Compelling Reasons to Upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP?
February 2, 2005 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I have a legal copy of Windows 2000. I am buying a new computer. I don't want to spend 100+ bucks on Windows XP. Is there any compelling reason to upgrade? Anything XP can do that 2000 can't?
posted by selfnoise to Computers & Internet (27 answers total)
As far as I can remember, Windows XP has better support for legacy 16-bit software (software designed for DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or 98). It also may have better support for more recent peripherals (plug-n-play support).

I'm sure there are many articles out there that you can find information on through a Google search. Here is one.
posted by tuxster at 8:40 AM on February 2, 2005

With XP you get built-in wireless support, easier built-in firewall, and RDC (if you get the Pro version).

That said, you can usually do wireless with W2K, you can download a few free firewalls for W2K, and you can run VNC if you need a terminal service.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:45 AM on February 2, 2005

Here is a comparison chart from Microsoft
posted by tuxster at 8:47 AM on February 2, 2005

WinXP generally just works better. The UI is cleaner, there are more fancy new media features, ... I can't really explain it, but using Win2k to me now feels really clunky.
posted by Nelson at 8:49 AM on February 2, 2005

Depends - what are you going to be doing with it?
posted by humuhumu at 9:05 AM on February 2, 2005

Response by poster: Playing (newer) games, editing photos, browsing the web. Conquering earth. That stuff.

I don't need wireless and I am a big lug who doesn't care about GUI niceness.
posted by selfnoise at 9:08 AM on February 2, 2005

Unlike Win2K, Internet Explorer under XP includes a pop-up blocker and is generally much better at warning you about security threats.
posted by Monk at 9:18 AM on February 2, 2005

Eerily enough, I was just going to post this very question, as I'm considering rolling back to Win2k from XP Home.
From what others have said and from Google results, the only advantages XP has is simplicity: a nicer GUI, automatic driver installations (or at least a plethora of drivers which were up to date when XP first came out), the firewall thing, as well as other behind-the-scenes/small pointless updates (like that Internet Explorer add-on Manager, which is pointless if you use Firefox).
I'm becoming more convinced that XP is simply W2k made for Grandma - pretty, simple, easy, installs files by itself, updates itself, et cetera. I've been using XP at home for the past few years, as well as W2k on my laptop/another computer. I haven't really found much performance difference between the two, neither for or against XP.
If you're the type of person who can a) update their own software, b) find proper drivers if needed, c) don't mind the GUI (which can be changed via many programs), you'll probably be OK with W2k, in my opinion.
You might have problems with playing new games, but that might be related to your graphics/sound card. As long as the minimum requirements allow for W2k you should be fine.
posted by Meagan at 9:29 AM on February 2, 2005

I use Windows 2000 at home, and XP at work. Small OS things I miss at home on 2000:

1) Text looks nicer on XP. 2000 uses less smoothing on small fonts.
2) Taskbar grouping of active programs.
3) Date in taskbar with time.
4) Start menu: Multi-column "Programs" list is actually useable.
5) Photo Wizard for when you hook up a camera or card reader.

I will admit that while that is all quite nice, it is not worth $100 to me.
posted by smackfu at 9:33 AM on February 2, 2005

Isn't Win2K limited to directx8? While that's fine for now, if that stays the case I wouldn't be confident that I'd be able to play a 2006 game on Win2K.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:34 AM on February 2, 2005

I use W2K.

I find WinXP to be less stable, and more prone to atrocious securty attacks/patches. I've always found that the first few years of a new MS OS is rife with problems and attacks, due to the immensity of the code, the amount of backdoor hooks it needs to support for other apps, the spread of its use that's directly related to how much time malicious hackers put towards cracking it.

IIRC it also had some issues with legacy hardware. HTH.
posted by eurasian at 9:37 AM on February 2, 2005

I'm a Mac geek, but use Windows at work. I really really missed Win2K until I got SP2 running. I think XP is a bit better now that they have worked some kinks out. I recommend trying it out. Also, M$ may not support Win2K very much longer.

