2. Symantec.txt - Caveat Emptor by Judy Lococo An article about the  problems she encountered with her new computer, Windows XP and Norton  Antivirus.  

3. email.txt - Changing email addresses by Don Singleton. An article on  Isp's closing down and changing your email address as well as  alternative solutions.  

4.  Security.txt - The Department of Homeland PC Security by Pat Suarez  - An article on Security for your Computer.  

5. Upgrade.txt - Windows XP: Why You Oughta Upgrade Byline: By Carl  Siechert  An article on upgrading to Windows XP.  


2.Caveat Emptor...  Judy Lococo, APCUG email judyl@apcug.org  


I recently replaced an old computer with a brand, new, sparkling,  whisper-quiet Pentium 4 speed demon.  I asked the vendor to install  Windows XP Professional, and I subsequently installed Office XP  Professional.  There was no other software on this "clean" machine, but  because I have a local area network with another machine in the office,  and the other machine is connected to an ADSL line, I decided I needed a  firewall and an antivirus package on the new machine, too.   Symantec has always had my Antivirus (AV) software protection of choice,  and although there have been a few problems with their products along  the way, it was never enough of an irritation to provoke an article.  But Norton Internet Security 2002 most definitely is.  It is supposed to  include a personal firewall to defend against crackers, antivirus  protection, privacy control to keep your personal information private,  and a parental control to keep your children safe on the Internet.  It  looks very similar to previous releases of Norton Internet Security  (2000 and 2001), which I've used on other machines running Windows 95/98  and Windows NT Workstation 4.0, but the previous versions are not  compatible with Windows XP.  So I installed the latest version to  protect my new workhorse.  


The installation was not fun, and contained several error messages  stating that some script or other was not able to run & did I wish to  continue.  I was finally able to reach the end of the line, and was  prompted to restart the computer, and run a Live Update as soon as  possible.  My computer restarted, and then it restarted, and then it  restarted again, and finally restarted again.  I was wondering if I  would ever be able to keep it on long enough to see the splash screen!  But I did finally get to see the XP screen again, and noticed that the  antivirus icon on the taskbar had a big red "X" through it.  Being such  a good little girl, and always doing as I'm told, g I started the Live  Update, thinking possibly this was why the icon was inactive.  But the  software did not even try to update the antivirus definitions, and even  after asking for all the latest bells and whistles Symantec had, it  still was not enabled.   I tried to enable the AV and it refused from  any point I tried.  After several hours of trying to get this product to  work properly, and calling in the mounties (AKA resident Alpha Geek) to  try to make it work properly, I gave up in exasperation.  


My next strategy was to uninstall the program, as everyone knows by now  that you cannot install one AV over another, and just maybe I could  re-install the software and overcome the problems with the initial  install.  But it refused to let me uninstall it, saying I had to disable  the antivirus part of it first.  But I could not do that anywhere that I  could find, as all it would do was inform me that it was already  disabled.  Finally, the Alpha Geek was able to convince the software  through the XP side of things that, indeed, the antivirus had been  disabled.  However, this was all for naught, as it now said I could not  uninstall it unless I logged in through the "Supervisor" account. There  _was_ no supervisor account!  There were only two accounts on this  machine, my account, and a guest account.   Panic.  Desperation.  Anger at a company who had always been a trusted  friend, and now was just a shareholder's country club.  Finally, disgust  at what choices I now had because of one piece of buggy software that  was not ready for prime time.  


I logged onto Symantec's web page to look for some tech support. After  searching through all the FAQ's, and finding nothing that resembled the  problems I encountered, I tried to contact them with a personal  message.  But there didn't seem to be any place to reach them with a  personal message, only a "forum" where others could post their requests  as well.  So I left a public message in the forum,  asking for guidance  on how to uninstall Norton Internet Security 2002.  


I did find a LOT of other messages from people who were having similar  problems.  Only a handful of them had any replies, and those replies  basically said to use a file on their website to uninstall the  software.  But to do that, one had to hack the registry in order to  disable the antivirus, etc., and the solution was quite convoluted.  Definitely not for the fainthearted, and definitely not something you  wanted to do to a brand-new computer. And the replies to previous  messages were the standard party line, even after some of the  participants explained that their party line did not work either. FWIW,  the solution utility posted on their website was _not supported_ by  Symantec, so if you chose to uninstall the software, using the files off  their website, you did so at your own risk.  


