Advantages of Windows 2000/XP over Win9x/ME
Last Updated: 02 Oct 2005
*** PLEASE NOTE: Link(s), If Provided, May Be Wrapped ***
Now that Windows XP is available, the 16-bit and psuedo
32-bit Windows legacy (Win3.x/9x/ME) can finally be put
to rest. Windows 2000/XP has many, many advantages in
performance and stability over the Win9x family, and even
the primary advantage touted by Win9x enthusaists has been
neutralized (e.g. "gaming").
Even with as little as 128MB RAM, most Win2K/XP setups
will be faster than Win9x installed on the same box, but
put 256MB or more in there, and watch the OS shine!
256MB of RAM is the minimum recommended for power users.
So, here are some of the reasons why you should consider
Windows XP (or, at the very least, Windows 2000) as your
preferred Windows desktop.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• HARDWARE & SOFTWARE COMPATIBILITY
• UPGRADING CONSIDERATIONS
• FEATURE SET
• PROBLEMS WITH 3RD PARTY SOFTWARE
• XP ADVANTAGES
• SPECIAL SOFTWARE BUNDLES
As for stability, 2000/XP is far, far more stable than
anything Windows 9x/ME has to offer. Windows users who
embrace 2000/XP will stop having to put up with flaky
systems that require rebooting several times a day or
week. Uptime can finally be counted in months, and not
hours. At the same time, the NT family of OSes are
less tolerant of marginal hardware or timing issues
due to overclocking than Win9x.
Windows XP Home Edition is suitable for most novice
users of computers in a home environment, as they are
not likely to require some of the advanced features
that XP Pro offers. However, you should bear in mind
that it is less flexible in terms of configuration, so
if you have any aspirations above simple email and
web browsing, you should consider XP Pro instead.
HARDWARE & SOFTWARE COMPATIBILITY
While many Win9x/ME/NT4 applications are compatible
with Windows 2000/XP, the same is not necessarily true
of drivers or utilities. This is because the low-level
interaction of utilities and drivers with the OS can
change between versions of the OS, and many changes
have been made at the OS level in a concerted effort
to improve stability.
Another blessing with Win2K/XP is that you no longer
have to rely on 3rd party tools for memory management,
or for anti-crash protection, or any of that other mess
that Win9x was so famous for. The only 3rd party tools
you really need are anti-virus tools and defraggers
(if you want more features than the native app offers).
Beyond that, I would stay away from the "Disk Doctor"
or "System Doctor" type products that vendors are going
to want to carry over from Win9x. They're not needed
in the least, and are likely to cause more grief than
Because XP is based on 2000 (it's officially listed
as NT 5.1) it will support many of the drivers that
work under 2000 -- but not all of them. Thankfully,
XP supports Driver Rollback, which will help you if
you install a driver that the OS is not fond of.
Always check the HCL to determine support for all
your peripherals, and check with your vendor to
obtain the latest compatible drivers.
In most instances, unless you have taken very good
care of your system under its current OS, you won't
want to upgrade to the new OS -- you'll want to make
a clean installation.
This is particularly true of Win9x to anything, but
upgrades from NT to 2000/XP or 2000 to XP are very
easy to manage, and do not suffer from the typical
loss of performance that you will likely experience
when upgrading a Win9x system.
If you are unsure of the proper approach to take,
try dual-booting first, to get a feel for the new
environment without losing all your settings.
Here is an overview of the functionality that XP Pro
supports, but XP Home does not:
• Advanced Security ...... Advanced NTFS Permissions and User Rights
• Dynamic Disks .......... On-the-fly manipulation of Storage
• Domain Support ......... Allows Membership in an NT/2000/XP domain
• Group Policies ......... Allows Central Configuration of Policies
• EFS .................... Encrypted File System
• MultiLingual Support ... Change Dialog Boxes based on Language
• Offline Folders ........ File Synchronization for Mobile Systems
• Remote Desktop ......... Remote Control via Terminal Services
• SMP .................... Dual Processor support
XP Home is a good bet for folks who never aspired to
the feature set of Win2K Pro, and have no desire to set
sophisticated access controls on their systems. If you
share your system with multiple users, and you want to
be able to lock things down outside the "Documents and
Settings" area, then you *really* need to get XP Pro.
XP Home is limited to 5 simultaneous inbound connections.
