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Glazer: Windows XP is this computer techs operating system of choice
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Finally, I found an operating system that I like. It’s dependable, doesn’t crash and is easy enough to use that even my 13-year-old finds no problems in it.

The latest from Mac is nice, but that’s not what I’m referring to. Linux has many new offerings, but that’s not it either. Vista? I hardly think so. My operating system of choice is Windows XP Professional. That’s right, a 7-year-old OS and there’s not a thing wrong with it.

Many computer professionals wonder why Vista replaced it. There was nothing wrong with XP. I believe it is the best Microsoft or anyone has to offer to date.

All the hoopla about Vista prior to its release was about it being better, faster and more secure than anything we’ve seen before.

Well it was not.

It turned out to be too expensive and it was not any faster. In fact, with all its visual enhancements, it slowed the system down.

Microsoft quickly had to produce a service pack to fill all Vista’s security holes.

Consumers didn’t know initially that they would need to upgrade certain hardware in order to run Vista in any of its incarnations. Computer users anxious to have the latest and greatest suddenly found they also needed to purchase a larger hard drive, more memory and a stronger video card to run Vista.

Microsoft is taking XP off the market for good after June 30. Many retailers have already stopped selling PCs loaded with XP, opting for the newer Vista. If push comes to shove, you still may be able to talk your store into installing XP on that new computer for you. They’ll probably charge extra for it, but in my opinion it’s worth the cost.

Vista, in its least form will run about $399. Including all of its useless enhancements up to the business edition, will add hundreds of dollars to that already inflated price. XP on the other hand can be purchased for less than $200 for its best version. It’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.

Even if you don’t need a copy of XP now, you may need it eventually. I would suggest you buy one and put it on a shelf until you do need it. If you can’t find a local retailer selling it, seek out one online.

Next year, when you realize a new computer is necessary, why settle for one with a weak, confusing operating system. You’ll have that copy of XP you bought and saved.

As long as you only install it on one PC at a time and you retain the alpha-numerical key that came with it, you can install it anywhere you want. It can be installed in a couple of hours.

If you get a prompt telling you the key is invalid, all it takes is a phone call to Microsoft to straighten it out. The number to call will be on screen and all you need to do is explain that you are transferring the system from one PC to another and they’ll update the key for you.

The worst that would happen is that you may void part of your warranty. Should you need assistance with the operating system from the manufacturer, they would most likely tell you since you changed the OS they couldn’t help you. But there are always others you could call.

As long as you have Windows XP loaded on a reasonably new computer and it has a Pentium 4 (or similar AMD chip), or a dual-core or more processor with at least a gigabyte of RAM, you will have a strong, reliable system.

With either the Home or Professional editions of XP, it remains one of the most solid operating systems ever to be available. It practically networks itself and easily recognizes added printers and other peripherals. You can create or watch videos and music, burn either to optical discs, all with little assistance.

XP is stable, fast and highly customizable. Either by itself or with the aid of third-party applications, you can change just about anything on XP to make it aesthetically pleasing to you.

The clock is ticking on XP.

You’ve got about 90 days to decide whether or not you want the freedom and simplicity of an older, more stable operating system.

Or you can pay extravagantly for a bloated, pretty operating system that will leave you wondering why they changed the names of familiar applications and hid their locations. The choice is yours.

Arthur Glazer is a freelance writer and computer technician from Gainesville.
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