But remember, every OS sucks. [link to Ampcast mp3 playlist]
posted by mds35 at 9:38 AM on February 2, 2005

ROU_Xenophobe: You can install DX9 on win2000. I'm not sure what they're planning for 10. Is there even talk of such a thing yet? DXX?
posted by cameleon at 9:45 AM on February 2, 2005

Best answer: ROU_Xenophobe: DirectX 9 is supported under "Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, or Windows XP" according to the download page.

selfnoise, you do pretty much the same things I do with my system and I use Windows 2000 exclusively. I've never ran into an application or game that I would want to use that requires XP. Also - judging by the different amounts of RAM required - if anything 2K will run your games faster.
posted by LukeyBoy at 9:52 AM on February 2, 2005

I was against XP for the longest time, until I was basically forced (lost 2k CD) to upgrade. Bottom line, as a power user XP is nicer because of the more advanced wireless/new hardware support. First thing I did when I got XP was turn on "classic" theme, got rid of the stupid new start menu, changed all folders to look like Win2k and downloaded TweakUI. Everything seems a bit more polished, and not in a candy-kiddy-XP-theme kind of way. I'd recommend it.
posted by geoff. at 9:55 AM on February 2, 2005

XP has the advantages touted above, but I'll note that my box at home running W2K is noticeably faster than a more powerful box at work running XP. I do wish I had the Win98 emulation at home, though, for some old games.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:00 AM on February 2, 2005

I'm of the opinion that there's no compelling reason to use XP unless you're in a work environment. I install XP on all the computers at work just to simplify windows networking stuff. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about it. Also, if you're accustomed to w2k, you're going to be annoyed with XP for at least two months.

(especially if you're the type to open a lot of windows. stupid stupid xp taskbar scrolling)

the major service pack 2 XP "advantages" aren't particularly great -- i've turned off the XP firewalling on all our computers, and the annoying antivirus/autoupdate alerts.

that said, I've become a fairly happy XP user, and the stability *has* been better -- i've been running an XP box for over a year or so with no bluescreens (something rare even for w2k, i'd say).
posted by fishfucker at 10:33 AM on February 2, 2005

but is there a $100 reason to upgrade? I don't know what your perception of $100 is, but I can think of a lot of things I'd rather spend that kind of money on then some incremental improvements.

if someone *gave* XP to me, i'd install it.

i'd say the value of it to me (if i already had w2k) is probably $25 (but i undervalue software).

see if you can't get an OEM license or something for cheap.
posted by fishfucker at 10:36 AM on February 2, 2005

Response by poster: OEM license is 150 for pro, and I refuse to install Home, which is crippleware.

I'll go with 2000. Thanks for all the advice. AskMefi to the rescue again!
posted by selfnoise at 10:55 AM on February 2, 2005

When my laptop died, I went ahead and put XP on it. My former 35-day uptimes were a thing of the past, and the system seemed more unstable in general. So I went back to 2000. This may just be me, but Win2k has always been amazingly stable on all my machines.
posted by adzm at 11:19 AM on February 2, 2005

My laptop came with XP. I now run 2K. Can't say as I've noticed any real difference between them wrt stability &c. There are some nice GUI things with XP, but they're not worth the hassle of backing up my data and reinstalling, let alone paying for it.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:42 AM on February 2, 2005

Am I the only one who thinks XP's UI "improvements" are a big mark against it?

Someone mentioned better 16-bit support in XP, but is it safe to assume that it's no easier to run EMM DOS games?
posted by squidlarkin at 12:09 PM on February 2, 2005

selfnoise - in some sense, the question may not necessarily be whether to upgrade to W2K or not - it may be a matter of when. At some point, for example, Microsoft will stop providing security fixes for W2K.

(Of course, by that time, perhaps there really will be a Linux desktop alternative that does everything you want and is easy to install, use, and maintain.)
posted by WestCoaster at 12:55 PM on February 2, 2005

WinXP's GUI improvements are great (a) if you're running a laptop; (b) you get a hacked (whateveritisfile) that lets you install your own window themes. Some of which can really free up some valuable screenspace.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:08 PM on February 2, 2005

XP has smoother fonts (through ClearType) on LCD or TFT monitors. I still use 2000 at home for the Windows boxes but mostly XP at work.
posted by hardcode at 1:14 PM on February 2, 2005

I used 2K Pro for several years and liked it quite a bit. However, there are two features in XP that I think are totally cool. 1. Windows explorer treats archive (rar, zip, even iso) files almost like folders. It'll let you browse them and so forth. 2. I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but... XP has the most nearly perfect picture viewer I've ever seen. It's what I always wished ACDSee had been.
posted by Clay201 at 2:17 PM on February 2, 2005

It's not only not worth going to XP from 2000, I have friends who specifically prefer the performance and stability of 2000, particularly for games.

At work we have one 2000 PC in the office that we got by accident. It runs at least as well as XP, if not better. All of our student labs run 2000 and I rarely have to do any software maintenance, only hardware.
posted by krisjohn at 2:42 PM on February 2, 2005

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