In the event that you outgrow XP Home, it is a fairly
painless upgrade to XP Pro -- be sure to disable AV
software and other 3rd party utils.
PROBLEMS WITH 3RD PARTY SOFTWARE
The following apps/utils are programs that I've seen play
an important role in XP instability or problems. There
are probably many folks successfully running these apps
on their XP systems, but I've seen/heard enough issues
where they are involved to consider posting a warning
• CA Innoculan-IT
• Norton System Doctor
• Roxio EasyCD Creator
• Roxio GoBack
If you have issues with your XP installation and you
have one of these apps installed, you might want to
disable it while troubleshooting. I'll update the
list as I gather more reports of issues...
From my testing, XP has a number of advantages over
Windows 2000, in particular, Remote Desktop. And it is
vastly superior to all previous versions of Windows.
• Remote Desktop
• New, Improved HELP System
• Enhanced Application/Game compatibility
• Better Hibernation (and Power Management, in general)
• USB Storage Devices can be undocked without issue
• Better support for docking stations
• System Restore
• Driver Rollback
• Defrag has command line parameters (easy scheduling)
• Cool Interface (very subjective)
• Remote Assistance
• Support for secondary IP configuration
• Virtual Desktops (via PowerToys)
• Easy manipulation of images (via PowerToys)
• More, built-in commands (e.g. TASKLIST)
• Improved Command Shell capabilities
• Fast User Switching (not available in a domain, though)
• REGEDIT (now supports Permissions and MultiString)
• Visual Themes
• Files and Settings Migration Wizard
• Proper Hyperthreading support
• Expanded NETSH functionality
• More built-in admin tools
• Support for IDE drives over 137GB
SPECIAL SOFTWARE BUNDLES
The Microsoft ActionPack allows IT Professionals and
System Resellers to obtain sales material and 5-user
Not For Resale (NFR) copies of various Microsoft server
and desktop products at a great price.
MSDN Subscriptions are also a good way to obtain various
Microsoft OSes, Tools and other goodies throughout the
year. They range from the high-priced "Universal" to the
low-end "Library" subscription.
If you are eligible for Academic pricing, then obtaining
the "MSDN Operating Systems" subscription is a great and
inexpensive way to get multi-user licenses (10 licenses
per subscription) of Windows for your home. Even without
Academic pricing, this particular MSDN Subscription can
be obtained for under $600 for a 10-user license of the
OS, plus tools and other info.
MANAGING WINDOWS 2000/XP/2003
GAMING WITH XP
WIN2K/XP PERFORMANCE OPTIONS
WINDOWS 9X/ME RESOURCE USAGE
LICENSING, PIRACY & WPA
PRODUCT LIFECYCLE & SUPPORT
BETA & PREVIEW INFO
• Only4Gurus ............. http://www.only4gurus.com/
• "REAL" Windows = NT, 2000, XP, 2003 and beyond.
• Upgrading from XP Home to XP Pro is pretty painless,
provided you disable AV software and other 3rd party
• The HELP system in XP is greatly improved over
previous versions of Windows. If you're new to
Windows 2000 or XP you should definitely take a
tour and see what your new OS offers. It's very
different from Win9x/ME.
• If you want to control different access levels
for users of your machine, you really need XP Pro
as opposed to XP Home.
• XP Home is limited to 5 simultaneous inbound
connections, while XP Pro can support 10 simultaneous
• I heartily recommend XP Pro even for happy Win2K
users, and the new features add serious value --
particularly if you administer systems.
• Even if your organization has just moved to Windows
2000, you should evaluate Windows XP for limited use
within your company. There are some features, like
Remote Desktop, that might provide considerable ROI
in the short-term. If you're currently on NT4 or
Win9x, then the decision to move is a no-brainer:
stop wasting time and convert those clients to XP...
• The compatiblity modes that are available for
Win2K since SP2 have greatly improved the gaming
• Check out the Microsoft ActionPack for excellent
pricing on NT/2000/XP. Also look into an MSDN
• Although it didn't have it in early betas, XP Home
does include support for Multiple Monitors.
• Be sure to install the Support Tools from the CD
• 64-bit Windows is currently available for Itanium-based
systems, but a version of XP and 2003 for AMD64-based
systems is currently being developed and should be
available in early 2004.