Microsoft's Windows XP arrives with great fanfare


October 28, 2001


Microsoft released its much-awaited next-generation Windows XP operating system last week to much hype and fan fair.

In some areas, shoppers lined up in the wee hours of the morning to be among the first to buy the new software.

One of Windows XP's strong points is stability, or so that's the story I hear from those who have used it. It is supposed to be much more stable than my current computer operating system, Microsoft Windows 98 SE.

Those of us with PCs that are of fairly recent vintage will probably take the "If it isn't broke don't fix it" route. Should I decide to buy or build a new PC, I'll switch to Windows XP then.

Of course, that depends too on the features that XP supports. As those of us still using older versions of Windows know, Bill Gates and company want us to upgrade our software.

Windows XP will probably be a minor boost to new PC sales, but not enough to push them back anywhere near they have been in recent years.

Microsoft has reportedly spent $500 million to market Windows XP, so don't be surprised where you see -- or hear -- it advertised.

One of the most-disliked features you hear is the complicated licensing policy that Microsoft has adopted with XP.

While Microsoft has always officially forbidden users to put the same copy of Windows on more than one PC, it couldn't enforce that rule. It's been a common practice among users with more than one PC to often use the same installation CD on both computers.

Until now, Microsoft couldn't do anything about it beyond its tersely word legalese-packed licensing agreements.

It's new activation system thwarts piracy, but it also becomes a hassle. With a new installation, it requires users to send a code to Microsoft over the Internet. Once installed on a computer, the hardware can't change much without contacting Microsoft to request them to reactivate the Windows XP software.

The new activation system could also complicate computer upgrades.

But for all the complications, there are some benefits for Windows XP users. For starters, it shouldn't crash as much as Windows 95 and Windows 98, and it has a lot of multimedia features built in.

Windows XP also requires a little more computing horsepower than previous operating systems. Microsoft recommends a 300-Mhz or faster processor and 128 megabytes of RAM.

For the latest news, visit Microsoft's Web site,

SAFE SITES. New Jersey officials have removed some pages from state Web sites because of fears they might prove helpful to terrorists in planning attacks.

The state's Department of Environmental Protection removed a database listing the hazardous chemicals and substances used or stored at 33,000 businesses throughout the state.

State Web sites also removed maps showing locations of New Jersey's reservoirs, which serve four million people.

Federal Web sites have also removed pages that could be useful in planning potential terrorist attacks.

Federal agencies have removed pages about the nation's nuclear power plants, pipelines, road mapping data and other information.

Some private Web sites have also voluntarily removed information for similar reasons.

The Federation of American Scientists has removed data information on its site about federal facilities and installations.

RED CROSS HOAX. A harmful computer program is being spread by disguising itself as an e-mail donation form for the American Red Cross.

When the e-mail attachment called Septer.Trojan, is activated, it prompts people to complete a donation form to help the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The form includes a spot for credit card data. The data is transmitted to a Web site that is not affiliated with the America Red Cross.

While this hoax doesn't spread itself to other users, it's one of those things that users are likely to forward to friends, co-workers and family -- particularly since it uses the name of a trusted organization.

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