I finally received a response from Aaron at Symantec.  I got the same  party line spiel that all the others did, which means I will have to  spend a lot of time getting my machine back to a point where I can use  it.  So basically, they have wasted a lot of my time, and $60.00 of my  money to tell me that I now have to do it myself.  Hmmm.  I believe they  are the ones who caused it, why aren't they the ones cleaning up their  own mess???  Why hasn't there been a recall of this product? Why don't  they have a _legitimate_ fix for the problems?  Notice problems is  plural.  People are still being snookered into buying this joke,  thinking it is compatible with XP, when plainly it is not.   I think it will be easier for me to just reformat and reinstall than to  try to clean up this fiasco they have caused.  I am perfectly capable of  buggering up  my own machine, without any help from the outside world.  I will now move on to another company who is actually ready to protect  my XP computer, and ready to accept  responsibility for their  mistakes.   I have to wonder, though, if the term "class action" would  hold any incentive for them to get their ACT! together.  Pun not  supported by author...  


Judy is the Past President of APCUG and has been helping User Group  members and officers for many years.  Please send her a note if you use  her article.  There is no restriction against any non-profit group  using the article as long as  it is kept in  context, with proper credit given to the author.  This article is  brought to you by the Editorial  Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG),  an International  organization to which this user group belongs.  ----------------


3.   My Email Address Is Changing  

by Don Singleton Tulsa Computer Society 

From the January 2002 issue of the I/O Port Newsletter   Many people in Tulsa have Cable Modems from Cox, and currently they have  an email address which ends "@home.com", for example my true email  address is "donsingleton@home.com". But that will not last for much  longer  (http://investor.cnet.com/investor/news/newsitem/0-9900-1028-8055607-0.h tml?tag=ltnc).   One alternative is to go to http://mail.yahoo.com/ and signup for a  Yahoo email address. They actually support three forms:  Free Edition, Custom Edition, and Business Edition.  


The free edition should be enough for most people. You will have an  email address like donsingleton@yahoo.com. If you  actually have your own domain name, the second form might make sense,  but if so I would not recommend that you pay Yahoo  $35 a year to register your domain name, but rather I would recommend  you go to some registrar like  http://inexpensivedomains.com (the one I use) and register a domain name  for $15 a year. I am not absolutely certain, because  I cannot be sure without actually doing it, but if one already has their  domain name registered (through InexpensiveDomains),  then it appears Yahoo just charges $10/year for Personal Email services  (5 email addresses), and as long as you authorize  Yahoo to send you a few spam messages you can have them automatically  forward email messages to your ISP provided email  address or you can have them provide you with POP3/SMPT access so that  you can have your email program automatically  get and send email through Yahoo Mail  (http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/mail/pop/index.html).  


This is not your only alternative. If you use InexpensiveDomains to  register your domain name, then for $14.95 per year they  will provide Domain name and e-mail forwarding  (http://inexpensivedomains.com/webhost/forwarding.htm). This means that  you can attach your domain name to any website, even some  of the free ones which don't support personal domain names, AND you can  have your email forwarded to any email address  you want.  


Either of these could be the way I have don@donsingleton.com as my email  address. Actually I use a third alternative. Virtual  Ave / Hypermart (http://www.hypermart.net/t/registration/packageinfo)  offer a series of webhosting packages, including one for free, as long  as you are willing to have a banner ad  on your web page. I don't know how much longer they will offer this,  because this page (http://www.hypermart.net/t/registration/packages)  does not show the free hosting  alternative, except as a link at the bottom. But if you can signup for a  free website, you can point your domain name to it, and make use of  their free email forwarding to send email to your ISP provided email  address.  


Actually there is no restriction against any non-profit group  using the  one other alternative I can recommend. Webstrike Solutions  (http://webstrikesolutions.com/) provides webhosting which just costs  $30 for the  first year (they say it is free for the first year, but there is no  restriction against any non-profit group  using the a $30 setup cost),  and then $84 a year thereafter, and you can attach your own domain name  to your account, and they have a free email forwarding service which can  forward email from the domain name to your ISP provided email account. I  use Webstrike for my Bush Supporter (http://bushsupporter.org) website,  and Paula Sanders has three websites hosted by Webstrike.  


Regardless of which of these alternatives you use, you will have an  account which people can send email to, and it will be forwarded to the  account your ISP provides, and then if your ISP changes your email  address, or if you change ISPs, then all you have to do is go online and  access your Yahoo / InexpensiveDomains / VirtualAve/Hypermart /  Webstrike Solutions account and change the address it forwards your  email to. The people you email will never know your real email account  changed. 


