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what should i do?

i am currently running windows 98 and i have 256MB RAM, i am now thinking of updating to windows XP Professional. with this amount of RAM will it run fast or slow? and is it worth upgrading to?.
1 Solution
Just my thoughts,
I recently upgrade from win98 to XP with only 256 MB and had no problem.  The system appears to be much more stable.  You will have to probably update some of your drivers( XP will tell you which ones as it installs) but these can usually be downloaded from the manufacturers website.  
If you do upgrade to XP, you might want to look into updating your BIOS and updating the Motherboard drivers as well.  When I first installed XP the system was lagging a bit in speed, until I updated the Motherboard drivers.

Win XP, I have found to also be generally more stable of an OS.  I don't use it for games though, mostly business and general tasks, so I don't know how it will be with games.

I eventually added another 64 MB RAM and have been quite satisfied with the results.
In December 2001, I purchased a new computer for myself and
my two sons with XP Home Ed with 256 Ram and I think we
are all pleased with XP even thought it it not the
professional ed.

Scot's Newsletter -- 3/20/2002  
Date: 3/20/2002 8:29:23 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: sfnl@scotfinnie.com

Should You Get Windows XP?

ANSWER: No, I haven't changed my mind. If you were buying a new PC, I'd
say get Windows XP. (In fact, it's getting tougher every day to buy a
new PC with anything but Windows XP.) But unless your PC was new since
January 2000, it's a bad idea to upgrade your existing PC with Windows
XP. The chances for serious new problems are high with older upgrades -
- especially if your Windows installation is the result of a previous
upgrade. Also, Windows XP needs more hardware than Windows 98 or Me
does. It needs a faster processor, more RAM, a bigger hard drive. Did I
mention more RAM? You should have 256MB for Windows XP.

For experienced users, people who like to erase everything on their
hard drives and start over now and then, Windows XP is an acceptable
upgrade. But you have to be willing to rebuild the software on your PC
from the ground up. Another, probably better, option is to add a second
hard drive (if need be) and install Windows XP as the second OS on your
PC in a multiboot configuration.

About the comparison between the different versions of Windows: Windows
XP is better than Windows NT and Windows 2000. It is very similar to
those operating systems. Windows 98 Second Edition is better than
Windows Me, and those two are very similar. The only two choices people
should be considering right now are Windows 98 Second Edition and
Windows XP. There are two flavors of Win XP: Pro and Home. For most
people's uses, the Home version is fine. If you're even slightly a
power user, though, get the Pro version.

If it weren't for Windows Product Activation, I would be more
wholehearted in my recommendation of Windows XP. I'm perpetually
annoyed by Microsoft's antipiracy technology, which adds a level of
inconvenience -- especially for more experienced users. If that weren't
the case, and given that the hardware is up to snuff, I would prefer
Windows XP over Windows 98. As it is now, it's something of a toss up.
I have both on my main PC. To be honest, I find myself using Windows XP
more and more. Being a reviewer, though, I have access to multiple
copies of XP, which reduces the product activation hassle.

Lockergnome Windows Digest] Cosmetic Stable and the Wizard  
Date: 6/29/2002 4:21:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: subscriptions@lockergnome.com

I got this message from legendary programmer, Gregory Braun, the
other day: "Windows XP finally provides a truly protected
operating system. Each program you run will operate independently
of all other programs currently being executed. XP provides a very
stable environment and all but eliminates the mysterious program
crashes often experienced on earlier Windows releases. If you've
been holding off on updating an earlier version of Windows, this
may be the time to finally upgrade. Unlike 98 and ME, which were
largely cosmetic improvements of the original 95, XP, while
sharing the same graphical user interface as those earlier
releases, now provides a rock-solid operating system environment."
I'd have to concur; SP1 is right around the corner, but I don't
see any reason for you to hold off for too much longer.

[TNPC] Grisoft AVG, WinXP Upgrades, Users & IT, Money & Quicken  
Date: 1/31/2002 9:20:54 AM Pacific Standard Time

eXPeriencing Windows XP: Upgrading Over an Earlier Version
       of Windows (by Al Gordon)

Here's the word on installing your Windows XP upgrade over your
existing Windows installation:


The equation is very simple. Windows XP is a significantly more
stable OS than Windows ME (Millennium Edition) and Windows 9x,
and more compatible with common applications than Windows 2000.
Plus it has features to protect crucial operating system files
against corruption, including being overwritten by other software
installations. To take full advantage of those capabilities,
therefore, you want to get rid of all the junk--bad drivers and
DLLs, unneeded and duplicate files, obsolete or corrupt Registry
settings, etc.--that might be clogging your system.

