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Upgrade to Win2K/XP from Win98SE

Posted on 2002-03-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
We will be upgrading all our Win98SE PC's (Sun/Novell network) to either Win2K Pro or XP Pro. Goal is to move from an fairly unstable OS to a more stable one. We range from 400MHz era-PC to 1.7GHz PCs.

A starting point could be to upgrade a few problem PCs (rather than a clean install) to test. Some internally favor 2000, some XP. Looking for advice, white papers, URL references, etc. Willing to raise points.

(1) Is it true there is no upgrade (vs clean install) path to XP, only to Win2K?
(2) Have had some challenges setting up profiles and related network administration on a Win2K network. Is XP pro significantly different for network administration than 2000?
(3) Is there an upcoming service pack for either we should wait for before testing?
(4) Security concerns with XP being newer .. should we wait for future problems to come to light?
(5) XP has more "user friendly" error messages, some say. Comments?
(6) Is non "Pro" version an option?

Thanks!
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Question by:esc_toe_account
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pjknibbs earned 125 total points
ID: 6880349
1) No, it isn't true--you can upgrade 98 to XP with no problems. (You might get better success rates upgrading 2K to XP than 98 to XP, but this is because 2000 is much more similar to XP than 98 is).
2) These things should work the same on XP as they do on 2K. (Whether they actually do or not is another matter!).
3) Win2K SP3 is probably going to be out soon, but 2K with SP2 is enormously stable and will make a fine testbed for your purposes.
4) That's up to you. It might well be better to get the user training for the XP upgrade out of the way now, because the UI on XP has major differences to previous Windows versions.
5) Nope--it has IDIOT friendly error messages which don't tell you what actually went wrong unless you press a button, so all the scary internal system stuff is hidden. There are a couple of nice features--the way it warns you if you happen to have CAPS LOCK on while typing a password, for example--but otherwise I wouldn't call it an improvement in this area.
6) Depends. If your network uses a domain and you want the individual machines to participate on the domain, you have no choice--you MUST get XP Pro. If you use a workgroup, you can get away with XP Home. Since the lowest available version of Win2K is the Pro version you won't gain any benefit from NOT using Pro on that OS.
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by:mikecr
ID: 6880420
I would highly recommend that you move to XP. There are many more options available that will allow for a more stable platform, remote connectivity and an overall better user experience. Pjknibbs has summed it up very well. The only thing that you should be aware of is whether all of the software will work on it. I would put up a half dozen machines in a test environment and see if the software works on them before running a full blow upgrade across the network.
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by:esc_toe_account
ID: 6880884
(2a) What kind of changes make XP a more stable platform than Windowss 2000 Pro?

(5a) How is this different than Windows 2000 Pro - one of the decision makers feels this is a significant difference of XP, so we will have to address it in some detail. Any references?

(6a) What problems might we run into using XP home with our workgroup, and why might this be a shortsighted direction to take?
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by:mikecr
ID: 6880939
You need to look more into how you intend on sharing information. If you are going to share information using servers, you won't be able to use XP home since it has limited networking capabilities compared to Pro.

XP is more stable due to the fact it can roll back drivers to before the system crashed and the kernel or heart of the OS makes for a more stable platform keeping crashing applications from bringing down the rest ot the computer. Windows 2K was a better built NT in my opinion as it was hard to crash it, however, it would crash. We currently have over 250 Windows 2K machines and 100 Windows XP machines in our organization and I can tell you for a fact I have had less problems with XP than I have had with 2K. XP runs applications faster and keeps them from crashing the rest of the computer better than the 2K machines. However, a word of advice, no matter what operating system you have, if you have a poorly written application or driver installed on the system, your bound to have problems. It also makes sense that if a more stable operating system exists on the market to use it. If you go to the XP part of EE and review what problems that other individuals have had, you will see that crashing is not the problem, just getting buggy applications and drivers to work with XP is the major headache.
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by:esc_toe_account
ID: 6881377
Oh right .. XP is the successful implementation of the rollback technology that MS first put into WIN ME.

Yes, I have heard about all the troubles getting buggy applications and drivers to work with XP is a major headache. Is there any single site reference on what applications are working well with XP? (I realize it would generally be needed to check with the maker to see how XP-ready they are.)

