(this page is no longer being developed)
|Index Page||To view the whole site please click on >> SITE MAP||Next Page Printers|
Windows XP is a much more secure than
versions 95 and 98, which are now unsuitable for the
See also Here Windows Vista , Windows 7 and 8 are the current replacements for Windows XP, 2000 and Media Edition.
n.b. Microsoft says that they will cease to support Windows XP in April 2014
This page has been updated to some extent (Aug 2012)
Is it possible to jump from XP to Windows 7 ? The answer is "with great difficulty" You can see a video about this at CNET HERE. But it involves the backing up of your complete hard disk, the purchase of TWO external hard disks and my advice is " Forget it ". Get a machine with it already installed and transfer your data to it from the old machine. When you are happy with W7, flog your old machine. You will thank me ! bear in mind that Windows 8 is due to appear in the Autumn of 2012. Bear in mind that Microsoft has been trying rid itself of XP since 2008 but has extended help several times. In my humble opinion when the 50% of the world still using XP in 2014 shout loud enough Microsoft will probably not call 'Time!" on it even then
In April 2009 Microsoft ended professional XP and Office 2003 support. - but that doesnt necessarily mean anyone should be in a hurry to upgrade. They will continue to offer extended support packages on both products through to 8 April 2014, allowing businesses and individuals plenty of time to consider their options before plumping for a new operating system. Security updates will be pumped out free of charge for Office 2003 and XP until 4 August 2014.
A friend in the USA has developed a new instruction page on XP. Worth a look at http://bestnetguru.com/winxp
Microsoft has now agreed to continue bugfixes for XP until 2014. PC manufacturing companies were still supplying Netbooks with it in 2012.
Whither XP ? People might wonder whether, in view of the fact that XP was no longer available on new PCs, they should upgrade Windows 7 or 8. After all, there were a lot of beefs about Vista (some programs and hardware no longer work) and there is the additional cost. In 2012 I am still using a Vista PC and have found it just as stable as my laptop with Windows 7.
Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP was an important release. It was a roll up of all the previous updates but left XP looking substantially the same. The full update (including all versions and languages) downloads as a 316 Mb compressed file called KB936929. but, using the Update Centre, it will vary according to what configuration you have and may be as little as 70Mb. It took 30 minutes to download on my 2Mb/s broadband and a great deal longer to install. I think that people on dialup connections should try to get hold of a of an SP3 disk or file on a memory key as it would take many hours to download. If you have a friend who has broadband they could copy the installer program onto your machine via a CD or memory stick. There were numerous complaints on the net of SP3 causing problems. Some saying that it does not get along with certain anti virus programs or processors other than Intel.
At the beginning Service Pack 3 (SP3) was causing problems. If you have these, then to study the article click HERE but most of the bugs have been ironed out. Most of the problems related to Norton Security Suite (again!) giving false positives of viruses and AMD chipped machines which continually rebooted
When Windows Vista appeared on the scene many people wondered whether to upgrade. Guru Fred Langa has this to say on the subject : (for Vista, read Windows 7 or 8)
"Saying "forget about Vista" is sensationalistic and simplistic. Of course, the appearance of Vista didn't suddenly make XP obsolete. XP remains a mainstream operating system. If you're running a well-tuned, stable copy of XP and it meets your needs, there's no four-alarm reason to drop everything and upgrade to Vista right away. But that's not the same thing as saying we should forget about Vista completely. Make no mistake, sooner or later, Vista is in your future. All of Microsoft's products have a defined and published "life cycle," and Microsoft "retired" full support for XP Home and Professional on Apr. 14, 2009. XP continued to work after that date, of course.
Brief History of XP
Windows XP, which came out in 2001 and replaced ME and 98 has had many updates since then. If you install a basic copy you are in for a long job to get it up to date (whether you use SP3 or a piecemeal update). I wouldn't even like to attempt it (again) on a 56k dialup connection. Apart from the download time, the machine has to be rebooted often. Many of the updates overwrite previous updates. It is possible to get the important (vital) SP2 on disk and this helps. Dialup folk were told to leave it on all night to download SP3.
The essential Service pack 1 was released just short of a year after XP on September 9th, 2002. It included the NET Framework, support for USB 2.0 and the expected fixes and security patches. SP1a soon followed to remove the Java virtual machine. The removal was because of a lawsuit with Sun Microsystems.
SP2 (which is another essential) saw the addition of the Windows Security Center, which controlled the use of a new firewall, pop-up blockers, and Windows Automatic Update. Blue tooth and WiFi support were also included as new additions to the operating system. Production of this service pack took major resources and time from Microsoft and required a good amount of time for the users to install. As the years stacked up after this major update, so did the more than 100 added patches and fixes.
n.b. XP users HAVE to have Service Pack 2 (SP2) in order to receive further security updates. So, if you are didn't install SP2 you will be left vulnerable to hacker attack. Get SP2 from http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.