In other words, you need to get rid of the old junk--if only to
make way for new junk--and an "up and over" upgrade doesn't cut

* * * *       *      *     *
If you absolutely need to cling to your legacy installation, the
better option is to remember that multi-booting is built into XP.
So when you do your installation, ignore the "recommendation" to
install over your existing OS and have XP Setup do a clean
install into a separate partition. A big help here is PowerQuest
Partition Magic 7.0, which will let you partition a hard drive
without losing any of your existing data.

Mossbergs Maibox  December 13, 2001-Wall Street Journal

Ever since reading that Windows XP Home edition was just a "dumbed-down" version of Windows 2000, I have determined that I will get the Professional edition of XP the next time I upgrade. However, I have found myself wondering if we consumers lose anything by purchasing the Professional edition of XP instead of the Home edition.
A: It's not true that Windows XP Home edition is merely a "dumbed-down" version of Windows 2000. While it is built on the same architecture as Windows 2000, Windows XP has a number of improvements, including much greater compatibility with consumer software and hardware and much better handling of wireless networks. It also has a richer user interface.
These features, and others, are shared by the Home and Professional editions. The Home edition has nothing the Professional version lacks. The added features in the Professional version, which costs $100 more, are very few, and mainly apply to people on corporate networks.
"....Windows XP finally provides a truly protected
operating system. Each program you run will operate independently of all other programs currently being executed...."

At last...

Some other O/S's have had this feature for a while now.

Sorry, couldn't resist :)

You should try to find out as much as possible about the hardware you have, like if it is XP compatible; goes for printer/scanner drivers etc as well.

What does it mean to be "Always On"?

Is your cloud always on? With an Always On cloud you won't have to worry about downtime for maintenance or software application code updates, ensuring that your bottom line isn't affected.

Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
OK, one thing that wasn't mentioned here:

please ensure your system is fast enough to handle XP.  I personally wouldn't put it on anything slower than a PIII.  

so, if you've got an older PII, I'd say stick with Win98 or upgrade your system.  

XP really needs some decent system resources and RAM isn't the only one it needs . . .
It all depends what you are doing with it.

From a convenience point of view, if you use or intend to use any usb peripherals like these new memory stick pendrives, then XP is excellent at detecting and using them.  You don't even have to think about installing drivers, it just does it.

If you like tinkering with the operating system and feeling as if you are controlling it, then stick with Win98SE for now.  There are thousands of resources out there and everyone-and-their granny knows about fixes and tweaks for it.

If you want a stable system over which you have less control and more protection from clumsy cockups like I've made, then go for XP. Be aware that you may well get a number of compatibility errors if you are using existing software issued before XP or even as it was coming out. Support is building up now as some of the shortfalls are being realised, and most software sellers now have XP drivers, patches, updates etc.

I used it on a Pentium II machine with 256MB RAM and a 32MB graphics card, but had to turn off all the fancy animated menu's etc back to a basic looking interface because they slowed it down to an unacceptable level. Even then, it struggled a bit. As it stood, there would have been no sense changing from Win98SE on that machine.

It does, however work acceptably on a Pentium III 450MHz machine with the same amount of RAM and graphics card. The only thing which I really found faster than Win98SE on that same machine was the boot sequence though.

On a Pentium 4 1.7GHz with 512MB RAM and a 32MB Graphics card, I feel that it is faster than Win98SE than Win98 on the same machine.

The choice is very subjective, but if you have older programmes, check compatibility first.
Comments about speed and age of your computer
should be considered, I think you will find that
you will be able to run most software programs whatever
their age, Hardware is a horse of a different color,
I had to get a new multi-function PSC and my old
web cam would not function under XP.

Hardware Compatibility List
This is the place to check and see if a piece of hardware has been (positively) tested with Windows XP. The Hardware Compatibility List is available on line [1.7MB]. If your hardware is not listed there, it doesn't mean that it won't run, but there is a chance that you could run into some problems. In that case, check with the manufacturer of the hardware for a Windows XP driver. If a Windows XP driver isn't available, you can use a Windows 2000 driver. Windows XP will throw some warnings at you that you are about to install a driver which is not verified for Windows XP (well, we already knew that!); just select Install anyway.


[langalist] LangaList Standard Edition 2002-06-13  
Date: 6/12/2002 10:29:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: fred@langa.com

Free XP Info Sites

- a Windows XP Software Compatibility
     Site. Site states "Find out whether your applications and
     games will work on the new Windows Operating System".


