NEWS AND RESOURCES

What's New in Technology for October, 2000

Windows 2000 and Me
Regardless of what you may personally think of Bill Gates, youíve got to admit heís got this Year 2000 thing covered.

Letís see. First there was Office 2000, along with Publisher 2000 and Front Page 2000. Then there was Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 Server. Now, thereís Windows Millennium Edition (Me).

Since itís out and available now, we thought we might take this opportunity to investigate whether Me is right for you. What we found was the standard mixed answer found in all software decisions Ė yes and no.

First of all, what is Me? Me is meant as a replacement for Windows 98. But is the answer more of a problem than a solution?

The reviews we read say no. Windows Me isnít another ďready, fire, aimĒ product, and overall, the performance of Windows Me is an improvement over Windows 98, but with a few bugs.

The Good ...

Me offers enhancements to Windows 98 that are mainly focused toward home users, not business users. Among the new features are enhanced system stability and better multimedia capabilities. Home networking capabilities and, thus, the ability to share a common Internet access and other file sharing have been enhanced as well.

A new fault correction system called ďSystem RestoreĒ has been added to help users recover from really big system foul-ups, and it seems to work well. This new component takes a picture of the system at the default interval of every 10 hours the system is working. Users can also take a manual picture more frequently. Only critical files are backed up, so if you have a problem with the system, you can restore previously good files without damaging current document files. And the System File Protection feature guards against inadvertently harming critical DLLs.

By removing the ability for a user to restart in the MS-DOS command prompt mode, Microsoft has achieved a 10- to 15-second decrease in the time it takes to boot up a system using Me. For those of us who hate looking at the Windows 98 logo for more than a few seconds, this will be a welcome enhancement.

... The Bad

Unfortunately Me can also boast a slight decrease in normal operating speed over Windows 98. This slight decrease in speed is noticeable in 400MHz systems, but not in systems that run at 600MHz plus.

If you are like many users, you also still have old DOS-based programs that you prefer to run from a DOS command prompt. Windows Me does not provide that option, which is bad, but you can still run DOS-based programs.

Windows Me is not necessarily friendly to all the web products currently in use. For example, one firewall program, Network Ice Corp.ís BlackIce Defender, is not compatible withMe. Itís a pretty safe bet this isnít the only such program.

... The Ugly

Just as with prior upgrade versions of Windows 98, Windows Me is not free Ė it costs about $90.

What About that 2000 Thing?

Where WindowsMe is geared toward the home computer and Internet user, Windows 2000 Professional is geared more toward the business user.

Windows 2000 Professional, which is based on the Windows 2000 program, is more reliable than itsMe, and provides greater security capabilities thanMe. It is built to be used on desktop and mobile computers, which allows the business traveler greater freedom to access the home office or the Internet more readily. Windows 2000 also supports cutting-edge web languages such as Dynamic HTML and Extensible Markup Language, both of which are an integral part of presenting financial information in an appealing and user-friendly manner.

So Whatís the Bottom Line?

The bottom line to all of this is donít go out and blindly upgrade toMe unless it gives you newer functionality that you really want. Although newer operating systems are generally supposed to work with older programs, this is not always the case. If you are bent on acquiring the latest and greatest Windows product, review all the current software on your critical computer(s) and make certain there wonít be any compatibility issues.

From a purely economical standpoint, if your current operating system works for you, there is no reason to changeMe. Additionally, reviews donít tell the full story. And there is really no need to buy the first cut at any new operating system if all you are doing is upgrading an existing system. We always prefer to let someone else find the bugs and let Microsoft fix them before we upgrade to any new operating system.

If your decision to get a new operating system is being driven by the addition of one or more machines, then it makes sense to purchase 2000 for your businessMe for home purposes. But before you do, make sure the software you intend on running is not incompatible with the new operating system.

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