Is there some IT guru estimating at what point app/driver makers will have caught up with XP, and end users can expect to install it without a lot of checking first to see if what they have is ready for it? (I say this realizing there are still not Win2K drivers/apps for many things yet.)
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by:pjknibbs
ID: 6882007
The odds are that if you have hardware which hasn't yet got Win2K drivers (which will generally also work on XP, BTW), then the hardware never WILL have Win2K drivers--they've had nearly two years to produce them, after all! As for applications, I'd say the only apps you'd be likely to have problems with are old 16-bit Windows 3.1 apps (they do still exist, amazingly enough), anything which uses DirectDraw, and anything hitting the hardware at a low level such as CD burning software. 99% of applications don't fit into either category and are likely to work fine--for example, we have XP boxes running Photoshop 6, Illustrator 10, Office 2000, Microsoft Visual Studio 6 and .NET, the entire suite of NT 4 domain administration tools...the list goes on.
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by:esc_toe_account
ID: 6882524
Any known reference on what applications are working well with XP? (Happy to add/share points on this question!)
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6884496
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by:gsn
ID: 6884559
as for XP Home vs. XP Pro look at there ver informative site:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/evaluation/features.asp
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by:Longbow
ID: 6885587
Here are all the reasons you need to swap to Windows XP
They speek about performances and extras of XP

http://www.computerzonenc.com/windows_xp.htm

About applications : i use an old DOS software from 1992.
It works perfectly with XP.
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 6886008
If you want stability then XP Pro is the way to go.
I have been running it (upgrade from ME) for several weeks now and (in answer to Q5) have had no error messages to relate any experience from. That's right a Windows system running for several weeks without a single error message (believe it or not!!!)

Have gone from sceptical to actively recommending in a couple of months.
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by:esc_toe_account
ID: 6886417
ME and all previous non-NTs are unstable, we know.
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by:GUEEN
ID: 6887028
Easier to set up
Files/Settings Transfer wizard
File and Folder tasks in Explorer
Adjust/View DMA settings
Disable System Restore Drive monitoring
Lock toolbars
recent programs highted on Start Menu
Hide inactive taskbar items
Compatibility Modes
Remote Desktop w/installer for NT/98 on XP CD
CD autoplay/display contents
Time synchronization with Internet time server
Immediate notification of invalid characters while typing a filename


More Ino:
Lab Report: Windows XP Easier and Faster to Use
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/evaluation/whyupgrade/usability.asp

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by:esc_toe_account
ID: 6887282
Thanks for the links, gsn, Longbow and shekerra!
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by:SunBow
ID: 6890288
> (5) XP has more "user friendly" error messages, some say. Comments?

thus far I'd say w2k crashes less than earlier version, but still locks up, while XP does less of that too, but programs/windows often disappear leaving no message. I am not so sure that is really user friendly, I'd almost prefer BSOD except for the reboot time involved.

> (1) Is it true there is no upgrade (vs clean install) path to XP, only to Win2K?

yes. and no upgrade path from XP either, even to a better ver of XP. <scratching head>

> (6) Is non "Pro" version an option?
no, not for business (imo)

> (3) Is there an upcoming service pack for either we should wait for before testing?

no. upcoming has no end in sight for either

> (4) Security concerns with XP being newer .. should we wait for future problems to come to light?

personal taste. 50/50 on 'light'. But I'd give a balance of security as a concern, treating them as equals.

I dunno, I think for business you can buy XP and the CD will let you install either 2k or XP, so you can compare. But I dunno on licensing issues, having open questions of my own.
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by:esc_toe_account
ID: 6891019
-------------------------------
(1) Is it true there is no upgrade (vs clean install) path to XP, only to Win2K?
-----Sunbow-------------------
yes.
-----pjknibbs-----------------
No, it isn't true--you can upgrade 98 to XP with no problems. (You might get better success rates
upgrading 2K to XP than 98 to XP, but this is because 2000 is much more similar to XP than 98 is).
-------------------------------

Is there an "upgrade" CD that works or not? Should I expect high fail rates?
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by:pjknibbs
ID: 6893380
There are two versions of any XP variant--the update from a previous version CD and the full install CD. I would personally get the full install CD--you can still use it for an upgrade, and it has the advantage of not needing a prior OS to be installed should you want to reinstall the machine at some future date.

As for failure rates, I don't see why they should be any worse than for previous Windows upgrades. However, I always take the opportunity when upgrading an OS of doing a clean install, because Windows tends to collect an awful lot of rubbish over time and it tends to run a lot better after a clean install.
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by:Longbow
ID: 6895980
esc_toe_account,

A clean of XP or any new OS is still better.
Backup first your files.
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by:esc_toe_account
ID: 6913217
Thanks to everyone for their help! See points (new questions) for:
• mikecr
• SunBow
• shekerra
• Longbow
• gsn
• WiZaRd
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