General discussion


Which Operating System should i use?

By silverbullet_svt ·
If i have two computers at home and thinking bout installiing a third. One system is running one Windows 95 and the other Windows NT and the computer at home is previuosly not networked and itend to network them when i install the third computer. I would like to be able to use the programs i already installed as well as newer programs, and i want to be able to install new hardware devices easily. Which OS should i choose for the new computer? Will i keep the present OS's on the existing computers?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

by jas545 In reply to Which Operating System sh ...
Collapse -

by TheChas In reply to Which Operating System sh ...

First, review how you use and plan to use your computers.

What are your plans for your network?

Without a strong firewall in place, you should not connect either of your existing PCs to the Internet.

For modern hardware and software, you need either Windows XP or Linux.

As to the choice of XP Home or XP Pro, it depends on how you plan to use your network.

If all you plan is some simple file and printer sharing, XP Home might be enough.

As to the OS on your existing PCs, that depends on your hardware.

My personal rule of thumb, is that you want to have 2 times Microsoft's minimum requirements for both CPU and RAM. And at least 10 times the free hard drive space.

Then, you need to look at your other hardware and see if drivers are available for XP.
If not, assume that the hardware (printers, scanners, and sound cards) won't have all features available with XP.

Most older software will run under XP. You may need to use compatability mode for some.

If your older hardware isn't up to running XP, consider Windows 2000 or 98SE.
If your looking for serious networking, choose 2000.


Collapse -

by TheChas In reply to

I did not go into details on Linux specifically to avoid issues.

If you are not ready to dig into Linux, stick with Windows XP.

While you can install a Windows shell so that most Windows applications will run under Linux, you will spend a lot of time getting some applications and hardware to work properly.


Collapse -

by sgt_shultz In reply to Which Operating System sh ...

in microsoft land, nothing but XP. XP Home is fine but if you are looking to learn about networking you may prefer XP Pro which can become a client in a Domain. with Home you are contrained to a workgroup. which is probably fine for you. i personally would stay away (far away) from XP media center (lots of bugs). You may not meet minimum system requirements with your old hardware tho, so check it out at
i think for xp it is PII 233MHz with 256MB of ram. as charles says, more is better and ms has optimistic idea of what hardware minimums will work.

Linux is a nice idea but how is he going to use the programs he already has installed?

as for your old programs, many will work. older games, antivirus and cd burning software will give problems. you can try running them in 'compatibility mode' (see XP Help or check it out in the mskb at also a fine place to check out how to upgrade with minimal problems and also how to dual boot.
if you plan to upgrade, it is really best to run the 'update compatibility checker' first and then uninstall the programs it warns you about BEFORE the upgrade. I would also consider upgrading all my drivers and whatever programs i could afford BEFORE attempting the update. if you get yourself a new larger drive you can get copy it with the drive mfg's utilities and upgrade or dual boot the new one and have your old drive for a backup...that way nothing can go wrong go wrong go wrong and you can keep doing your OS update until you got it right.
unless you are a linux wiz or ready to spend many hours learning, i do not recommend it as it is an easy target for hackers if you do not stay on top of the updates, which are free for download but NOT automatic unless you buy Linux....

Collapse -

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Which Operating System sh ...

If you plan to upgrade your existing computers to a new OS I would proceed very carefully with the XP Compatibility Tool as it doesn't always tell you the truth.

There are Known Issues with 3 - 4 year old Samsung DVD Readers and quite a lot of the older CD Burners as well these are reported as XP compatable when they really are not.

If you are just keeping your existing computers as they are I would say XP Pro and use it as a Gateway to the rest of the network so you plug the modem whatever type into the XP box and then plug a Hub into a/another LAN Connection on the XP Box and share from there.

If you want to break out of the Windows camp then running Knoppix on the new box should work quite well for you as it's similar to Windows well not too much different and powerful enough to be useful and has all the software already installed that you are likely to need except a Windows Emulator. Wine will work fine for some applications but if you want to play games on it you are going to need to stick to Windows unless you are willing to go with the Linux Games that are available but most of them are not in direct competition to the Windows Market so if you want to play a specific Windows Game you may have problems getting it to work.


Related Discussions

Related Forums