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the most reliable Windows operating system

Posted on 2002-04-01
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I need to get a full install copy of windows because I want to format my harddrive and reinstall windows on my wife's machine. I need to know which is the most reliable windows OS. Not the most expensive, or the most popular, but the most bugfree, regardless of cost.
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Question by:annas
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6911637
If your hardware is 100% compatible, Windows XP
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6911657
Note: no operating system is 100%, as they are written by human beings. Also with so many hardware and software manufacturers, it would be virutually impossible to make a crash proof OS, that would still support most hardware and software. But I have run every M$ OS since 3.1, and so far my clean install of XP has been the best (running since October, and has not crashed in 3 months, and the only crashes I have had (3) were due to driver issues (not signed)
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6911658
Oh yeah, my machine runs 24x7
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 6911889
How old is the machine? How old is the software you plan to install? If you are planning or rely on using DOS software and games then chances are Win98 will be the way to go. Same conclusion generally speaking if your mahcine is over three years old. If you are willing to spend the money that may be needed to oufit the machine with the appropriate amount of RAM (min 128MB) a large HD (suggest a minimum of 20GB's) and replacing any non compatible hardware and sofware then go with XP Pro. Otherwise go with Win98.

If XP sounds like the way you want to got then I would suggest taking the time to download the following to get an idea what hardware XP finds not being compatible with it.

Windows XP Upgrade Advisor

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/howtobuy/upgrading/advisor.asp

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/howtobuy/upgrading/matrix.asp
Check for Upgrade Eligibility
"Upgrading from Previous Versions of Windows" tells you if your version of Windows can be upgraded to Windows XP Professional

http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/Utility/1.0/WXP/EN-US/UpgAdv.exeDownload the Upgrade Advisor
If your version is eligible for upgrade, download the Upgrade Advisor. You can choose to save the file to your hard disk and run it locally, or open it directly from the Web.


The Crazy One
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 6911923
Now keep in mind XP is a little buggy still. MS has yet to release a service patch to help iron out some of the known bugs. However I believe they will be releasing one soon.

I use Win2000 Pro and for the most part it has been a very reliable stable and a  semi-bug free OS. MS has released two service patches for it and I get the impression they will be releasing a third patch soon, which should strengthen the OS even more.

Like Steve said no OS is bug free nor will they really ever be. Since XP is in its first stage it shows the tendency MS has of doing on first stage releases and that being a bit of an experimental release. Which is to say it has its problems and is best suited to machines made within one year more or less before the OS was released. The machines made prior to this one-year mark will probably, as the machine is further away from this mark, make the Installation and usage of the OS a little bit trickier. Don't misunderstand me XP can be installed and ran on these older machines but the reality is XP is optimized for the newest generations of machines.

Now here is the kicker if you want a Window's OS that is very stable and manages performance and memory quite well then Win2000 and/or XP out shines Win9x/ME by a great margin. Most Win9x/ME installations take a lot of tweaking to get the best performance out of them. On the other hand right out of the box WIn2000 and XP don't need much tweaking. That is not to say there isn't some tweaking that can help these two OS's squeeze out a little more performance and stability.
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 6911931
Now you can help us out by defining what your meaning of bugs is. Some folks think something is a bug but it really isn't. Some feel the way the OS is design to do certain things is a bug but it isn't, it just a design thing. So if you could give us a breif description of what you mean by bugs and give us some detailed information on the mahcine in question this could help in determining which Windows is best suited for the situation. :>)