PC WORLD  9-2002  PP75


Right Click on a DOS Program and Select Properties from the pop-up menu.
Most of the tabs in the Properties Dialog box will be familiar, but the Compatibility
Tab is new.  The lets you set the program to run at a resolution of 640 x 480.  You
Can also disable the default visual themes that Windows XP imposes on programs.

There is also a less obvious  and more powerful tool, by modifying the Config.sys
And Autoexec.bat files. Windows XP lets you define a customized Config.sys and
Autoexe.bat for each Dos Program.

First copy the C:\Windows\System32\Config.nt and C:\Windows\System32\
Autoexec.nt files to the directory of your DOS Program, then edit them to
Reflect the configuration you want.  Save them with a new name.  Bring up
The properties dialog for the DOS Program, move to the Program Tab and
Click on the Advanced Button.  Enter the Config and Autoexec filenames you
Created to run the program and Windows XP will run the program in its own
Customized environment.  This dialog also lets you try to slow down the DOS
Programs based upon the clock speed of your processor.  Programs that run well
On 50 Mhz can be unusable on an 850Mhz system without this emulation.

See also:


2, 6/13/2002 12:00:52 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From:      smartcomputing@email.smartcomputing.com

Run Old Programs
Windows XP is particularly friendly for most old Windows programs, even some intended for DOS. If you have any difficulty running an old program, try this: Using Windows Explorer, find the program file, right-click it, and select Properties. Click the Run This Program In Compatibility Mode For checkbox. Select the appropriate Windows version for which the program was designed and click the appropriate Display Settings checkbox(es). If you need help, click the Learn More About Program Compatibility link; otherwise, click OK. You should now be able to double-click the program file to run it.

Subj: Neat Net Tricks Standard Issue # 134 - October 1, 2002  
Date: 9/30/2002 4:16:36 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: NNT@silver.lyris.net

02. XP COMPATABILITY WITH OLD PROGRAMS.  One of the most powerful features
of Windows XP is its capability to run programs designed for earlier
systems, even DOS.  If you have one of those relics in your closet, dust it
off, browse to the application file for the program in Windows Explorer,
right click to Properties and click the "Run This Program In Compatability
Mode For" box.  Select the Windows version for which the program was
intended and click the Display Settings checkbox appropriate for the
program, if you know the correct settings.  Click OK, then double click on
the program file and take a step back in time.

2. There is additional  Compatability
support on you WinXP CD

More on compatablility, on the xp cd
compatablity wizard on steroids, with over 200 tweaks

An update (Version 2.5) came out in April 2002:


The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT contains four tools.
2 (Application Verifier and PageHeaps) are designed for software
developers to test areas that might pose problems.
But QfixApp and Compatibility Administrator can help
Users tweaks the environmnent so that older programs
May run successfully.

Maybe the following from Microsoft TechNet will be of some help:

The Application Compatibility Toolkit contains
documents and tools to help Microsoft Windows
customers diagnose and resolve application
compatibility issues. These include the Windows
2000 Server and Professional logo documents, the common compatibility issues whitepaper, and
several documents on best testing practices and
tools to help fix compatibility issues. You can find the application compatibility tool kit on


Subj: [Lockergnome Windows Digest] Steamroller Bread and the Coconuts  
Date: 1/13/2002 5:13:14 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: subscriptions@lockergnome.com

There's an XP switch you might wanna
flip for older devices (such as a parallel port Zip drive

Given the near infinite amount of peripherals in the field today,
it's a wonder Windows works at all. More choice can lend itself to
more problems. Trying to run Windows 98 on a 386 isn't going to
happen, though using a dot matrix printer in Windows XP is (in
theory) feasible. As long as the drivers are rock solid and
compatible, you'll be okay. There's an XP switch you might wanna
flip for older devices (such as a parallel port Zip drive
daisychained to your printer). Tap WIN+Pause, flip to the Hardware
tab, and press the Device Manager button. Cascade the Ports (COM &
LPT) option and double-click your Printer Port (which is most
likely LPT1). Under the Port Settings tab, you'll find an option
to "Enable legacy Plug and Play detection." Place a checkmark in
the field and you'll be golden. Lockergnomie Al Strachan had to
pay Microsoft a handful of cash to discover this. He passed this
wisdom along to the rest of us for free.

The questioner never came back to award any points, but since there is a wealth of good info in the thread, will PAQ it for zero points.

E-E moderator

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