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Vol. 2, Issue 13
February 22, 2000

From the Mouth of Madness:

loonyboi 2000

by Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

 

 

his past weekend, I, like I’m sure lots of people (or perhaps not), made the decision that I was going to upgrade from Windows 9x to Windows 2000. This was, of course, not an easy decision. There have been numerous reports about the number of bugs and flaws in the program (upwards of 60,000 according to some reports) and incompatible hardware problems.

So, before I actually bought the program, I downloaded a handy little program Microsoft released that checks your system’s hardware and lets you know how ready for Windows 2000 you are. I was quite lucky – almost all of my hardware was perfectly compatible with Win 2k. You’ll note I said almost. Don’t be surprised if that happens to you as well...so much hardware isn’t Windows 2000 compatible, that chances are that if your computer has components that are over a year old, you've got some incompatible hardware. In my case, my printer and scanner were singled out as non-compatible.

I wasn’t so bothered by that, because a printer I could just hook up to a Windows 9x computer on my network and use it as a shared printer. The scanner, well, again, I could just use on another computer. At least my video card (a TNT 2 Ultra) and sound card (Diamond Monster Sound MX300) were ready. What did bother me a bit, was the news that my version of Norton SystemWorks wasn’t going to run under Win 2k.

Now, I’ve become quite reliant on Norton Utilities lately. It’s great – it tells me when my drives are too fragmented, it protects me from viruses, all around, it’s just a really useful product. But sadly, it ain’t ready for Win 2k. And even worse, Symantec doesn’t offer a version of most of the utilities that will work. They have an NT version of Norton AntiVirus (possibly the most important of the various utilities in SystemWorks) but you can’t just download an upgrade to the Windows 9x version – you have to buy an entirely new product. So begrudgingly, I bought Norton AntiVirus – again.

Now that I had decided to purchase Windows 2000, I had to actually buy the damn thing. There are a few different versions you can buy: Windows 2000 Professional (for workstations), Windows 2000 Server (for well...network servers) and Windows 2000 Advanced Server (for large network servers). And of course, all of these are offered in both standalone and upgrade packages. Despite the fact that the upgrade is about $100 cheaper, I decided to purchase the full Windows 2000 Professional package. While you get a nice break on the upgrade version, that means you have to have an OS pre-installed before you can add Windows 2000. For the most stability, you’re better off reformatting your hard drive and doing a clean install. And while I’m using it as a server for some things on my network, paying $900 for a five-user license just didn’t make any sense for me.

So, I got my full version of Windows 2000 Professional. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box, is how lazy Microsoft has gotten lately. Instead of a comprehensive instruction manual/reference guide, you get a dinky little “quick start guide” and a slightly larger “getting started” book. Now, maybe I’ve gotten spoiled by the huge tomes included with Macromedia and Adobe programs, but I can’t tell you how useful those phonebooks can be. The help system in Windows 2000 is basically the next evolution of the HTML help in Windows 98, and it works quite well, but it’s still not the same as a comprehensive book. Instead of including one, Microsoft makes you buy an additional book – or twelve.

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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. From the Mouth of Madness is © 2000 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you strange, strange lad you.