 
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by:CrazyOne
ID: 6912058
Oh one thing I forgot to mention is that MS is on a campaign of dropping supprot and/or selling there earlier OS's. Win3.1 has been completely phased out and MS stopped supporting Win95 at the end of 2001. By mid 2003 MS will no longer support Win98 and I believe they are targeting dropping support for ME in 2005. Some where in this mix they will eventually drop support for Win2000. Basically they are hinging their future OS's on the XP model along with anything new that they may develop.
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by:annas
ID: 6912150
Ok, to answer y'all comments. This is an older "handmade" machine(not by me!) It is a KMD equivlent to an intel pentium II running at 400 MH. ram has been upgrade so that the total is around 140 MB.
As for bugs, anything where you get the blue screen and have to reboot! What started me searching for an OS was when my wife's MS Word started crashing when she tried to open a file. I tried to reinstall Office I kept getting errors, but patiently persisted anyway but the same thing happened. I reinstalled my upgrade version of 98 SE. It crashed a couple of times before it completed also. I then bought  OfficeXP and installed that. it crashed once during the install. After installation I looked in her My Douments folder for her 300 + vital files that she absolutely needed for her doctorial research. It had been wiped clean! I took it to the shop to have the files undeleted. He found about thirty of them. Some how I ended up with a Program files folder within a program files folder.Neither contained the same files. Doing some digging, I came up with the ORIGINAL My documents folder in the second Program files folder! All her files were there, undamaged!.
After that experience, after Spring Break I'm heading to our local technischools and obtaining an A+ certification. I can do better than that!
 As it stands now, Outlook express will not run, even after reinstalling. Netscape refuses to get her messages and keeps asking for the correct password. Norton Internet Security Edition will run, but will not will not "enable" itself.
Off hand, it sounds like a registry problem. I know just reinstalling will not clean up the registry. So what do I do now?
Paul :)
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by:rid
ID: 6912489
The experience from various parties where I work is that XP will give you some headaches when it comes to "older" hardware (printers etc) that noone wants to create updated drivers for. It also wants a lot from your hardware. Windows 2000 gets very favourable comments and seems very stable. Another possibility is windows NT4 with the latest SP (6a, I think). I foresee the comments here, about old O/S and support being withdrawn etc, etc, but as for stable, it is OK by me. Your hardware specs seem well suited for NT4.
Regards
/RID
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by:rid
ID: 6912498
As an afterthought about >"So what do I do now?", why not just do a backup-fdisk-format-reinstall of 98? Some of the problems you describe seem to be related to other software than the O/S itself and 98SE isn't that bad...
/RID
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CrazyOne earned 100 total points
ID: 6912803
Hi annas and thanks for the info. I am not totally sure but the problems you desribe sound like hardware issues. And if so no OS is will remedy problematic hardware. I would suggest as RID did to reformat an reintall your current OS and see if anything changes as far as the problems. One thing to do first is to boot into safemode open device manager and see if there are any conflicts being reported and then see if maybe any devices have been listed more than once (commonly known as ghost entries) and delete the ghost entries.

If this a regitry problem and your intetinons are to upgrade over the top of Win98 then the registry problems will still be there. As far getting the Blue screen and having to reboot in Win2000 and XP this is rarity unless it truly is a hardware problem.

if you download an run this you will find out which hardware XP says it is not compatible with so you can have an idea of what you would need to replace.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/Utility/1.0/WXP/EN-US/UpgAdv.exeDownload the Upgrade Advisor
If your version is eligible for upgrade, download the Upgrade Advisor. You can choose to save the file
to your hard disk and run it locally, or open it directly from the Web.
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by:nfroio
ID: 6913092
Honestly, the one that I had the **least** problems with, Win3.x, then Win95, I have had numerous problems with anything above Win98, and XP right now, with the released versions that I have tested, is crap * pi(squared).

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Author Comment

by:annas
ID: 6913173
Thanks, guys, I really appreciated all your comments. Its not easy to get *good* software anymore an OSs are no exception.
Paul :)
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by:reallynicejerk
ID: 7354034
windows XP is not compatible with a lot of older hardware if you're going to use XP use XP Pro.  I have a network at home with 4 different computers and I've tried every windows operating system and windows 2k pro is the only windows operating system I would run at the moment.

As for the most reliable operating system that's the least bug free, that's easy.  Linux.

Now, if you prefer redhat, mandrake, debian, suse, etc. that's up to you.  I run dual boot redhat 8.0 with win2k pro on all my home computers.  I like redhat much better, and it was free. I only run win2k any more because I need a good video editing software to edit movies and adobe premiere is the only one that I've been able to find yet.  As soon as I find a good one that runs in linux I'll never run windows again, ever.

Redhat also came with all the software I could ever need, aside from the movie editing software that is.
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