Please let Don know if you use his article webmaster@apcug.org will get  to him There is no restriction against any non-profit group  using the  no restriction against any non-profit group  using the article as long  as it is kept in context, with proper credit given to the author. This  article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee of the Association  of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an International organization  to which this user group belongs.  ------------------------------------ 


4. Patrick J. Suarez, a member of the Dayton Microcomputer Assn. Inc.  is a nationally recognized Internet writer, trainer, speaker and  consultant. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs across the  United States. He is the Internet speaker at DMA®'s semi-annual  Computerfest® trade show in Dayton, OH each spring & fall. Mr. Suarez  published a tutorial software program called "The Beginner's Guide to  the Internet" in 1993, and a book by the same title followed in 1995. In  addition, Mr. Suarez has been published by Que. Mr. Suarez operates a  Web site supporting people who have just learned that they have a tumor.  He has just completed a project with Qwest Communications in Dublin,  Ohio, as a Senior Technical Communicator.   


The Department of Homeland PC Security  


The Latest Maintenance And Protection Tools Safeguard Your Data   


Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge now heads a new federal  department with the off-kilter title of the Department of Homeland  Security, sort of evoking Aaron Copland's music and amber waves of  grain.  We all know why such a move became necessary.   


Just as we now have to keep an eye on things around us in these United  States, you must do likewise with your Windows-based PC.  Think of  computer security as a microcosm of the larger society in which your  computer exists, with two fronts of defense against losing your precious  data and your software's carefully cobbled-together configuration, what  with patches and upgrades and all.  


The first front of defense ironically involves protecting your data from  the computer in which it resides.  Let's begin with the fearsome  registry, that chamber of horrors that holds information about your  hardware and software and, if allowed to corrupt with a slowly mounting  volume of incorrect or outdated entries, will bring about the demise of  your entire system. Finally, someone has invented a program that  corrects erroneous entries and removes unneeded data.  It does so  thoroughly and carefully.  It scans every line of the registry and  builds a list of wrong entries.  It then sweeps this list to find new  references in your system for the list's entries.  In two mouse clicks,  the whole registry is scrubbed clean.  This wonder of wonders is  Registry Healer 3.0 from www.zoneutils.com.  It costs $19.95, the best  double sawbuck you ever spent.  


Next, remove fragmentation, the tendency for data to break up into  multiple pieces that scatter around your hard drive, with Diskeeper Pro  7.0 from Executive Software (www.diskeeper.com).  The program runs $45  as a download. Diskeeper is the most honest defragger around; sometimes,  even multiple passes won't completely defrag a drive.  Diskeeper shows  you the before and after, and sometimes the after requires another pass  or two.  And then you might never get to 100% defragmentation.  My son's  computer has a  60-gigabyte hard drive, and it fragmented so terribly that Norton  Utilities couldn't read it.  Diskeeper made some progress, but that  drive is beyond even Diskeeper's ability to put digital Humpty Dumpty  back together again.  


Moral of the story: Defrag at least every other day.  


And then there are those stray DLL files that hang around long after you  have removed an application from your system.  DLL files sit in  C:\Windows\System and act as code libraries for Windows programs.  Think of them as executive assistants to .EXE files, (e.g., word.exe).  Word.exe needs an army of DLL files to help it do things like creating  Word's screen images with which you are so familiar.  It also needs them  to help it perform actions (e.g., saving files, etc.).  The popular  "disk cleanup" programs you see on store shelves no longer seek and  destroy old DLLs.  But AnalogX's DLLArchive does.  Actually, DLLArchive  stores DLLs it removes from C:\Windows\System in another directory.  Once you are absolutely certain that the DLLs that DLLArchive has  banished are no longer needed, you can empty that folder  (C:\Windows\DLLArchive).  Final note: I do recommend Norton's Clean  Sweep.  It does safely rid your hard drive of unneeded files that build  up during Web browsing.  Get Clean Sweep at any store that sells  software.  


Add a final touch with DiskPie, an application from www.pcmag.com that  tells you which programs are hogging your drive.  


Voila!  You've gained back hard drive room and rid your system of stuff  it doesn't need and could get you into trouble.  And, I'm going to make  a statement that I swear is true: Since I have been using the products  described above, I have had no problems, none, with Windows Me.  It has  been as solid as a rock.  No kidding.  What better endorsement can I  give these programs than that?  


