After Mick Jagger's fling with Microsoft (MSFT), you stopped paying attention.
Snap back to attention because Windows XP is some good stuff. The XP interface gets your PC communicating in a language you understand. The graphics are friendly and the applications and documents you use all the time are right in front of you. It'll set you back $99 to upgrade and $199 to start anew, good for use on one computer per license -- no cheating, Redmond can tell. Microsoft OKs Windows XP for users with a minimum 128 MB at their disposal and 300 MHz under the hood, so if you're stretching the livelihood of an older machine, forget it. It's still a PC, but Windows XP delivers the Web-like feel Microsoft has been promising for years and holds your hand -- even when you don't need it. XP almost makes using a PC a pleasant experience, making it worth the trip to the computer store.
|Windows XP: A Hit or a Miss?|
|System performance||Didn't crash in weeks of testing; System Restore can recreate an earlier, smooth-running version of your computer.||Only newer computers can get the benefits of Win XP; only runs on one computer per household|
|Graphics and user interface||Simple to use, but not at the level of the annoying animated paper clip. New, condensed taskbar.||If you're not interested in music, pictures or movies, a lot will be wasted on you.|
|Privacy and security||Personal firewall keeps out other local-network users; switches expertly between family member logins.||Constant pitches to use Microsoft .NET products, and the Passport identity and password manager can get creepy.|
XP teaches the Windows interface some manners. To begin, installing the operating system isn't a biggie. Immediately you are greeted by a blue sky and the grass hill reminiscent of
At that point, your options are laid out before you simply. The Start menu no longer bugs you with functions only your company's network administrator uses and gives you the options you want. Email is right up top, as is Internet Explorer and your connection to the Web. Frequently used applications head to the front of the line, so you won't be rooting around and clicking several times to find what you want. As Janet Reno might remind you, however, Windows XP is totally different from the Office suite and its spreadsheet and word processors. Microsoft's online