To XP or not to XP

So Microsoft is all up in a tizzy because a great deal of corporations haven’t made the jump to Windows XP. Personally, I don’t see a reason for any company to go this route in the first place and it really is only a huge waste of money in my opinion. Granted, I believe XP is the best OS this company has put out to date, I just don’t see how it could benefit Corporate America anymore than simply going to (or staying on) Windows 2000 on desktops until Longhorn comes out if it lives up to it’s expectations.

First off, let’s talk about machines in a large networked environment. I’ve been to a few large corporations (working and visiting) and many of my friends work at hefty sized companies as well. Most of these establishments do not have machines that can optimally run XP now. It wouldn’t be a shock to still see Pentium 3 500MHz-1GHz boxes in a typical location with not more than 128 MB of RAM on each of them. Win2k can still run fairly well on these machines, but XP? Most people would rather sit next to the guy in Office Space with the red stapler than live through that nightmare.

Second, does XP really offer anything to a user in a corporate networked environment that Win2k can’t? It’s great for home users with the snazzier GUI, nifty n00b wizards, enhanced multimedia capabilities and some fairly robust hardware support. However, in a work environment, that snazzier GUI requires a better machine with a good chunk of RAM. This is money that can be better spent on upgrading back end systems, let’s say to Windows 2003 if you’re on an NT domain (you wouldn’t believe how many of my buddies are still on NT, let alone lots of others corps). Unless you’re in a multimedia type of business, there’s no need for the enhanced multimedia capabilities on the desktop in a work environment, which again would require a beefier system. Then there’s the process of upgrading the system itself. Microsoft operating system upgrades don’t typically behave themselves nicely and more often than not, they do way more damage than good. Thus you’re stuck with a clean install of the OS and unless you’re on a properly maintained Active Directory infrastructure (screwed again if you’re on NT), it will cost more money in terms of man-hours by manually moving important files to share for safe keeping.

Then there are the stability zealots. From my own personal experience, 2000 is just as stable (if not more) than XP. It all stems from the guts of the machine which you are using. Microsoft operating systems (just as much as almost all flavors of Linux) work best on good name brand hardware. Slapping in Jocko brand network cards, Slammo brand video cards, Babaloo brand sound cards into your machine will probably make your box crash regardless of what OS you put on it. I’d say that’s the number one reason of the incompatibility issues many home users have on their computers. Much like in real life, if you save a few bucks to take a shortcut on something, you’re going to pay for it in the long run.

All in all, while XP is definitely a worthy upgrade for a home user, it just does not make sense for business, even with Service Pack 2 waiting right on the horizon. Microsoft has not made it worthwhile enough for someone like me at work to spend the money on the necessary hardware upgrades now to go to an operating system that is not much more different than my current one if I am running 2000. If I’m unfortunate enough to still be on NT, my ass is more worried about upgrading my servers than some measly desktops now…

One reply on “To XP or not to XP”

  1. Me, I’d prefer XP, simply because it’s more user-friendly than 2000. As someone who has to deal with end-users daily, I like ease of use…

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