Windows XP a new software generation

On October 25, Microsoft debuted Windows XP, their new operating system. It's the latest in their line of basic software that runs personal computers.

You can't pick up a newspaper, magazine or watch television without seeing advertisements featuring flying people telling us to run out and buy the new Windows XP. Should we?

For most of us, the answer is going to be no. We have perfectly good machines that work just fine. And the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," really applies here.

So, what does Windows XP mean? It does represent the new generation of Windows software. It supposedly combines the best features of the user friendly home software that we all are used to, and the very successful business software that has been out for some time now.

I don't want to try to repeat the millions of words that have been written about Windows XP in the popular and technical press, but the reviews so far have been outstanding. The consensus is that Windows XP is much more stable than Windows 95 or Windows 98 that we have been using on our home machines. This means that we shouldn't experiences the "crashes" we have seen in the past. Fewer messages about "illegal operations," and frozen mouses (mice) should be welcome.

But is that reason to try to upgrade our home machines. In the past, Microsoft Windows upgrades have been known to cause problems. Upgrading isn't simply a matter of putting in a new compact disk.

I visited with Con Tran of Universal Computer Service, 2124 N. Tustin Ave, Santa Ana, to see what his experience has been with the Windows XP upgrades. "Mixed," he says. He has upgraded some machines with few problems but he has had to do extensive work on some machines that people have tried to upgrade themselves at home. One machine got 28 minutes into the upgrade and just stopped.

So, where does Windows XP fit into our future? On new machines. If you plan on purchasing a new computer, request that Windows XP be factory installed and tested. Do not settle for a "free upgrade." If you really want to upgrade a current machine, let Con or another professional do it for you unless you feel very brave.

In the mean time, if you want to see Windows XP, MicroCenter has it installed on a number of their machines. Go in and try it. It looks a little different than Windows 95 or Windows 98 and it has some new features. Than sit back and wait until you buy your next computer with Windows XP installed.

If you would like to hear more about Windows XP, or other computer topics, visit "Coffee and Computers" at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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