By now, most IT professionals have heard of Microsoft’s next generation workstation platform, Windows XP, which is slated for release sometime in late 2001. Many IT professionals are familiar with Windows 2000, and even more are familiar with Windows NT 4.0. But as Microsoft’s offerings continue to expand, the question remains: Which operating system do TechRepublic members prefer?

What’s the difference?
Windows NT is definitely a legacy operating system past its prime. The operating system has been patched many times over, with little room left for future expansion. Windows 2000, designed and built from scratch, has very little in common with its predecessor other than the GUI and that it supports the latest technology. Windows XP, on the other hand, was not built from scratch. Microsoft’s new OS is simply a facelift of the Windows 2000 OS with a host of new features.

Why pros still prefer NT4
Ever heard the expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Many IT pros have taken that stance when it comes to upgrading their existing Windows NT 4.0 systems. Professionals often take many hours to get an existing system set up according to their preferences and will usually fight efforts to update a system that has taken so long to perfect. While it is true that WinNT 4.0 is an outdated system, many professionals find that it continues to perform well and gets the job done.

Who uses Windows 2000?
In my experience, there are three kinds of people who currently use Windows 2000 within their organization:

  1. The forced people
    These people were perfectly happy supporting Windows NT 4.0, but were forced to have their machines updated to keep up with the changing technologies. Perhaps management made the decision to do the upgrade without consulting the support staff.
  2. The must-have people
    These individuals are the kind that must have the newest piece of technology as soon as it comes out. They often bug other support staff, system admins, and supervisors to update their systems with new operating systems ASAP.
  3. The weigh-the-options people
    These are the people who have thoroughly researched the upgrade from a Windows NT system to a Windows 2000 system. They have weighed the pros and the cons of each OS and made an informed decision that Windows 2000 would be the best OS for their organization.

Who will use Windows XP?
The people who will be using Windows XP will probably follow in the same footsteps as the three types of individuals (above) who upgraded from NT4 to Windows 2000.

What might entice IT pros to make the switch? Windows XP will offer features not found in Windows 2000, including:

  • System Restore.
    Using the built-in System Restore feature, you can return your Windows to a previous state to recover lost data.
  • Device Driver Rollback.
    When a user installs a new driver, a copy of the older driver can be saved so that it is available to be reinstalled if errors occur with the new driver.
  • Better virus protection.
    By not allowing XP Pro users to execute e-mail attachments, Microsoft boasts that XP will have better virus protection.
  • Remote Assistance.
    Instead of having to go to a user’s machine to repair a problem, support personnel can fix the error directly from their own machine.

For more information on these features, visit the Windows XP Pro comparison guide.

Which OS will you be using in the future?
Do you know which OS you’ll choose? Will it be Microsoft’s new Windows XP or will you be sticking with old faithful, Windows NT? We want to hear from you! Feel free to leave a post below or send us a note with your thoughts on this member debate.