From the outside it looks like Win98, but on the inside it's NT

From the outside it looks like Win98, but on the inside it's NT

By Michael Cheek

GCN Staff

After all the hype and a three-year-plus wait, the official release next week of Microsoft Windows 2000 seems like a bit of a letdown. But the hulking operating system works'and fairly well.

Win 2000 Professional, the successor to Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, generally performs as promised. If you're looking for the next great OS interface, however, keep looking.



It will come as no surprise that Win 2000 is drive-hungry. It consumes about 750M for the Professional version and 1.2G or more for the Server versions.

Cosmetically, Win 2000 resembles Windows 98 more than it does NT. But the new OS does have the crash-resistant NT kernel. In use, it's like running a stable version of Win98.









The Windows 2000 Control Panel hosts the vital administration tools for client systems running the new Microsoft operating system'giving sysadmins behind-the-scenes control.



It looks so much like Win98 that power users of NT will have to relearn it because the most powerful parts of NT are hidden behind a new facade.

All the same, it's definitely an NT successor. How do I know? I took a risk and simply upgraded my working NT 4.0 client. I succeeded, although the installation did have anomalies. I've installed and uninstalled hundreds of software applications on my 450-MHz Pentium II in the GCN Lab. Many apps tend to leave poltergeists'little reminders of long-deleted programs that annoyingly keep popping up again, and again, and again.

Among my phantoms have been start-up messages about missing files that neither utility apps nor detailed searches of the registry could exorcise.

Win 2000 purged the system of many such demons. Not all disappeared, however. One oddity likely came from an old browser plug-in.

Under NT 4.0, the PC would crash Internet Explorer 5.01 completely'every open window and sometimes the whole OS, forcing a reboot.

The same crash has occurred occasionally since the upgrade to Win 2000, but only the offending window is affected now. Everything else'even another Internet Explorer window'continues to work without incident.

Protected memory seems even more protective under Win 2000.

After the initial in-stallation, I proceeded to upgrade the OSes on a variety of the GCN Lab's desktop, notebook and server systems. There were only a few glitches, mostly related to a lack of software drivers and to incompatible apps such as antivirus programs. Microsoft will likely resolve some such problems by Win 2000's Feb. 17 launch date.









Box Score '''''''''


Windows 2000 Professional

Client operating system


Microsoft Corp.;

Redmond, Wash.;

tel. 425-882-8080

www.microsoft.com

Price: $150 to $215 for upgrades from previous Microsoft OSes; $315 for first-time buyers


+''Friendly, Win98-like interface

+''Powerful, crash-resistant NT underneath

'''Quirky upgrade from Win9x



Real-life requirements:

300-MHz or faster processor, 64M of RAM, 4G hard drive with 1G available, CD-ROM drive



Prior to installation, Win 2000 issues a report on the target system's hardware and software. Windows 9x users should take particular care to read the report and make as many of the suggested corrections as possible.

I found far more glitches going from Win9x to the new OS than when jumping from NT 4.0 to Win 2000.

Longtime NT users should find and use the Computer Management feature under Win 2000's Administrative Tools, which does not appear on the Start menu but in the Control Panel.

Computer Management provides a series of snap-in tools for overall control of Win 2000 on any system.

In the next issue, the GCN Lab will detail how to make smart use of the Computer Management tools, as well as other tips for upgrading to the Win 2000 environment.

Also, check out www.gcn.com/gcnlab for more how-to help. From now until Feb. 25, the site will feature daily postings on Win 2000 tips and tricks.

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