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GeForce4 Specs Compared [an error occurred while processing this directive] Upgrading to Win XP
     

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A Practical Guide for Upgrading to Windows XP

28 October 2001

The Aftermath

I was impressed with how smoothly the install went, but that is not to say that everything went perfectly after the upgrade. As with most OS upgrades, some programs are left in the dust and this one was no different. Below is a list of items (in no particular order) that I noticed after the upgrade.

1. Soundblaster Live! - While Creative Labs makes good soundcards, their driver situation is a mess. If you ever visited their site and tried to figure out which update you needed, you will know what I mean. Unfortunately, their approach to Windows XP has muddied the waters even more. Their are new Windows XP drivers for SOME of the Soundblaster Live! cards but not all. The rest of the Live! cards won't get optimized drivers until the END OF NOVEMBER. Why the frick can't they use a unified driver like NVIDIA? Also, by default, the Rear speakers were disabled. You have to go into Control Panel>Sounds & Audio Devices and select Advanced under the Speaker Settings section to enable them. Finally, with Creative Labs recent decision to distribute their software updates via CD's (you pay shipping!), Soundblaster products are looking a tad less appealing.

2. Power DVD - If you are using version 3.0 of PowerDVD, then Cyberlink has a free upgrade for it. However, if you are using an earlier version, you will be forced to buy the upgrade. Windows Media Player 8 can play DVD's, but with out the proper codecs, it just crashes.

3. Easy CD Creater 4.X - The Upgrade Advisor tells you this program is not compatible with Windows XP. Roxio's site tells you the same thing. So here's another upgrade you will have to purchase. (note: one reader said that he was able to get Easy CD Creater 4 working in XP...I have not confirmed this).

4. WinTidy 95 - Not a big deal, but I loved a little program called WinTidy 95. It would save your Desktop Items and restore them if your Desktop got whacked. It won't run under XP.

5. BlackIce Defender - I had both a hardware and software firewall. Unfortunately, my software firewall, BlackIce Defender, was not compatible with XP. However, Windows XP comes with a built-in software firewall but it is disabled by default. To enable it, go to the Advanced Properties of your network connection and select the firewall..

6. Systray Anomalies - I've had a few problems with icons not showing up in the System Tray or appearing, but be corrupted. XP seems to have the most problem with ICQ. Even disabling the "hide icon" feature didn't help.

7. Video Drivers - Windows XP loaded drivers for my GeForce 2, but the Display Properties were missing many options. Installing the lastest drivers from NVIDIA's site fixed the problem. Unfortunately, there is no "optimal" refresh option.

8. Red Alert 2/Yuri's Revenge - Had to reinstall both games. Shortly after a game was started, all my buildings would disappear and it would say that the mission failed. My saved games were fine after the reinstall.

9. Start Menu - While some publications have raved about the new Start Menu, I can't stand it. Fortunately, by right-clicking on the task bar and selecting Properties>Start Menu, you can switch back to the classic format.

10. It's not over yet - If you thought the OS install was complete, think again. There are almost 20MB worth of updates over on the Windows Update site.

10. Benchmarks - I ran both 3D Mark 2001 and DroneZmark. The results were nearly identical to my Windows ME results. Using SiSoft Sandra 2001, I noticed a slight improvement in memory performance and a slight dip in hard drive performance (FAT32).

11. TweakUI - Microsoft has released the final version of their Powertoys. This is a set of unsupported applets that greatly improve aspects of Windows XP. One of those applets is TweakUI which gives control over many of XP's "hidden" features.

Final Thoughts

There are many little annoyances (too numerous to mention), but in general, the whole process went a lot smoother then I predicted. My biggest gripe would probably be with drivers. With XP being made public a long time ago, you would think manufacturers would have had plenty of time to produce good drivers in a timely manner. In fact, I still need to find new drivers for my printer and scanner.

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