Decision Support: Pros and cons of upgrading from Windows 95 to Win2K Professional

Learn the pros and cons to upgrading from Windows 95 to Windows 2000 Professional from one tech pros perspective

Recently, my Windows 95 registry became corrupt. Rather than recover from a recent backup, I decided it was a good time to check out the copy of Windows 2000 Professional that Microsoft had sent me for attending their official Windows 2000 launch.

Installation from the ground up
I started by reformatting my C: drive to ensure that I would have a clean setup. I was pleased about how smooth the installation was. Much like Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft’s Windows 2000 requires that you make floppies, a total of four to be exact, to perform an installation from scratch.

While I did not time the installation, from my vantage point it seemed to take a bit longer than a traditional Windows NT 4.0 installation. However, I did note that there was not as much of a requirement for user interaction with Windows 2000.

The new operating system made a dramatic improvement over Windows NT 4.0 when it came to detecting hardware on my machine. Not only do I have a 10-GB EIDE disk controller, my computer has a SCSI disk controller as well. Windows 2000 correctly recognized both hard drives with no problem, whereas NT 4.0 had difficulty detecting a 10-GB EIDE hard drive.

Hard drive setup comparison
Windows 2000 initially allocated the disk drives differently from the way Windows 95 had them. Figure A shows how drives were reallocated.

Figure A
Drive Windows 95 Drive Letter Windows 2K Drive Letter
EIDE Drive Partition C C
EIDE Drive Partition D F
EIDE Drive Partition E E
EIDE Drive Partition F G
EIDE Drive Partition G H
SCSI Hard Drive H D
SCSI Hard Drive I E
SCSI Zip Drive J I
Unused K  
CD-RW Drive L J
This table shows the difference between the drive lettering on a Windows 95 machine compared to a Windows 2000 machine.

Windows 2000 let me reallocate the drive letters the way I wanted them using the same disk manager tools used with Windows NT 4.0.

Programs that would not run correctly
After installing Windows 2000, I installed a few programs that I used regularly on my machine while it was running the Windows 95 operating system. Below are a few programs that didn’t function after the installation of the new OS.
  • Checkbook Program
    I noted that a checkbook program that I originally wrote for MS-DOS 6.0 using Turbo Pascal 5.0 had some difficulties. The program is actually a collection of programs that call upon one another to perform the functions I want in a money management program. The program operated fine under Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0.
    I found that individual components worked fine under Windows 2000, but components that called other components wouldn’t function. However, this was not a showstopper since I have started to rewrite the program in Visual Basic, and fixing the bugs has been a good incentive to complete the project. What you should learn from my problem is very simple; you may have legacy programs that will no longer work after upgrading to Windows 2000.
  • Ricoh CD-RW Drive
    Before I upgraded to Windows 2000, I was able to burn CDs using my Ricoh CD-RW Drive. However, after installation I could only read CD-R or CD-RWs, I wasn’t able to write to the CDs. Apparently, the software produced by Adaptec for Windows systems meant "pre-Windows 2000.”
  • Umax Scanner
    No matter what, I couldn’t get my Umax scanner to work. Windows 2000 currently supports only two parallel port Umax scanners at the time of the installation. And Microsoft calls this a business operating system? Just before reverting to Windows 95, I tried the Umax drivers for NT 4.0 to see if it would work, but it did not.

The bottom line…
The installation of Windows 2000 went smoothly with no problems to speak of. However, I believe that Windows 2000 is not ready for “prime time" yet. Instead of being able to burn CDs, my CD-RW drive functioned as a CD-ROM instead. The Umax scanner, which is supported in Windows 95 and NT 4.0, doesn’t work with Windows 2000 at all.

On another level, my checkbook program that worked with Windows 95 and NT 4.0 would not work with Windows 2000 due to problems with Windows 2000 running legacy programs.

Since no item would work properly, I decided to remove Windows 2000 and to reinstall Windows 95 until drivers become more readily available for my hardware.
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