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Windows XP Review

Reader rating: 4 out of 10



Introduction

According to Microsoft, Windows XP is the most important product release since Windows 95.

This How-To Article is a review of Microsoft Windows XP Release Candidate 1.


Windows XP Review

Microsoft Windows XP is very powerful, complete operating system. The three main improvements in Windows XP are:

Improved performance
New, sleek user interface
New powerful features


Improved performance

Windows XP is based on the Windows 2000 code base. This means that the actual programming code of Windows XP is from Windows 2000. If you're a user of Windows 2000, upgrading to Windows XP probably won't bring you much better performance.

If you're a user of Windows 95 or Windows 98, Windows XP is an essential upgrade. Most Windows 95 and 98 users are used to a very unstable operating system, with crashes being almost unavoidable. With Windows XP, crashes are much less frequent. Some testers of Windows XP have, however, reported more crashes in it than in Windows 2000 (the code that Window XP is built on.)

The good performance of Windows XP does come with a price, though: massive system requirements. In order for Windows XP to run on your machine, you must have at least 128 MB of RAM. (Some testers recommend at least 256 MB of RAM.) You must also have an Intel Pentium II-300 mHz or faster. Generally, Intel Celeron processors are not recommended.


New, sleek user interface

Do you use MSN Explorer? Windows XP's new interface can be thought of as this type of style. (Screenshots of Windows XP can be found at Microsoft's Windows XP web site)

Use of the new interface isn't required, and you can easily switch between the new and classic Windows 2000 versions. Some testers of Windows XP have found the new interface confusing.


New powerful features

Do you use MSN Messenger? How about NetMeeting? Windows XP replaces both of these products with a bit of MSN Messenger and a bit of NetMeeting. This new product is called Windows Messenger.

Windows Messenger is compatible with MSN Messenger, but not with NetMeeting. Windows Messenger makes online chatting, file sharing, and collaboration easier.

Worried about security with a broadband Internet connection? Windows XP includes a personal firewall. The firewall protects your computer from unauthorized entry. This makes it very difficult for hackers to hack, or enter your system.

Multimedia was a major goal of Windows XP. There are new, easy-to-use tools for anything from digital photography to CD-RW to digital video. Windows XP's multimedia features are a major change to Windows 95 and 98, which included very few, if any helpful tools for working with multimedia. With XP, it's built right in; no need for third-party software.


Conclusion

Windows XP is a very powerful product. Your decision to upgrade really depends on what operating system you are currently using. If you're using Windows 95 or 98, and have the hardware necessary for the upgrade, then you should purchase Windows XP. If you have Windows 2000, then you need to see if the new tools in Windows XP would help you.

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