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Operating Systems - Which should you use?

There are many operating systems available for you to use on your PC. Linux, Windows, Unix, OS2 and many more. In order to remain within the realm of my expertise this tutorial will deal with windows operating systems only.

Windows XP Vs Win9x...

Windows 98 is really not as bad as the rap that everyone laid on it. It can still be retained in many upgrades and if programmed properly and the proper tweaks are adhered to win98 can remain a very stable system. In fact most of the bad reputation it has received is actually from inexperienced PC users screwing with it or installing a ton of unnecessary crap into it. I personally use win98 on one of my 2 main machines and it has been running stable for about 6 years now. Here are the Stats.

  • BCM QS400BX motherboard
  • 550 Mhz P3 w/ 768Mb PC133 RAM
  • SCSI Card
  • Sound Blaster Platinum Card
  • GForce FX5200 Video Card
  • Monster II Voodoo Card
  • TV Capture Card
  • SN5200 100 Mbit LAN Adapter
  • DVD/RW Drive
  • 3x 40 Gb WD Caviar Drives

I watch TV, Edit Video, Play Lord of the Rings Return of the King by EA games on it, do photo restoration and some 3D modeling on it also, and it isn't a slouch at running my game. It is a bit slow editing video, but not unbearable.

You might recognize this computer from my original article I wrote on building your own PC some 6 years ago. Well, let this machine stand testament to just how much mileage you can get out of a well built PC!

OK enough of that, lets look at the Pros and Cons of WinXP...

CONs

  • Harder to recover from disasters and Virii
  • Autonomous OS is not easily controlled by user
  • Not very backward compatible for software
  • CPU hog
  • Memory hog
  • No true DOS Real Mode
  • Licensing interferes with upgrades and repairs

PROs

  • Handles Hard Drives in excess of 128 Gb
  • Better PnP Support
  • Still Supported by Microsoft
  • Improved USB support
  • More compatible with new hardware
In conclusion... If you are upgrading an existing PC that has win98SE then you should try and stay with it unless you are going to be using drives larger than 128Gb
If you are building a new machine, then by all means you are much better off using either WinXP or Win2K.

As I have pointed out staying with Win98SE has not been a bad nor troublesome experience for me and I see no reason to spend $300 to change to XP needlessly. However be aware that the time is rapidly approaching when Win98 machines will not be upgradable without changing the OS, so it is probably a better choice to build new machine instead of upgrading.

Finally in defense of XP, although it is a memory and CPU hog, a well built machine using today's technology is more than up to the challenge.

OK enough of that, let get back to the Pros and Cons of Win98...

CONs

  • Does not support RAM over 1Gb *
  • Does Not Support HDs over 128 Mb **
  • Is no longer supported by Microsoft

PROs

  • Uses less CPU cycles than XP
  • Has a true DOS mode still available
  • Easier to control preventing OS autonomy
  • Easier to repair and recover from disaster
* Use of more than 512Mb Ram requires some tweaks
** Use of larger HDs thru software translation.

 

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