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Windows XP Pro is aimed at the business sector of the market, or the power "advanced" home users.
300 Mhz CPU 128 Mb RAM 1.5 Gb HDD space Keyboard,mouse etc
400+ CPU 256 Mb RAM 10 Gb HDD at least
Installing windows XP is a fairly easy task. Set aside 30-60 mins depending on your processor speed for this task.
To install XP you can either start the CD-ROM from inside your current operating system and install as required. Or, you can reboot the PC and if you know how to set the bios to boot from CD-ROM first and use the CD to boot the system. Alternatively, you can go to some websites and aquire to download the 6 FLOPPY DISC IMAGES needed to boot windows XP installation. BEFORE you start installing - it is advisable for you to run the "compatabilty" checker from your current windows operating system to see if there is either - a) Problematic hardware, b) Driver files that need to be checked online for a XP update c) problematic programs that need patches etc.
Once installing you are presented with the options to either keep your current OS and install XP to run next to it i.e DUAL BOOT ( when loading it lists the 2 Operating systems and you choose by using the up and down and spacebar keys ), to update your current operating system to windows XP and keep all your software, or finally to format the drive you specify and install from there afresh. If you choose to format, Windows asks you if you require either to keep the FAT32 filing system or convert from FAT32 into NTFS. below are the differences between these systems.
FAT32 - coventional system used in home systems thanks to 95,98,ME. Cannot use filenames with symbols in them such as / or ! or &. Default cluster size of 4 Kb and partition must contain 65,527 clusters even if this drive is 100 Gb then the clusters will be larger than 4 Kb. Therefore FAT32 uses a lot of HDD space in the larger models as slack space ( i.e 12 Kb file used in a 24 Kb cluster = 12 Kb slack ). Fat32 Cannot be encrypted.
NTFS - More reliable than FAT32, NTFS can automatically encrypt and decrypt file data as it is read and written to the disk, security minded with Access rights that can be assigned to files and directories, allowing users full access, partial access or no access at all to data on the hard disk. NTFS also supports LARGE HDD's and We're talking very large. Try a theoretical limit of 16 Exabytes, and up to 2 Terabytes. NTFS also houses Native support of long file names and a 16-bit character standard called Unicode (likely the next generation ASCII) and is more FAULT tolerant than FAT32. Also with NTFS you can set aside users a CERTAIN amount of space for their files and programs - great for a household of children on broadband.
Once the filesystem has been chosen and formatted to the drive, Installation is nearly 100% automated. there are only a few points of interaction by the user. These are to insert the activation code and name, network setup and choice of protocols ( best left to default for 99% of users), and also to setup the timezone. Once all this has been completed, a nice interactive walkthrough will appear asking you if you require XP to go online ( Modem required ) to update its files, to setup username, passwords and user account type ( administrator, power-user, restricted ).
Once all this has complete you can either take the walkthrough and find how XP helps with day to day tasks or you can go straight in and use your new OS.
Upon 1st operation you will be shocked. The interface has changed, all your favourite buttons such as "my documents" have gone, but do not be alarmed they can be set to the way YOU want it to be set. You can change XP to how you want it to be, to have your ICONS etc and other endless customising. Each user is allocated their own documents folders, own desktop and each users files are "hidden" unless you put them into the "shared folder" which is allocated to them all.
You will find XP to load quicker than your current Operating System. XP is also better at finding lost files due to the "indexing" it performs under-the-hood so to speak which aids finding that lost ZIP file from 12 weeks ago. XP also supports Mp3 to CDR burning - but this may require a windows update to support your drive 100%.
After a few days you will notice that the Start bar "groups" together all your most used programs. this aids launching them quickly and easily than other OS's from the past. XP also supports lots of file types such as ZIP and mp3 without third party software as well as allowing "on the fly" dragging of files or folders to a CDR/CDRW disc aiding backup procedures. It also allows you easier access to digital cameras and has the option to use your PICTURES as a screensaver on a rotation basis.
Internet is made more secure with the XP built in firewall program. XP allows you to configure this to your delight allowing certain ports access and IF networked it even allows port mapping from 1 PC to the next. Sharing the connection or "bridging" connections is made easier than 1-2-3. Simply by running the wizard and answering 3 easy to answer questions the network will share the connection in 40 seconds flat.
Networking in XP is easier than it actually sounds. Many people shriek at the word "network" but if you follow the network "wizard", then again in under 5 minutes you will have a home network sharing not only the internet but if specified scanners,cameras and printers.
Next the Help system. This has been radically overhauled and is the best place to look for advice and guidance. Help is spilt into small, precise areas and is a vast improvement on Windows ME. it also contains little movies and links to the knowledge database articles at microsoft.
Help and Support from either Microsoft or other areas ( will explain ) is brilliant. If a problem occurs with a program etc, your PC will reboot ( no dreaded Blue Screen Of Death ) and send a report back to Microsoft about the cause of the problem and what occurred. To do this you need a "passport" - fancy name for a hotmail login usually. Microsoft aim to diagnose these reports and supply a remedy within 48 hours and usually do so.
The passport system is also be used for the Windows Messenger system ( think MSN messenger with the ability to use cameras and microphones al la netmeeting ). While using this, if you know a "techno-freak" you can ask this person for "remote" assistance and help fix the problem.
What remote assistance is, is the ability for people many miles away to "log" into your PC and check files, drivers etc - They only have control of your PC when granted and at ANY time you can aquire full 100% total control by pressing the ESC key.
Disabled users are not forgotten by Microsoft and should find it much easier to use XP. They have included Narrator (reads all text displayed upon screen - great for listening to ciao reviews ) and maginifier ( zoomable up to 10 x zoom ) for the hard of sight and virtual keyboard for the lesser mobile as well as alerts to noises for the hard of hearing.
Since installing Windows XP, My PC system has been on for longer and had less crashes and problems. Hell its gone at least 2 weeks without turning off or even disconnecting from the internet before I have reboot. My files are more secure thanks to the user accounts and even encrypted using the windows facilty.
There you have it, My opinion and review of windows XP pro. People know how to use Windows, but XP is nuch better than the others that were rigid and hard to customise. This however, is better for this. All the usual windows functions are here, just more stable than before, usually faster than previous OS's. XP pro is great for all power users or those lucky enough to have DUAL processor systems.