From: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx []
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 3:30 PM
To: xxxxx xxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Should I upgrade to Windows XP?

Hi xxxxx,

As usual the answer is not as simple as it should be.

First; XP comes in two versions, XP Professional and XP Home Edition. I will assume that you have the Home version as the professional version has a lot of networking and security capabilities that Home does not. Some of these capabilities, especially the security functions, might be confusing to the home user and cause problems.

Second; XP contains an onerous requirement called activation. This "feature" makes you activate the product within 30 days of installation or it will stop working. The activation takes a snapshot of the hardware your system has and sends a hash of this to the Microsoft web site where an activation key is returned that ties that particular install of Windows to that particular hardware. If you or anyone else were to try installing and activating on another machine activation on this different machine would fail and the installation would stop working in 30 days. If whoever you got this Windows XP from has activated this CD with another machine, your installation would not activate. Activation could also be a problem if you were to install, activate and then update your hardware in the future as it would appear to Windows that it was running on new hardware. You would have to call Microsoft's activation number and explain yourself to get another activation key for your new hardware. There is some leeway before Windows thinks it is running on new hardware, in other words a simple change like more memory or new graphics card is not "supposed" to cause reactivation.

Third; I am not a believer in upgrades. Upgrades tend to upgrade problems into the new operating system and sometimes these problems or misconfigurations in the old OS are amplified in the new OS causing even larger problems. I would, whenever possible, start from scratch (empty hard disk) and do a full install followed by a reinstallation of all Windows applications I use. This is not to say that it doesn't work for a lot of people. Works well for some completely renders the OS unusable for others and somewhere in between for the rest.

Fourth; older hardware and software (usually over 2 years old) may or may not work in Windows XP. Microsoft provides an XP compatibility check package that you can run before trying to upgrade. It is supposed to check everything on your system, both hardware and software, and tell you if anything will not work in XP. Unfortunately this software is very large and lengthy to download from Microsoft's web site.

Fifth; the minimum requirements for Windows XP is a Pentium 300Mhz CPU and 128MB of ram. The least I personally would run it on for a satisfactory experience would be at least a Pentium 600Mhz CPU and 256MB of ram.

I may be sounding like I am trying to talk you out of this but I am only trying to make you aware of the pitfalls. Personally I think XP is the best Windows Microsoft has released yet but nothing is faultless. Upgrading has worked very well for some people and has rendered other peoples computers unusable without a complete reinstall.

I hope this is more helpful than it is confusing, but at least I have made you aware of as much as I can via e-mail.


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