Upgrading, Activating, and Coexisting with Windows XP


Last time, I gave a short and very limited overview of Windows XP.

Several readers had questions and comments about that article though.

First, a question from reader Sean McK.:

"Does WinXP run on FAT32? Is it designed to migrate Win9x to WinXP?

Or how does it coexist?"

You can run Windows XP using either NTFS or FAT32 partitions. As with

Windows 2000, MS recommends that you use NTFS partitions, but Windows

XP will read and write FAT, FAT32, and NTFS disks.

You can upgrade from Windows 98/Me to Windows XP Home without losing

much in the way of drivers; only the USB to serial port adapter drivers

failed to work for me. Upgrading from Windows 2000 to Window XP

Professional resulted in no loss at all. In fact, we gained a SanDisk

USB Compact Flash reader that works in Windows XP without installing

any drivers other than those included in the OS. We have not tried

upgrading Windows 98/Me to Windows XP Professional.

If you have a second partition available, then you can install Windows

XP (either version) to this second partition by running the XP Setup

disc in the existing Windows environment. Windows will provide a dual

boot menu that allows you to select one of the two operating systems on


Reader Kamalesh T. has some comments and questions:

"Thanks for your WinXP overview relating some of what we can expect

from upgrading. I was wondering, though, if you've noticed any UI

enhancements in XP? You mentioned a new XP UI, while still being

able to revert-back to the Win2000 UI.

After being in the industry for almost ten years now, I've been

disappointed by the lack of any windows management evolution in

the OS. New ideas surrounding minimizing clicks, mouse travel, and

keystrokes to perform everyday tasks haven't materialized with

each new iteration of Windows. My litmus test for a new OS would

be: Can I do anything faster, thus increasing my productivity,

using this new upgrade?

Would you agree?"

Windows XP does offer a modified user interface, which I personally

find easier to work with than the standard UI. My wife, Sue, is now

using Windows XP Home, and she likes the new interface too. However, I

suspect that this new UI, being more of a dressed up Windows interface

than a serious departure from the classic Windows 9x/Me/NT 4/2000

interface, falls short you're expectations. Is it faster? Maybe. It

would only be faster though, if you find it easier to use. Nothing is

really strikingly different about the new UI, except that it looks


One more reader question, whose name I was unable to identify:

"You wrote that 'The only potential problem is Microsoft's

intention for us to re-activate Windows any time we install it on

another computer.' Does this mean that you have to get some type

of release from Microsoft for the operating system to work?"

Understand that we're talking about the beta version, so I don't really

know what Microsoft will do when XP is released. However, the beta

works as follows. When you install XP, you'll be asked if you want to

activate the system using the Internet. If you're connected to the

Internet, then you can activate the system at this time. Activation

sends a hardware profile of your computer to Microsoft, so if you

change your computer (or motherboard), then you will need to re-

activate the new installation. If you choose not to activate the system

when you install it, then you will have 11 days to activate it. The OS

will stop running at the end of the 11 days if you have not activated

it. For anyone without an Internet connection, a phone number is

available to call for activation.

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