Let's move on to the other PC defense front, protecting your data from  outside influences.  First, stop using Microsoft Outlook.  Because there  are none so deaf as those who will not hear, I'm going to be pushy and  obnoxious in the rest of this paragraph.  It's the only way I can get  through to those who need to read this. Ready?  I know that there are  obstinate corporate wanks out there who overglorify this deadly program,  and they do so with a certain level of stuffy arrogance.  Fine.  You  people are exactly the problem:   every virus writer in the world writes to Outlook's well-known (and  permanent) design flaws.  But the Microsoft mindset is a wondrous thing  to behold, so you folks will continue to gather and spread viruses at  unprecedented rates.  Here's a news flash: there are alternate programs  out there that work just as well and that do not help the spread of  malicious e-mail code.  OK, that's off my chest, and it ought to  generate a certain level of e-mail traffic to the editor and publisher  of this newsletter.  At least I hope so.  


You need firewall software, a Trojan horse sniffer, and an effective  antivirus program.  This is such well-trodden territory that I won't  reiterate the obvious.  I will tell you that my favorite trio of  protection in this arena is ZoneAlarm Pro (finally, thank heavens,  available on retail software shelves everywhere); Trojan Remover from  www.simplysup.com ($24.95); and Norton Antivirus 2002, newly redesigned  with the smartest antivirus engine that automatically grabs updates from  its home Web site.  I' ve tried them all and Norton gets my vote.  ZoneAlarm Pro, by the way, makes my Windows based computers totally  invisible to everything on the Internet.  


Essentially, my PCs can see the world, but the world has no idea that my  PCs even exist.  


Go one more mile, then, and visit www.scumware.com.  Download and run  AdAware, Surf + and Gator.  These programs remove spyware from your  system. Spyware is insidious code planted by advertisers in your  registry and Windows folder.  This, friends, is going to be a big deal  in Congress as users face off against marketing muscle.  These guys want  to climb into your wallet, psyche and soul, and they'll stop at nothing  in terms of Web bugs and bots to get there.  Be on your guard.  Tell  them to take a hike.  


I find it sad that we must invest so much time and energy into  protecting us from each other.  What a glorious tool the computer  continues to be.  But with good comes evil, and you have to gird your  digital loins against the world that exists past your firewall.   I leave you with a few thoughts.  First, sometimes these programs can  give you wrong information, but it's easy to tell when they do.  I tried  to install the new Real One, the latest edition of Real Audio, into my  Windows Me computer.  After installation, Real One would not open. So,  I tried to use Add/Delete Programs and the uninstaller failed.  I  manually extricated the program from my hard drive and registry.  When I  ran DLL Archive, it found 1,700 DLL files suddenly orphaned.  Registry  Healer found 1,548 registry errors.  Clearly, this was nonsense and you  learn what to trust and what not to trust with these programs.  The  installation and forced removal of Real One tipped my Windows Me over  the edge and into the Chasm of Registry Oblivion.  I reformatted the  drive and installed, gasp!, Windows XP.  Since I had not installed a new  operating system on that drive in years (Windows 95 became Windows 98  which became Windows Me), it was time to rebuild everything from  scratch.  Real One was the program that finally did my system in.  


Second, all of the programs I described in this article are for  protection in the Windows environment.  On my Linux computer, I need  none of this.   


And I rarely have a problem.  Now, as they say, "pila in area tua est".  [If Caesar were alive today, he'd translate that to "the ball is in your  court". Go forth and conquer your system.]  


If you uses this article please sent pat an email at:  pjsuarez@gemair.com There is no restriction against any non-profit  group  using the no restriction against any non-profit group  using the  article as long as it is kept in context, with proper credit given to  the author.  This article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee  of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an  International organization to which this user group belongs.  ------------------------------------------  


5. Editors: If you post your newsletter to the Web, please forward the  URL to carls@swdocs.com and steve_bass@pcworld.com. If you print a hard  copy, if it's possible, send a copy to  Carl Siechert  221 E. Walnut St., Suite 110  Pasadena, CA 91101   1800 words  


Title: Windows XP: Why You Oughta Upgrade  Byline: By Carl Siechert, Co-Author, Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out  Subhead: At a recent meeting of the Pasadena IBM Users Group, Ed Bott  and Carl Siechert, co-authors of Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out,  explained why Windows XP is such an important upgrade for most users.  Carl did a follow up which included the key parts of the presentation,  and graciously allowed the user group community to reprint it in their  newsletters.


Why upgrade?


At the meeting, several people commented that we didn't  show the killer feature or the clear benefits of upgrading, especially  from Windows 2000.  