An excellent resource for fixes for XP problems is http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp.htm
XP users are regularly reminded to get updates - especially Security updates) and, since SP2, it has been possible to set your machine to download updates whenever you are on line. Click on the yellow shield which appears on the bottom line. If you contact Microsoft's update site your machine will be checked for the updates you require. There are so many and they are so large it is difficult to keep up to date. See next para.
Service Pack 2 (80 - 110 Mb) for XP turned on the Firewall by default, and had a popup advert blocker, which appears at the top of Internet Explorer. If you click on this you can allow popups for that site either temporarily or permanently. Also some attempt is made to prevent virus infections from attachments, including Zip files. But you still need anti virus software. Control of these facilities is via two new icons in the Control Panel (Firewall and Security Centre). SP2 caused some problems and Microsoft has a site that lists problems that arise. Nero 6 is not very happy with it, though it works. It is advisable to get the update from www.nero.com/en/nero-up.php. Whilst there, you might like to download Nero StartSmart, which is a really simple CD burning variation. You also need to get the latest version of Zone Alarm firewall if you use that one, although I leave it to the Microsoft firewall.
Like Windows ME, XP has a Restore facility to enable you to go back to a previous date's setup, without losing data you have added since. So, if you mess things up or get a virus you should go back to a restore point fairly rapidly. Otherwise you may forget when it happened. I usually go Start, Help, Restore.
Simpler facility to set up one PC for multiple users, all having their own 'Desktop'. You can log out as one user, leaving your processes running, log in to another and back to the first knowing everything will be just as it was. This setup can be managed by a Computer Administrator so as to restrict some users (e.g. children) to certain facilities. However, this does create a more complicated folder system, which is bound to confuse people (and take extra space). Even I lose downloaded files down the rabbit warren of a system. Do remember the name of any such file (e.g. a picture) so, at least you can search for it !
MSN Messenger allowed real time communication with text, voice and video. Messenger has now been overtaken by Skype and will be withdrawn during 2013
You can communicate with your computer from any location as if you were there. You can now invite a technician to take over your PC and fix the problems remotely or you can do the same for other people.
A limited Cdwriting or Rewriting program is included, although you probably also need something like Roxio Easy CD writer or Nero Burning software
File encryption is possible to prevent access by hackers
File and folder compression is possible without them going into 'Zip' format. When compressed files and folders turn blue. Compression, though. is limited. I would leave this alone.
Transfer data and settings from an old computer to a new one via a wizard (but they have to be compatible with Windows XP)
Cleaner Desktop design and Settings control.
An advanced Task Manager, which shows you what processes are in operation and how much memory they are using, whether on one machine or on a network If a program crashes you may still have to hit Ctl+Alt+Del and close it from this screen (if you can find it on the list)
A Utilities Manager (Windows key + U) which allows a dreadful,
unintelligible, voice (Narrator) to attempt to say what is on your screen.
I would recommend that any blind or partially sited person obtains
more advanced software. Try Thunder or the
Slightly more useful is its ability to say the keys you touch. There is also an on screen keyboard, which might be useful for some people.
The taskbar will hide icons which are rarely used with a double arrow to access these. You can turn off this facility if you prefer. The Cleanup Wizard: XP tries to be helpful by clearing infrequently used icons off your desktop. This facility can be removed via Control Panel, Display, Desktop, Customize and unticking "Run Desktop Cleanup every 60 days"
The Windows Picture and Fax Viewer is the best addition to the
Windows program This has full screen display, thumbnail,
printing and slideshow features. Just click on a picture file and click the
Printer and it will enable you to print any number of pictures per page,
even turning them round to fit the paper. Great ! You do not have to obtain
an additional graphic program for this, though I recommend you get one such
as Picasa for the purpose of resizing and compressing graphics.
There is a Publish to Web feature which enables you to send pictures to a Microsoft server. Or you can upload your pictures so they can be printed for you - at a cost. But see the page on Picasa.
The digital camera, video and scanning Wizards of ME are retained. Windows Movie Maker (V2) is now on the Windows Update site and the latest version of the Media Player are also included. This now includes DVD movie playback
The My Music Folder allows you to play music or shop for music on line. You can view tracks by artist, album track number or even see an album cover. You can extract ('rip') music from a CD. Windows Media program will compress sound files to WMA files, even smaller than MP3's and MUCH smaller than WAV files.
The Windows Media Video Format (WMV) will allow as much as 1.5 hours of video to be fitted into a gigabyte. You can vary the quality and size and, therefore, the file size.
XP may suddenly say "There is an error, please click here so it can be reported to Microsoft". In most cases that is the last you hear of it. However, sometimes you get a response telling you what to do about it. You can turn this feature off.
Internet Explorer is included, although the version may still vulnerable to virus attack until you get the regular patches from Microsoft. Some organisations are suggesting that your do not use Internet Explorer or Outlook Express because of these vulnerabilities. They usually suggest programs from www.mozilla.com.
The local area network features have been strengthened and simplified and includes Firewall protection. Security features are being strengthened by SP2. Wireless networking is catered for.
