Windows XP may not be what you thought

Windows XP, the Windows eXPerience will be coming soon to a retailer near you. Hopefully, though, it won't be coming to an office desktop near you. Or near any of your users, for that matter.

Windows XP, the Windows eXPerience (I thought that was what the "blue screen" was) will be coming soon to a retailer near you.

Hopefully, though, it won't be coming to an office desktop near you. Or near any of your users, for that matter.

XP is, first and foremost, an entertainment experience - games, multimedia, TV, movies, music - it's a game machine, set-top box, DVD player and audio-combo rolled into one. Just the things you've been trying so hard to eliminate from your desktop machines (and who really wants to watch movies on a 15-inch screen in 256 "dazzling" coloUrs?).

XP is about the "shared experience" of family computing. Lots of good new things for a multiuser machine - but how many of your users share their PC?

XP introduces yet another version of the Windows graphical user interface (GUI). If you've followed the recommended trend you've gone from DOS to Windows 3.X to NT 4 to Windows 2000 Professional - and changed the GUI each time! Just one more reason for the Macintosh-lovers to chuckle - Apple Computer got the GUI right the first time.

Then there's the feature many are touting as the best new thing to come to the Windows desktop since the Help system - the ability to take control of another PC across the internet in a sort of ad hoc, easy-to-setup, quick-and-dirty VPN system. Supposedly, this is so that you - the knowledgeable Windows user - can connect to your mom or dad's PC and fix whatever they've managed to screw up.

I understand the hackers and crackers threw parties when they heard about this feature. Of course, Microsoft assured us that it will be secure - just like Exchange, Internet Explorer, Active Basic, Windows Scripting and all those other technologies that seem to be compromised within a day of their release.

XP may be more robust and reliable than Windows 9X/ME - it is built on the NT/2000 kernel. But you aren't running 9X or ME on your business desktops, are you? Shame on you! To upgrade to XP, you'll need to invest in just as much hardware as to upgrade to Win 2000 Professional, so do the right thing and go for the business operating system. Don't be fooled when Microsoft announces the "business version" of XP - unless they remove all of the stuff I mentioned earlier, it doesn't belong on your desktops. Don't even think about it.

Kearns, a former network administrator, is a freelance writer and consultant in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at wired@vquill.com.

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