A Tricky Decision: Upgrading Your Operating System

August 2001
by Reid Goldsborough

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Should you upgrade your operating system?

Computer users are faced with this question every time Microsoft, Apple, or one of the other operating-system developers releases a new version. It’s a crucial question.

Answering “yes” could make productive new operating-system tools available to you, or it could create headaches if your existing programs or devices aren’t compatible with it. Answering “no” could save you money and avoid hassles, or it could prevent you from upgrading your other programs.

Windows XP Pros and Cons

The big operating-system buzz these days for Windows users is the upcoming release of Windows XP, which represents a convergence of Microsoft’s business and consumer operating systems and is thus the successor to both Windows 2000 and Windows Me. Due out later this year, it’s designed to work with a wide array of programs and devices, unlike Windows 2000.

Running through a beta, or test, version revealed some welcome additions, such as an Internet firewall to keep intruders out and a roll-back tool, first featured in Windows Me, that lets you restore previous system settings if they get corrupted.

XP is marred, however, by a draconian new scheme to prevent unauthorized sharing of the program. Upon installation, the new operating system generates an ID number based upon your system’s configuration and transmits it to Microsoft. Change your system’s configuration, and you’ll have to do this all over again. It would…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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