one computer is setup with 4 partitions, 2 of them FAT32 DOS type. Windows 98 SE on the first, XP Pro on the second, Linux (Knoppix) running in Fat32 using Loadlin to boot. What is the only file system they all can see and share? Yep, FAT32. What file system is the easiest to acess from a floppy to recover files if a system becomes messed up? DOS based FAT32. So, my most sensitive files such as email folders and necessary documents all are on what partition? The ones with FAT32. I run XP in a NTFS file system, but have the mail folders accessed from the FAT32 system. If XP gets hit and won't boot and I need files before reloading or repairing it, what can I use? A DOS boot with an NTFSreader program, or the Knoppix Linux Live CD which will read and recover files also from an NTFS system.
Which system do I prefer to use? In order, Win98SE, XP, Win2000, then Linux.
The other computer is setup double boot into Win98se (all updates) and Win200 (SP4, Rollup1, 64 updates). Which is more stable? That's debatable by what one considers stable. Does it just refer to which one gets less blue screens? In that case, normally, I'd have to say the W2K system. However, to me stability implies some minor skill on the part of the operator and for that I'd have to say win98se can be as stable as win2k with some care. If you have the resource meter program load at each startup, by putting a link to it in the startup folder (Start Menu) and you keep an eye on it through the day, then you can go a long time before seeing a blue screen. The Resource Meter which comes with win98se will easily show yellow, and finally red, and even give a warning so you have time to close whatever program has hogged memory resources, then open it again and continue as before. My beef with W2K is it seems to spend too much time, especially right after bootup doing some sort of housekeeping which slows the computer at a crucial time. It also seems after some using to slow down with problems similar to those in win98 when memory has been overused and not released by some program, but instead of crashing it just gets slower and starts thrashing the drive, probably moving from active memory to virtual on the drive.
What's my complaint against linux? Nothing much really, but don't see it as surpassing even win98se yet. Given a choice between a Linux computer and one running only win98se, I'd choose the windows computer. I like the idea of Linux and have fun messing around with it at times, but just not into learning all it's ways and quirks yet beyond the fairly superficial use of it's KDE or Gnome GUI interface usage.
Which system seems best overall? Even though I still prefer win98se when I can, I have to admit that XP Pro is probably the best among the 4 mentioned, if you discount the big monkey of activation that's been added onto it, and if you use a FAT32 partition along with it for some files, especially shared mail folders between systems. For instance I can access the same email files whether I'm using win98se or XP since they are all in the FAT32 folder. If those were in the NTFS folder, I could only access them from XP.
What's the advantage of win98se over XP? Still within the spirit of the EULA since I'm the only one who uses my computers, I can have two harddrives in each computer which all drives have win98se in the first partition (C:\ drive), and if one system takes a hit I can boot to the other drive and fix the one that's down. XP you can ghost across to a second drive in the same computer and usually manage the same, but problematic then doing the same for the second computer which I have as a backup with a KVM attached. Why shouldn't I have one operating system I can use on all drives on both computers without the hassle of "activation" to do so? Only one is getting used by me at any one time, so that's easily within the EULA as I interpret it. If, as happened last year, I have a motherboard that goes down (5 burnt capacitors!) why should I have to do more than move a harddrive over, boot into Safe Mode and remove the old drivers and install those for the new motherboard, reboot into normal mode and go on with my life? Easy to do in win98se, a bit less in win2k, and a real PIA with XP.
Why is XP so problematic? Of course, the activation and it seeing a "different computer" which isn't really, so you have do call Microsoft on the phone and answer questions and do a load of numbers in addition to getting the driver files for a new mobo loaded. Do I resent that? Yes. Should I resent that? Yes. Is there anything I can do about it? Yes. I can complain along with all the others who do, and I can use alternate systems that don't add an extra, and for my benefit a useless, addition to my troubles at such a time.
Suprisingly, the only problems I've had continuing use of win98se is accessing some divx files and even that's not a problem if they are sanitized by using XP to copy into an FAT32 partition which strips off or merges into the file whatever metadata information is needful for it to run under an older divx program. win98se however is dated, not by lack of software to run most programs I would use, even the latest firefox still works on it, but by newer hardware.
The newest hardware on motherboards using new controller chips which no win98se drivers are provided for will spell the eventual end of win98se as a viable operating system in the next 3-4 years unless someone creates driver files for it to use those newer chipsets, and the manufacturers have already said it won't be them, although many say they'll be happy to provide if someone else supplies them.
So, how do I feel about Vista. I wish I could tell you. I tried loading Vista Basic on my oldest model computer and it wouldn't go. Vista hates SIS controller chips. I suspect it is friendliest to Intel controller chips on older motherboards. Soon I'll have a fairly recent Gigabyte motherboard (with solid capacitors) using AMD's latest 780G controller chip and a double core processor and if Vista runs OK on that, I'll let you know. As it stands right now though, I don't have much hope for Vista's future when even it's most Basic operating system is so lacking in backward compatibility. It says to me that Microsoft was either totally profit driven, or totally lazy in creating Vista, and I suspect the latter is true considering there seems to be more problems related to it's release than releases of previous windows operating systems. I believe it was a big miscalculation in not having at least the Basic version being backward compatible. Just think of the higher sales of the system they could have had. People who didn't realize that are dumping Vista Basic for half price and less on Ebay every day.
Here's a few items many may not realize. You can not run Vista from a FAT32 partition to install it. Even if you copy all the files from a DVD to the FAT32 partition, it will not run. You can only run it from the DVD or from the harddrive where you've copied it into an NTFS partition. I haven't checked but does anyone know if Vista will even read a FAT32 partition after it's installed? I would think it would, but don't know. What's this mean? Everyone who hasn't upgraded to a DVD capable drive will have to if they want to load Vista, or they will need to copy the disc across a network from a shared DVD drive on another computer, which is what I did to try and load it on my older computer it then rejected. Anyone who doesn't have a DVD drive currently on their computer will wait till then to buy Vista. Anyone who runs the Vista capable test and is rejected will not buy Vista until they want a newer computer. A growing number already tired of XP's activation and knowing they can install multiple copies on home computers of Mac operating system, now seeing also the Vista boondoggle are moving over to Mac. Did you know Apple recently reported higher earnings and much of it was related to selling of new Mac computers instead of increased iPod sales?!
What can Microsoft do to correct this situation? One simple first step is make their Vista Basic entirely backward compatible and then let the consumer decide if they are satisfied with it or wish to reload their previous operating system instead. Will they do this? Maybe, but I don't hold out much hope on that one since the most talk lately by them is about Windows 7, future operating system. I think they will give Vista the Millenium treatment instead at that time.