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Upgrading to Windows XP: The Aftermath (Week 1)

4 November 2001

Aftermath - the week after

A lot can happen in one week and this past week with Windows XP was no different. I've decided to document some additional issues with XP so that potential buyers know what they are getting into before hand. It might also help those who are also struggling with the same issues.

1. Direct CD - I listed this first because it hosed me...do not install version 3.X of Direct CD. Roxio tells you not to, Microsoft tells you not to, but I listened to somebody who said they got it to work in Windows XP. They might have, but I followed their instructions and it caused me to have to reinstall Windows. It was that bad. My system became totally unstable. I was getting complete reboots for no apparent reason. It's just not worth the trouble to be one of the few who get Direct CD 3.X working.

2. Infinite Loops - This has manifested itself in two different ways, both of which have been confirmed by many people in Microsoft's own newgroups. First, after you install updates using Windows Update, it still tells you that you need the update. If you check the "View Installation History", it tells you the update was successfully installed. I've seen where some people have fixed this by reinstalling XP, but most people have not found a work around for this. I don't know if it is related, but many people who experience this problem have reinstalled XP over top of itself. I didn't have this problem after the initial install, only after I had to reinstall.

UPDATE: With help from the newsgroups, I was able to correct the problem. However, it requires editing the Registry. WARNING: Create a System Restore Point before editing the Registry and remember, DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. A wrong move editing your Registry could make your system unbootable.

1. Run REGEDIT and find the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Updates\Windows XP\SP1 key

2. Export the key (exporting the Key to your Desktop will work).

3. Delete the SP1 Key and Reboot

4. Rerun Windows Update, everything should now work properly.

Second, sometimes when I logoff and back on again, I will see a message that Windows has recovered from a "serious error". It will then prompt me to send in an error report. After it sends the report the same window pops up again wanting to send another error report. This keeps on happening until I reboot.

3. System Restore - Don't put all your trust into System Restore. Most of the time it works. However, when I needed it the most (the Direct CD fiasco), it told me it was unsuccessful in restoring my system to a point before installing Direct CD. Argh!

4. Windows 95 Compatibility - This is another one of those great tools when they work. If you right click on the icon for an older program and select "Properties", the third tab is "Compatability". You can tell XP to run your program in Windows 95 mode if you so desire. However, because of the way it interfaces with XP, some older programs just won't run in Windows XP.

5. Windows Messenger - If you are like me, you are probably getting tired of having the Windows Messenger icon keep showing up in the Systray. Well there is a way to uninstall it. You have to edit the C:\WINDOWS\inf\sysoc.inf file. Look for the line that says "msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7" and remove the word "hide". Keep the punctuation the same. Now when you go into ADD/REMOVE Programs, Windows Messenger will be an option.

6. Missing Tray Icons - I've consistantly had problems with icons of programs running but not showing up in the Systray. From the multitude of posts I've seen in the newsgroups, this is a widespread problem.

7. LAN Setup - Since my machine was working properly under Windows ME, I figured it would just copy over all of my settings. However, it was taking the machine forever to locate the other PC's on my network. Then I noticed an option to "Perform Additional Tasks" on the main screen for installing Windows XP. Under that section is an option to setup a small network. After going through that procedure, my network is running up to speed again and all shared drives show in Network Places.

8. Temporary Internet Files - This is some kind of quasi-hidden folder thingy. I cannot view the subfolders under this folder using Windows Explorer and Powerdesk Explorer Plus. I know they are there because I can see them with other applications, just not with the two applications I mentioned.

9. CD Burning - By far the most widely reported problems with XP surround CD burners. I've already described the problems you can experience if you try to install an older version of Direct CD. However, many people never get that far...XP doesn't even see their CD burners. I was fortunate that my drive was properly detected. I tried XP's included CD burning capability. While the copying went fine, I had to reboot just to get the drive to eject the CD. However, the only machines that could read the CD I produced were other Win XP machines. How's that for compatibility? I placed the file on our network at work and thought I was screwed because no machines could read the file enough to delete it. I could just imagine our tape backup crashing because it could n't read a file. Eventually I went into DOS and was able to remove the file.

More Final Thoughts

This last item is more of a rant than anything. With the long BETA period that Microsoft used for Windows XP, no manufacturer has an excuse for not having software and drivers ready for the launch of XP. And yet, many of us are struggling with those very things. The launch of Windows 2000 had the same problems. Doesn't anyone learn from their mistakes? Consequently, I don't have drivers for my soundcard and scanner. My UPS and CD burning software don't work. And that kind of response from manufacturers is unacceptable.

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