For older programs there is a Compatibility Mode, so that most Windows programs should run. You right click the program and choose the Windows Version under which it should run. I have even found DOS programs will run, sometimes in a smaller window.
There is a Help and Support Centre, partly on the PC and partly on line. The Welcome tutorial is strengthened with sound and video
XP can be installed alongside the old system in another partition or an upgrade can be bought. Installation is straightforward but time consuming.
A minimum of 128Mb RAM is required to run XP and, because of all the new features, PC's of over 400Mhz are recommended. 1.5gb of disk space is also needed. An older machine would not be suitable. Buy new with XP installed.
You may find that, when you are on line, XP does not show the usual 'connection icon' at the bottom of the screen. To do this go to the Control Panel (Classic Mode), Network Connections, right click your connection, click Properties, General and click "Show icon in notification area when connected".
An Internet Connection Firewall is provided by XP. To activate this, in the same area as above (in Properties) click the Advanced Tab and tick "Protect my Computer and Network..." Click OK (but not with AOL. I use Zone Alarm)
TIP : XP has a lot of things going on in the background. To check what is running and what can run go Start, Run and type Services.msc. This gives a complete list with details. On mine there were 83 items ! Just pressing Ctl+Alt+Del doesn't give much clue what the programs do.
Windows XP does a lot of thinking for you. For instance, if you add a peripheral, such as a camera or printer it usually recognises what you have done and says something like 'new hardware detected, Epson 640 printer, Windows has installed the software for it and it is ready to use'. But it may say 'new hardware added I haven't a clue what it is; you had better put the the disk in; or sorry,Windows XP doesn't accept that software, try it at your peril but you had better get onto the manufacturer and see if he has got around to writing some new stuff that we do recognise !' Mind you, if you subsequently change the drive layout of your machine (e.g. swap which drives are on which cables, which are Master and which Slave) you will probably need to boot up with your original XP disk to allow XP to sort it out again.
Faxing. The XP Fax facility has to be set up. To see details of the XP fax facility go Start, Help and do a search on the word Fax. It needs a dialup modem (doesn't work on Broadband). It has a Send and Receive facility, providing you PC is left on, and can be set to print a fax on receipt or just viewed with the Fax Viewer.
Should you upgrade ? Consider first that Microsoft has now ceased to support for Windows 98. XP is said to stand for the Experience. It was certainly 'a giant step for man' and it has proved to be more reliable than previous 'consumer' versions. Some people say XP stands for Expensive and if it means that you have to buy a new machine and new software just to run it maybe they are right, although I often recommend this as the easier option. It is not just a matter of the required memory but also the size of hard disk needed to hold the Backup and Restore features.
Worst aspect of XP. Undoubtedly , if you have older equipment or programs you may find that XP does not like one or the other. You may have to abandon a favourite graphics program and learn another. In the case of hardware XP tries to direct you to a place on the internet (it assumes everyone is connected) where you can find the relevant drivers. But some manufacturers haven't got around to rewriting the drivers for all their equipment and you will find many people trawling the net for elusive drivers, even for quite recent printers, scanners, webcams etc. I recently spent a whole day installing a new machine with XP already loaded, just searching for and downloading drivers and things like Anti virus software.
Microsoft certainly did its homework with XP and included many 'add-ons' which you previously had to buy or download - things like the Movie Maker and the picture viewers.
Reinstalling XP Not for the faint hearted
Reinstallation, especially if you intend to reformat the disk, is a big procedure and you need to make sure that you have all the installation disks that were supplied with the PC. This should include disks to reinstall the modem and also the drivers for the screen and sound as all of these would be cleared with a reformat. Obviously you should also have backups of documents and photographs that you wish to keep.
Next you need to make sure that the PC starts by looking at the CD drive. To do this you may need to go into the BIOS Setup. To find which key to press to do this watch your screen as the machine starts. It can be by pressing F2, F8 or the Del key. Make sure that you set the Boot Sequence to start from the CD.
Now, restart your PC with the XP CD in its drive. If you were not supplied with an XP disk that is not a good sign and frankly I would avoid this exercise if at all possible. In any case you will require your registration key as you will have to re-register XP on completion.
When the machine has restarted and settled down you should be given three choices 1) To set Windows XP. 2) To repair XP. 3) To Exit
If you decide to go for a complete install you will be asked to Reformat the drive onto which XP will be installed. It is recommended that you go for a FULL rather than a QUICK reformat. With big hard disks this can take quite a while. After that it is just a question of following the screen instructions. Then it will be necessary to install the drivers referred to earlier. You should realise that it will be necessary to get Windows Security Updates as soon as possible. I would recommend getting an SP2 disk rather than going on line before your machine is properly protected.
Repair If you do not wish to lose all the data on you PC you should
choose to Repair. If you merely go for a repair driver
re-installation should not be necessary unless they were a problem before
the reinstall. Some computers are supplied with an additional disk which
will return the machine to its factory settings. Very useful but you
will still have to reinstall many things that you have added since you got
Site Navigation Links :- Please click on SITE MAP
|Index Page||Top of Page||Next Page|