End OS A Stable, High End Alternative
By Jim Bray
You may not have realized
it from the comparative lack of hype compared to the unleashing of Windows
95, but the recent introduction of Microsofts newest operating system
is a cause for celebration even if you arent a business user with
a huge network.
The new OS is called
Windows 2000 Professional, but people in the real world will more easily
recognize it as Windows NT 5. Its the higher end, business
oriented version of Microsoft Windows, so the average consumer can be
forgiven if they dont know or dont care about it.
Microsoft likes to
talk about the power, the networking capabilities, and total cost of ownership
with Windows 2000 Pro, and thats fine but I have a different
reason to be impressed by it.
Ive been running
Windows 2000 Professional (including prerelease versions) on my workstation
since the summer of 1999 and, for the most part, I like what Ive
experienced. It has most of the benefits of the MS Windows environment,
without most of the frustrations, and thats good news.
strictly as a single user on a workstation. The PC in my home
office is connected to a home network and the server is operated by my
computer whiz son (which means it actually works, rather than if Id
set it up). He has chosen to run the network using Linux, therefore, I
cant really comment on how network people may like the new version
of the Microsoft Operating System.
For those who have
use for such networking capabilities and there are millions of
em worldwide Microsoft has built in lots of tools
and toys for them to play with, including better hardware and software
support and greater ease of use than NT4 and theyve also
thrown in the wonderful Windows 98 interface which, as far as Im
concerned, is the best there is.
Despite the purported
superiority of Linux (and Macintosh, though Ive never agreed with
that), Windows 9x is the easiest and most flexible Operating System to
use and Microsoft just keeps making it nicer all the time.
If only it would be
Windows 2000 also
offers better DirectX support than NT4, which may or may not be important
to you. Its important to me, because I review computer games (which
proves once and for all that life is, indeed, tough), so Im glad
to see the upgrade.
doesnt yet run the TV tuner and DVD player that are built into my
video card, though it will soon, and a few applications mostly
games turn up their noses at it, but on the whole the OS probably
does ninety per cent of what I need it to. I couldnt say that about
Where Windows 2000
really impresses me, however, is in that abovementioned dependability
area. In my admittedly unscientific test (which really amounts to accumulated
experience using the product under everyday conditions which may
actually be the best test of all) the operating system is a dream when
it comes to crashes and hang-ups, especially when compared to Windows
95 and 98.
In fact, it has for
the most part been rock solid and, as millions of Windows users will attest,
thats really something to crow about.
Now, I havent
kept a log, but Id guess that for every 50 times Windows 98 crashes,
Windows 2K Pro has only crashed once or twice - and to me, thats
worth the price of admission.
On the other hand,
that price of admission is steep compared with Windows 98.
And you must remember
that Windows 2000 wont run absolutely everything that Windows 98
will, which is a darn shame. W2K Pro is designed as a heavy duty business
environment, so using it only as a desktop OS may be a bit of a waste.
Things may improve
even more this fall, however, with Windows Millennium Edition (Windows
Me). Microsoft says this new consumer version of Windows will be more
dependable than Windows 98, as well as offering automatic updates, fast
booting, more multimedia capabilities, and a better online experience.
learn from W2K and stick its rock solid stability into the new consumer
If so, I can die a
Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.
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