points.

Rajiv Makhijani
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