The BySky Computer Advisor
What to buy
What should you buy? > Operating System Software
So, before you even THINK about what kind of processor, hard drive size or any piece of hardware, you need to consider which Operating System you will want to use.
Now, being very familiar with Microsoft Operating Systems for the PC, we are going to configure IBM Compatibles in this discussion. You may be very partial to Apple Computers, but we won't be of any help from this point on.
If you are debating whether to get
an Apple or a PC, we still have to look at the applications.. There is a magnitude of difference in the amount of
software available for a PC vs an Apple. Apples are primarily for those
people in the graphics arts fields that have been working with Apples all
of their careers. Many of you will be VERY disappointed when you go
to purchase or download applications off the Web and find that 95% of them
will not run on your Apple Mac. If you are a graphics design studio or sound studio, then MAC is a good choice for you applications.
Today in the PC world, the operating system for the personal computer is from Microsoft. You can also purchase Unix or Linux if you are really techie. If you are planing on using Unix, chances are you would not be reading this.
So here is what is available in a nutshell. See the Advanced Networking section for server edition information.We have listened to many users tell us about how they bought a cheap PC with XP Home Edition and could not get it to work on their office LAN. Here are the differences.
Which one will most people
If you are buying new workstations for work, get XP Pro (or on a used machine, Windows 2000 Pro). You can use Win98 or Win98ME on network nodes as well for very simple dedicated applications, but will want to upgrade soon since Microsoft does not support Win98 any longer.
So the decision about which PC operating system you get is based on:
1. Whether you need to connect to a host network domain (a
local area network, like in your office, that has a WindowsNT or Winows2000/2003
SERVER). Microsoft says you may use ALL versions to create simple peer-to-peer networks,
but only the PRO versions to automatically log into domains with network servers. However, we have installed Win98ME and Win98 as network nodes on domains (you have to manually log in each time).
For a comparison of the different XP operating systems visit this page.
If you are use to using Windows 98, this page, will explain the difference between 98 and XP.
Since XP Home Edition comes bundled with almost all PCs today, you will need to purchase an upgrade if you want the additional features. There is no need to buy a completely new license. Purchase upgrade licenses and save money.
Now that you have the proper operating
system picked out for your environment, you need to make sure that all the
software you want to use will work with it.
We'll talk applications in the next session, but for now, just remember that you will need to know for sure that any special or custom applications you need will run on the OS you are getting.
If you are upgrading, the applications you have been running may not move over to the new OS easily or at all. See the upgrade section for more information.
This article is copyrighted by John Waters.