Picking An OS

This is a question that crops up regularly, especially as people consider holiday PC purchases:

Fred, I am a regular reader of your newsletter – and quite like it. I have a question:
For desktop, which is more recommended among the two – XP or Win2Kpro. I have win2kpro on my laptop and am inclined to shift to XP (looks, frequency of updates). Should I (/not)? Please advise. Best regards, Pradeep Sanyal

For a general purpose OS, XP Pro is probably the best-available choice: it’s powerful, configurable, and offers the widest hardware support (more so than Win2K, Linux or the Mac). There’s also more software available for it than for any other platform.

If your hardware is *known* to be supported by Win2K or Linux, and if all the software you want to run also runs on Win2K or Linux, then they can be fine choices. Similarly, if Mac software fully meets your needs, and you don’t mind the more limited choices and higher prices of the Apple world, a Mac can be a fine machine.

But XP keeps more options open for you than any alternative. It runs on more hardware, from inexpensive no-name PCs to top-of-the-line boxes. It also will be supported by Microsoft longer than Win2K; which will matter more in future years. For all its warts— and it does have them, as do all operating systems— I think XP is currently the best-available general purpose OS.

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.