That's because, IMO, there isn't a distinct knock-your-socks-off  feature/benefit. Instead, there are a number of minor enhancements that,  collectively, make Windows XP a compelling upgrade for me. We tried to  dash through them but perhaps didn't adequately demonstrate the benefit.  Here's a brief summary of my favorites:  


* Stability. Windows XP has the ability to run a large number of apps  without running out of resources, without crashing. (If you're running  Windows 2000, you already have this, so there's no gain.)  


* Security. This is a huge topic that I can't adequately cover in a few  sentences; suffice to say that security of your data and your privacy in  Windows XP is leaps and bounds beyond anything available in Windows 9x.  (Again, if you have Windows 2000, you already have most of the security  capabilities of Windows XP.)  


* UI enhancements. A variety of changes in Start menu, taskbar, Windows  Explorer, and Control Panel make everyday tasks such as launching  programs, switching between windows, and managing files just a little  bit faster, easier, and more convenient. These features can each be  customized, so you can use the ones you like and change others back to  Windows 9x/2000 style. (Similarly, you can banish the new look of  Windows XP while still enjoying its other benefits.)  


* Fast User Switching. Great for shared computers, FUS lets someone else  log on without requiring you to first close all your documents and  applications.  


* Power management. Standby and hibernation let me save power (on  desktop PCs as well as portables) yet still have fast boot time,  bringing me right back to where I left off. (That is, all the windows  that I left open when the system powers down are already open when I  power up.)  


* Digital photo support. I was never a fan of digital photography until  I got XP because it was such a hassle before. But the support for  cameras and scanners, as well as the features built in to Windows  Explorer for viewing, printing, e-mailing, and manipulating images have  actually made it fun and practical to work with photos in new ways.  


* Remote Assistance. The ability to actually see and work with someone  else's screen while conversing with them through text, voice, and video  chat is a killer feature for anyone who's looked upon as a computer guru  and gets calls for support from relatives, friends, and neighbors. (I  suspect that includes most PIBMUG members!)  


* Remote Desktop. The ability to connect with my home computer from the  office (or vice versa) is awesome. It looks and acts exactly as if I'm  at that computer five miles away, and I have access to all its files,  printers, and other resources. And like remote assistance, it's  acceptably fast if you have broadband Internet access. I also use it to  work with other computers on my own LAN; that's sometimes easier than  hopping back and forth between two computers.  


* Better help. It's easier to navigate, integrates information from the  Microsoft Knowledge Base, and includes links to a number of diagnostic  tools. (Of course, it doesn't have all the answers. You still need our  book!)   There are dozens of other enhancements--built-in CD burning, built-in  ZIP file support, Windows Media Player, Movie Maker, etc. etc.--but  those listed above are the ones that I personally find useful.   What's Wrong with XP? Not Much  What's wrong with Windows XP; we promised to talk about "what bites" but  some felt we didn't deliver. That's because there really isn't much I  don't like; here's my full list:  


* Windows product activation (WPA). I dislike it on principle, but in  practice it's not a problem for me or for most users. It's anonymous,  and it's a one-time operation that involves clicking Next a few times to  get through a wizard--and then you never think about it again. Windows  does NOT phone home on its own at any time to confirm your activation  status, as has been reported. But as Ed mentioned, it's a classic  Microsoft version 1.0 product.   If you want to avoid activation altogether, get XP preinstalled on your  next computer from a major OEM vendor like Dell. Those versions of XP do  not have product activation, so it'll never kick in when you change a  number of components in your system--one of the major flaws in the  current implementation. You should be aware, however, that Windows XP  versions from major manufacturers are linked to the system BIOS--which  means, for example, that you can't take the Windows XP CD that comes  with your Dell and install it on a Gateway or a white box system.  


* Price. Now that MS is enforcing the one copy/one machine limitation  (it's always been part of the license agreement, but they've never had a  way to prevent people from copying to all machines until WPA), I think  the price--at least for copies after the first one--should be  significantly lower, say $50-75 for Home, twice that for Pro. OTOH, it  is a pretty good value, even at $100/$200.  


* Messenger and Passport in your face. I use them constantly, so it  doesn't bother me that they always start. But I'd be frustrated if I  didn't want to use them and discovered how difficult it is to vanquish  them.  


* UI is too chummy in some respects. Wizards have replaced some dialog  boxes, advanced options are now further buried, etc. As a power user who  knows his way around, these slow me down. Fortunately, there aren't many  of these impediments in the areas that I use frequently.  


