We decided that we were going
to have to learn the newest system if we were going to teach either Senior
Comp students or those in some short classes being developed. Most new
computers are delivered with either the home or professional version of
Windows XP and we were using Win 98SE.
We obtained a copy of Windows XP Professional for our Toshiba laptop
and we figured that we would try the dreaded “upgrade” from the 98SE instead
of a “clean” install.
Our reasoning, such as it was, was that we have a small hard drive on
the laptop and Joe has been making noises about getting a bigger one. Try
the upgrade and if it crashes the computer, no sweat since all the important
data has been backed up and the new hard drive could have the XP installed
to a completely clean drive.
So we opened the box and pulled out the contents. There was a folder
with the CD and a small manual covering the installation.
We were urged to run the compatibility check as part of the installation
just to be sure we knew whether our hardware and software was compatible.
We were told that our BIOS was outdated so we downloaded the latest from
the supplier. That took about an hour since the laptop only has a modem
and I couldn’t use the DSL. (Gads! We forgot just how slow a modem really
There were a few warnings about some of the software and about some
printers that were in memory but don’t exist in our house. After
that we clicked “install” and we were off to the races.
I was told that it would take 72 minutes to install so I relaxed, played
a few computer games on the big machine and watched. It took about
80 minutes for the installation to complete and I was asked a few more
For example, each user can have their own password, screen configuration
and you can lock out the users ability to do anything to programs, hard
drives, etc. Joe is logged in as the system administrator and Marion
has her own screen along with “a guest” to allow the grandkids access if
necessary (while traveling for example).
The controversial “activation” feature popped up and I was given the
option of activating the system and registration at the same time. The
computer dialed an 800 number and I watched to see how long it took. At
two minutes 10 seconds I was told activation had failed and to try again
I finished the prompts and wound up back at the same basic startup screen
I was used to with a few changes at the very bottom where the green “start”
button and blue bar of the distinctive XP screen were. Everything looked
the same as before basically and I was also looking at a “thing” like the
terrible paperclip help aid found in Word.
It went away but a balloon offered to have me activate the XP system
so I tried it. At one minute seven seconds a screen appeared and told me
that I had successfully activated the system and thanked me.
Everything seems to be working well as we prepare this report in order
to get it in for our editors deadline and I am really pleased with the
ease of upgrading. Heck, we might even try it on the big machine
with all the devices hooked to it.
The system identified a problem with the DVD player on the Toshiba and,
with permission, called the number and started downloading. All of a sudden
the screen saver kicked in and it looked like I lost about 30 minutes of
I went back to the guest access and the download was still ticking away
which would not be true under the old system.
You know, I think I might just like XP. It took me six years to give
up Windows 3.1 so adopting a new system is a big jump for us but this time
it just may be worth it.