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Should I choose 2000 or XP pro in a school network

Posted on 2004-10-18
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
Sounds like a dumb question: but it aint.  Grateful for an answer to the 2 following questions:

One
From the standpoint of a network administrator, general network maintenance, security, stability, smooth running of programs and attached hardware, is it really worth spending the time and hassle of upgrading from 2000 pro to XP-pro in a 2003 Server environment??

Two
I have licences for 17 used identical Dell  2000 pro machines.  We have just purchased another 18 identical Siemens machines and unexpectedly received 18 XP-pro licences instead of 2000 which I had expected.  Should I run 2000 on 17 and XP on the other 18?  Or should I just run 2000 on all of them?  Would it be simpler to maintain just a 2000 network.

The other reason for using 2000, is that all of the machines have only 256 meg RAM which is ideal for 2000 but not for XP.  

Please don't bother recommending upgrading everthing to XP.  That is out of the question.
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Question by:Alistair7
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Luc Franken earned 175 total points
ID: 12340795
Hi Alistair7,

In this case, as you're already having win2k computers on the network, and as you're allowed to run win2k on winXP pro licences. I suggest you to stay with win2k for the easiest maintenance and handling. Also the speed of win2k still isn't matched by winXP and probably never will.

Greetings,

LucF
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by:infotrader
ID: 12340895
From a cost-management stand-point, I'd say that leave everything as it is.  There are some improvements for XP, but not enough, in my mind, for such a big project.

You should, however, keep Windows XP Pro on the new computers if it already comes with it.  The rule of thumb on new hardware is that you shouldn't try to "downgrade" it so it matches your existing old machines.  Consider to slowly phase out the Win2K machine eventually would be a wise move (such as replacing it with a XP machine when it dies).

Of course, if you'd like to use some of the newer feature of the Windows XP, such as the new firewall feature with POPUP blocker, etc., then you'd have no choice but to upgrade it.

You might also consider getting something like "Norton Ghost".  I'd recommend make a good image of the one of the good DELL machine and one of the Seimens (XP).  Now you have two images that'd cover both the old and new machines.  If you do change your mind later about upgrading, you can upgrade one machine from win2k to Xp, then make a ghost image... then use Ghost Walker or Sysprep to replace the SID and roll out the new image to all the other machines!!!

In short, It shouldn't be that much different to support a mixed XP/2000 environment since the fundamental core of XP is Windows 2000!!!  If all the machines are the same, then I'd say go for it, make everything identical for easy maintenence.  As it stands right now, whoever is supporting those machines will need a set of drivers/software/image for Dell and one set for the new ones anyway, so you really aren't benefitting from the O.S. downgrade.

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by:robrandon
robrandon earned 150 total points
ID: 12341273
I would knock everything back to Windows 2000, assuming the Siemens hardware supports it.  This way you have a single image to support.  Like infotrader said, pick up a copy of Norton Ghost or other disk imaging software, or even setup a RIS server.  That way if you ever need to reset a computer you can have it up and running fairly quickly.

Since this is a school, I would guess you also want to lock down the computers pretty well.  It would probably be easier managing all that on one OS instead of two.  

Since you already have half of your licenses as XP, eventually it may be easy for you to get all of them upgraded (I know, not right now, but eventually) because it can be seen as half the cost.  And once again, you will have one OS to manage.

It's much easier than a mixed environment.
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by:infotrader
ID: 12341349
I think You still need two seperate images, one for Siemens and one for the old Dell, because hardware and driver differences can really mess you up anyway, so I would vote for dual images :-)  That way, you have 50% less computers to worry about when you do the upgrade :-)

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by:Alistair7
ID: 12341486
LucF, infotrader and robrandon

thanks for the response.

Already have and use Ghost 8.  I'll be using 2 images.  The "old" used machines are P4 1.4 GHz purchased recently with 2000.  

I'm a little surprised infotrader that you advised against going back to 2000, bearing in mind there is only 256 meg RAM and LucF's comment about 2000 being faster.
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by:robrandon
ID: 12341496
I think if you use Sysprep and have the proper drivers saved on the image, you can get away with one image.  But either way, I think we are in agreement.

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by:infotrader
ID: 12341647
I also think we are in agreement as well.

