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Fred's Views


Windows XP

Well, I did it. I didn't want to, and I didn't intend to, but I did it. O sure, part of me wanted it. Part of me craved it, new technology, new toys, new, new, new! But most of me wanted to resist. It was too expensive. It was yet another in a long line of Microsoft (and other software publishers') broken promises about products that don't work as intended, and that are only "fixed" by purchasing expensive upgrades that also failed to deliver. O, but its siren call was so hard to resist ...

And then I had more problems with my desktop PC. For no certain reason, it would start running as slow as molasses. Shutting it down and restarting would usually stop the problem temporarily. I suspect it has something to do with my favorite game over the last 15 years. It was updated for Windows 95, but not since. It has always caused problems on almost every computer it has been installed on, but I'm addicted to it. But the clincher was an ad I noticed for Staples. An instant $40 rebate on Windows XP Home edition. That lowered the price to an almost acceptable $99 Canadian. I couldn't resist.

It took me only a day and a half to get it installed. Admittedly, it was largely my fault, but Microsoft still earns 100% of the blame. If Microsoft would try to solve the problem of piracy instead of wasting resources on designing fallible anti-piracy technological absurdities that only make using Microsoft products more difficult for those of us who try to stay "honest", it would have been installed in under an hour. Knowing Windows history, I wanted to "clean install" Windows XP on a different drive. I finally discovered an easier way to do it, although it still involves installing Windows ME first. By the way, there's no rescue disk for Windows XP I'm not sure what Microsoft expects us to do when XP refuses to load - which, if there is anything you can depend upon about Microsoft products, that's it - someday it will refuse to load.

But this isn't intended to be yet another Microsoft diatribe. So, let's spend a few moments discussing what Microsoft "appeared" to get right in this release.

I'm sure I'll discover more to like about XP, just as I will probably discover more not to like, so, let's now consider what I dislike about it.

As it comes off the shelf, I'd compare Windows XP to MSN Explorer. Looks nice, although it gets away somewhat from the standard look and feel of Windows, which I always feel is a bad mistake. But it is not nearly as functional as previous versions have been, right out of the box, just as "MSN Explorer" is not as functional as even though I believe they share the same engine underneath. Don't get me wrong. I've no reason yet to believe that, under the hood, XP isn't a major improvement, it's just that you will have an inordinate amount of tweaking to do before it becomes user friendly and powerful.

Should you jump on the bandwagon and get XP? If you can get a copy at a reasonable price (under $100 Canadian), then go for it. Otherwise, you may want to wait until you really need it.

Copyright © 2002 by Fred Oldfield. All rights reserved.


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