Microsoft officially launched their newest version of the Windows Operating System this month. It started earlier in the month with the release of new PC’s, primarily Pentium IV’s, with Windows XP preloaded. This new system provides a new look and new reliability and recovery capabilities to the World’s most popular software program.
On October 25th Windows XP became available to the general public without the need to buy a new computer, although you likely need a fairly new machine to effectively drive the new system. At an upgrade cost of $149 and up, this version of Windows is slightly more expensive than its 9x versions, but less expensive than Windows 2000 was.
This new version of Windows marks the fusion of technologies as Windows 95, 98 & Millennium Edition are joined to the Windows NT & 2000 product line to form a single operating system platform. Versions will still be available separately for Home & Corporate use with the home version lacking some of the networking functionality of the corporate version. The home version will also be priced lower than the corporate edition.
Like most new versions of Windows each new system requires more physical resources to load and run it. Physical load size for Windows XP runs anywhere from 500 mb to 1.5 gb according to some sources. A minimum of 64 mb of Ram Memory is required with 256 mb recommended for optimum performance. A fast Intel Celeron, Pentium III or preferably a Pentium IV is the recommended engine to run this system.
What this ultimately provides is a single stable platform reportably much more reliable than earlier 9x versions but with similar ease of use and compatibility.
Windows XP Home Edition comes with new activation requirements. You must register the product with Microsoft to activate it. This can be done via the Internet or by phone and puts the serial number of your version of Windows and the serial number of your computer on file with Microsoft. This way they can track whether users are loading one upgrade on more than one computer. Contrary to the opinion of many computer users, software licenses only cover the use of the product on one computer. If you give a copy of Windows XP to a friend the copy will have the same serial number and activation will set off alarms in the Microsoft offices.
While some industry pundits have criticized this move, I believe that it is the only way to help stem the tide of software piracy that has become all to common on the world’s computers. Many companies use various software programs extensively and have in some cases no licenses to validate their use. Copyrighted materials such as books, CD’s, Video’s and software are protected by law and the penalties can be severe for copying them and using them without proper license.
Together with the activation concept that was actually common in the early 80’s Microsoft, Symantec and other software companies have introduced the Product Life Cycle concept. After a period of time, say 5 years, products will no longer be supported or qualify for reduced upgrade pricing. When Windows Millennium Edition came out they introduced tiered pricing to indicate this direction. Upgrading from Windows 98 was $70, while upgrading from Windows 95 was $120. Again this is an unfortunate reality, as companies cannot afford to support multiple older versions of their software programs.