I don't like rolling back because:

1.  Unless you'll be doing a lot of calculations and stuff, 256MB should be enough for your everyday application at school, most of what is probably web browsing anyway.

2.  It's an eventualality that you'll need to upgrade it, so why not get a head start, especially if the OS comes with the hardware

3.  Although there isn't a whole lot of differences, some of the new features of XP is worth taking a look at...

4.  Most of your users probably is more familiar with XP anyway.  If not, it is supposed to be more "user friendly", so hopefully that'd cut down on your "user education"

5.  Having a newer O.S. raises the perception for the users that the school is "investing" in them.  Although you and I know that there isn't much difference but morale-wise, they'd feel like they are using the latest and greatest and probably won't complain as much!!!

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by:Luc Franken
ID: 12341677
The main reason why I suggest using all win2k is that with tools like SUS you'll only have to manage one OS to apply security patches. The extra security which came with winXP XP2 might be working against you when managing a network like you have, especially if this is for a student network (which are known for trying to circumvent security measures, hope you're not managing a student network)
Win2k is exactly as stable as winXP, and all security updates are the same except for the added functionalities with SP2 (which makes SP2 not the average SP) Why would you want your users to have a popup blocker? They shouldn't be watching those sites anyway... etc, etc.
Also, 64 MB is the minimum for win2k, 128 is the minimum for winXP. At this moment I'm running win2k on only 170MB of allocated RAM (I have 1GB) but on exactly the same computer winXP uses 265MB of allocated RAM (with almost the same software, and exactly the same software at boottime) I believe winXP is a memmory hungry "upgrade"

One little other thing, as you are the sysadmin and you feel comfortable with win2k. Stick to it, you'll know where to find things faster if you stick to it. And you can plan on a mayor upgrade in the future to update all OSses on all computers to a new version if needed (next version of windows has the codename Longhorn, if you have friends at MS, you might be able to get a BETA and take a look at it)

LucF
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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 12342006
Quite humorous to read some of your comments.  Thanks for so much feedback.

Yes I am "managing" a student network.  Although I'm not sure I've managed to "manage" anything yet!!  Fortunately the little darlings are too naive yet to realize how much damage they can do in the network if they really apply their little minds to the task.  So I am capiltalising on their temporary ignorance and attempting to put in place the needed security.

As for future upgrades, I'm already decided!!  I want to move to Linux both at school and home.  Linux for schools is being developed currently.  So in 4 or 5 years time I hope to go over to Linux and wave goodbye permanently to Mr Gates.  May he rest in peace.

But for now..... I think I'm drifting towards 2000.  I'll just take an image of XP on one of the Siemens, and keep it in reserve just in case, in 5 years ..........................  I want to burn it on my Linux celebration bonfire.
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by:infotrader
infotrader earned 175 total points
ID: 12342096
It's just a matter of preference... I used to support all Win2K machines, but as my customer base expands, I find it inevitable that I have to move more and more towards XP as the medium.  I also understand the memory issue as well, but heck, 256MB is enough to run all of your "approved" applications, right?  :-P

If it's up to me, I'm sticking with whatever OS the hardware comes in.  I hate upgrade/downgrade/whatever...  Although I am a sysadmin, I hate to touch computers unless I have really big incentives (boss requirement, compatibility, testing, etc.).  So... whatever ships with the computer, you should stick with it.

Generally speaking, you'll get better drivers and stuff for your newer computers as well.  You should also keep in mind that some manufacturers will not support your hardware/computer, unless it is in the same configuration as how it is shipped.  For example, if your computer breaks down, and you try to return/RMA it, they may tell you that they won't support it because the O.S. is not supported by that particular machine or that it has been "tempered" with....  I know this doesn't make too much sense from a consumer stand point, but they will use this arguement to tell you that because you might not have properly "installed" the O.S. and messed around with their "original configuration", they cannot tell you if it is software problem/hardware problem, or simply configuration problem...

Either way, it's your call...  As you can see, we are all seasoned SysAdmin here, and there are many different approaches to the same problem, and they are all correct!!!

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by:Alistair7
ID: 12345949
thanks for all the advice
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by:Luc Franken
ID: 12349498
Glad to help :)

LucF
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