* Support for "legacy" hardware. Some people mentioned HP products in  particular, but there are a number of unsupported products that are not  that old. Microsoft has always left device driver development to  hardware manufacturers, and it supplies plenty of support to  manufacturers. It's clearly in Microsoft's best interest to have all  hardware supported.   Manufacturers, however, don't have any incentive (other than the wrath  heaped on them by disgruntled customers) to provide drivers for  discontinued products; they'd prefer that you buy their latest and  greatest. Regardless of whose fault it is, it's a real problem that  affects all of us consumers.  


* Networking. It's a little difficult to set up a mixed network--one  with Windows XP and Windows 9x workstations. (But it's not impossible,  and the steps to successful networking are fully documented in our  book!) Windows XP Home Edition uses only the Simple File Sharing model,  which is indeed simple, but also somewhat inflexible. You can set up a  folder to be private (so that only your user account can access it,  either when logged on locally or over the network) or you can share it  with everyone. But you can't, for example, easily set up a shared folder  that you and your spouse can access but your kids cannot. (As we  mentioned, there is no restriction against any non-profit group  using  the a workaround--detailed in the book--that lets you set up more  complex security arrangements using Safe Mode.)   Which Version is Best for You?  Home Edition or Professional? The essential differences are these:   * You can't use Remote Desktop to connect to a computer running Home  Edition. (Btw, the computer you connect from can be running any version  of Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP.) You can, however, use Remote Assistance to  connect to a Home Edition computer.  


* You can't use Home Edition on a multiprocessor system.  


* With Home Edition, your computer can't join a Windows NT/2000 domain.  (You can, however, use all domain resources if you have a domain user  account.)  


* With Home Edition, you're essentially stuck with Simple File Sharing.  You can share/protect only at the folder level, and you can only make a  folder private or share it with everyone. The Windows 2000 security  model that's available in Professional offers granular security control  that lets you assign specific types of access to specific users for  specific files. (Most home user won't need this level of control.)  


* If you install Professional now, you won't be able to upgrade to the  Home Edition of the next version of Windows, so you'll pay an extra $100  now and again the next time you upgrade Windows.   Pro includes everything that's in Home. If you're unsure about which to  get (that is, the points above don't seem to apply to you), try Home  Edition. Worst case: you later decide to upgrade to Pro. The Home  Edition-to-Professional upgrade is $125, so you're only out an  additional $25 compared to purchasing Pro initially.   You can find Microsoft's advice on this choice at  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/howtobuy/choosing.asp   What's the Bottom line? 


* If you're buying a new computer, get XP. (Before you do that, however,  run the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor on your current system. Be sure that  any software or peripherals you plan to use with your new system will  work with XP, or can be inexpensively upgraded.) Don't fret too much  about the learning curve for a new OS and its new features; nearly  everything you know about your current system can be applied to Windows  XP, and you can learn about the new features as you need them.  


* If you're using Windows 9x AND if your computer has the horsepower  (practical minimum: 300 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB free disk  space) and is compatible (run the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor), strongly  consider upgrading to XP.  


* If you're using Windows 2000 and you're happy with it, hold off on  upgrading until you get your next computer. If one of the nifty features  like Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, or digital photo support would  make your life easier, pop for XP now.  


I've decided that XP Professional is right for my newest systems (the  rest run Windows 2000), but I don't mean to suggest that it's right for  everyone. Besides, Ed and I have written books about earlier versions of  Windows too. We'd be just as happy if you bought one of those books. :-)  


Get Some Help  Here are a few URLs that'll help you with the upgrade:   Microsoft Product Lifecycle: This site tells you when support dries up  for each version of Windows.  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle.asp  


Windows XP Upgrade Advisor: The program available at this site checks  your computer for hardware and software that may be incompatible with  Windows XP. When available, it includes links to upgrade information for  the incompatible components.  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/howtobuy/upgrading/advisor.asp  


Copyright © 2001 by Carl Siechert. Reproduced with permission. Article  reproduction coordinated by Steve Bass, Pasadena IBM Users Group.  Reaching Ed Bott and Carl Siechert is easy. Ed's site is  http://www.bott.com and Carl's company site is http://www.swdocs.com  Discussions, links, tips, and other good things are at  http://communities.msn.com/WindowsXPInsideOut and, as you'd expect, at  each site you'll find links for ordering the book online.   There is no restriction against any non-profit group  using the no  restriction against any non-profit group  using the article as long as  it is kept in context, with proper credit given to the author.  This  article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee of the Association  of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an International organization  to which this user group belongs.  ------------------------------