Friday, August 22, 2008

Small Windows XP FAQ

Does the Home or Pro version include IIS?
Only the Pro version has it.

I installed the Pro version but I can't find IIS.
The Pro installation doesn't install IIS by default. Go to Start->Control Panels->Add/Remove Programs, and click on "Add Windows Components". IIS will be listed in there. 

How many computers can I install XP on?
Microsoft allows you to install XP on only one computer. Technically, it's been like this all along except there's been no way to enforce it. Microsoft's new Authentication System forces XP installations to link the PC, the CD Key, and an ID number that identifies your computer's components together, which means that you can't install XP from the same CD on another PC. You can read more about Windows XP Activation if you click here.

Will my programs work under Windows XP?
That's a complicated issue. Most modern programs have been written to work on Windows 95 and above, all the way to Windows XP using an API called Win32. By using this API, it guarantees that the application will work on any Win32 supported platform, so long as the application was properly written to Microsoft's guidelines. If an application wasn't written properly, it has the potential to break under not only XP, but any future OS. Now, programs that ran under DOS might not work at all due to a whole slew of reasons. Any popular DOS applications and games are sure to have a support forum, so check them out if you can.

Just in case your application doesn't work properly under Windows XP, there's a "Compatability Mode" in which your application will run in an environment similar to a previous operating system. Currently, the operating system choices are:

Windows 95
Windows 98/ME
Windows NT (Service Pack 5)
Windows 2000

So if you're having trouble with a particular application or game under XP, right click on the application's icon and click on the "Compatability" tab. You can also set a forced resolution of 640x480, force 256 (8-bit) color, and force the system to disable themes.

If I upgrade from Windows 98 or ME to Windows XP, can I revert back?
Yes, but I haven't done it myself so I don't know what the consequences are from upgrading, and then downgrading again. If you upgraded, there should be an item in "Add/Remove Programs" that allows you to uninstall XP. Note: if you upgraded to XP, and then changed your file system to NTFS, you cannot go back to 98 or ME since those operating systems don't understand how NTFS works.

Will my games work under Windows XP?
This is even more complicated than the application issue. Games are supposed to be written to not only the Win32 API, but any one of many different graphics APIs such as Direct 3D or OpenGL. Sometimes games take a "short cut" to gain better performance. Since Windows XP is built on a different core than Windows 95, 98, and ME, it's possible that some games won't work. You can read more about games under XP by clicking here.

Can I watch DVDs on Windows XP?
Not "out of the box", unfortunately. Microsoft is forcing consumers to buy a "DVD Decoder Pack" to allow playback of DVDs. You can read more about that by clicking here.

Can I listen to MP3s with Windows XP?
Yes. Windows Media Player will playback MP3s. If you're Yes. Windows Media Player will playback MP3s. If you're having trouble playing MP3s with Windows Media Player, make sure you have the latest update.

Can I rip MP3s with Windows XP?
Just like the DVD issue, you cannot rip MP3s with XP "out of the box". You'll have to buy the "MP3 Pack" which allows you to add MP3 ripping capabilities to Windows Media Player. However, you can use Music Match Jukebox and other third-party rippers as you have before, so long as they work under XP (chances are they do, but check the web pages of the applications to be sure). You can read more about music under XP by clicking here.

Can I have multiple operating systems installed on the same computer alongside Windows XP?
Yes. There's a procedure that's involved in order to do it properly. If you're installing Windows XP on a machine that already has another Windows OS, you have to make sure that you can install XP on a seperate partition, or a seperate hard drive. You cannot install XP on the same hard drive or partition that already has another operating system on it, meaning two OS's can't share the same space at the same time. The key is to install Windows XP last, this way the NT boot loader, which allows you to choose which OS to load at boot time, is installed by the XP installer. Microsoft has an article about multibooting.

What are the requirements for running Windows XP?
The minimum requirements can be found by clicking here.

If I'm buying the XP upgrade version, do I have to install over my old OS, or can I install fresh?
You can most certainly install fresh. When installing XP, you'll be prompted for your previous OS's CD. Once XP sees that it's a valid CD, you switch CDs again and the XP installer continues on its merry way.

What are the upgrade paths for Windows XP? Do I need to buy the full version?
All the valid upgrade paths for the Home and Pro versions can be found by clicking here.

I got a PC from with a restore CD instead of an actual Windows installer CD, is it considered valid for an upgrade?
This is tricky. Some PC manufacturers give the user a "Restore CD" which, although has a version of Windows on it, is nothing more than a "snapshot" of the hard drive when the user opened the box for the first time. Chances are, when the XP upgrade asks for the previous Windows OS CD, it will reject the Restore CD since it wasn't made by Microsoft. Your best bet would be to check with the manufacturer of your PC and see if you have an upgrade option. I'm still looking on Microsoft's site for a definitive answer on this.

Will Windows 2000 drivers run under XP? I heard that XP is just Windows 2000 with a new face.
There's no guarantee that Win2k drivers will work under XP. I wouldn't suggest even trying since it might make your system unstable. The best you can do is to check with your device's manufacturer first and see if they already have XP drivers ready for you to download from their web site.

I see there are two versions of XP - Home and Professional. Which one should I get?
Microsoft did a very good job of splitting the two versions, and making sure that one group doesn't need the features of the other flavor of XP. The only issue I can see i Microsoft did a very good job of splitting the two versions, and making sure that one group doesn't need the features of the other flavor of XP. The only issue I can see is the multi-processor support you get from the Pro version, and if it will affect gaming. Click here to read Microsoft's comparison of the two.


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