My machine at home is in a state that needs reformating. Now I have been told it is not good enought to run windows xp, but it could run windows 2000. I was using windows 98 for the last unpteen years and was happy with that. But which is the better OS ?
I now work in IT and Network support, I am often having to upgrade or re-image friends and families PCs, and this is often their dilemma. The answer, essentially, boils down to which OS your computer can comfortably run and application (your use of the system). By “comfortably run” I mean, are you going to be sitting for ages waiting and have to go away and make a cuppa before Word loads.
The “stated” minimum specification for Windows 2000 and XP are: Pentium 133; 64M RAM; 2GB HDD (with 650M free) and 300Mhz CPU; 64MB RAM (128 Recommended); 1.5GB free HDD (For setup and Install), Respectively.
I wouldn’t recommend installing either OS on these systems. Realistically, I wouldn’t recommend installing them on less than ~ 600MHz CPU with upwards of 128M RAM, and this would be far from lightning fast.
If you system specification is good for either, then the deciding factor is performance against application. Windows XP can be said to be better because of the security, support and media enhancements. If the system were a standalone with no Internet connection and is only ever used, say, for Word and Excel, then 2000 would be the better choice, as it would perform slightly better than XP on the same spec. If, however, the system is used largely for Internet and exists in an environment that is not behind a firewall, such as is with Dial-Up or single PC USB modem A/DSL connection, then XP is a better choice as it comes with a built-in Firewall.
Software firewalls, such as ZoneAlarm, can be downloaded and ran with 2000 to provide firewalling. Don’t forget you’re going to want a virus scanner too! AVG Free is reasonable or, for purchase, F-Secure Antivirus (I’m sorry, but I cannot stand Norton or McAfee, from a support view, they’re a nightmare!)
So, all things being equal and the spec allows for either; choose 2000 if the system were not on the Internet, or solely used for word-processing and choose XP if the system is used largely for the Internet and music/multimedia.
I say, if you don't run software that needs XP I would stay with 98SE. It seems to be about as stable as Microsoft gets as long as you have the fix packs installed. Most security exposure is still in stuff you download and open. If you don't feel the urge to open every strange file you get in your ionbox you are usually fine without a lot of extra software. Use a hardware firewall. Less hassle and you cover your whole network with one box.
From what you have all said I have decided that sticking with windows 98SE is the best for me. Old system, ocasional internet access, bit of word processing, so I do not need anything to involved. Just get the extra downloads.
I'd stick with 98SE unless there's some really compelling reason to change (i.e. a program that you "absolutely must have" and it won't run on 98SE).
I'm installing an internet system for one of my local office contracts at the moment. Ideally I would have installed a Unix-based system (e.g. Linux), but as everyone in the place with home computers is already familiar with Windows we decided to go with that. I'm installing 98SE, as I will also need to interface with older DOS applications.
I've had much bigger problems in the past trying to get some old DOS programs set up under XP (and the problems with some under 98SE are more than enough!).
This is certainly another factor to consider if you want to run old DOS applications as well.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 08-10-2006).]
I still keep several native DOS 6.3 systems in the fleet, all but one as MP3 players and my tikibar MP3 player is hardware dual boot (switch flips master/slave bits) so I can bring that one up in W/98 for network driven maintenance. I still use a few DOS programs that run a lot better in native DOS (most notably, Ashton Tate dBase). Most stuff will run in the W/98 DOS box.
There's always the question of is it worth being upgraded. I had an old Celeron based Gateway that I wanted to use in my workshop. I priced a new processor, more ram, bigger hard drive, and a legal compy of XP,and it came out to about $350. Instead I ended up buying an eMachines for about $300. I still hate to throw things away, though. I still have the Gateway, but I might donate it to the high school's Computer Service vo-tech class.
[This message has been edited by PEdoubleNIZZLE (edited 08-10-2006).]
The biggest problem with XP is that it's a memory hog. You need at least 256mb of RAM to run it, and 512mb to run more than 1 program at a time. Win2k isn't nearly so bad. If your PC doesn't have > 256mb, I'd strongly recommend against XP.