Shelly was looking for ways to get AutoCAD to run faster. We finally decided that a machine upgrade was in the cards. We upgraded her machine to a fancy new Celeron 433, but it required a new CPU, motherboard, and case. Given that her old machine was faster than my existing development machine, I decided to make her old machine into my new one.
So far, my experience with Win2K has been generally positive. Here are my initial impressions. . .
- The installation was dirt-simple..
- Claims about immense machine resources were overstated. It's really not much different from NT 4.0.
- Product takes the best parts of NT (crash resistant, NTFS, no DOS, multi-CPU support) and the best parts of Win 98 (nicer Explorer, DirectX, safe mode, USB) and merges them nicely.
- Control panel is much better organized. Several have been removed and folded into others.
- Changing most network settings (IP address, etc.) doesn't require a reboot anymore.
- User stuff, like My Documents, Favorites, and Start Menu are all collected together into a single "Documents and Settings" directory and are no longer scattered about everywhere.
- I can use my Microsoft joy-pad again. Inexplicably, NT supported most generic joysticks, but not their own in-house ones. Go figure.
- Hooking up to your CE device via Windows Explorer is now 100% transparent. It used to work only with "Open", but not "Explore".
- Character Map now supports unicode.
- I still don't have hardware accelerated Direct3D and OpenGL, even though my Savage4 card does all kinds of 3D stuff. I imagine this is more the fault of the driver writers, but you'd think they'd have one by now. Some are available on the web, but they require more tweaking than I'm willing to do.
- My scanner doesn't work with it. This isn't really surprising, as it was a 1997 scanner, and NT 4 support was pretty flaky.
- My Computer, Network Neighborhood, and Recycle Bin icons are fugly.
- Fade-in menus are cute at first, but soon become just as annoying as Win98's animated roll-down menus.
- Some games made for 95/98 (Marble Drop) refuse to install. Other games (Full Tilt Pinball) install, but refuse to run.
- Printing from other machines is problematic. My wife's NT 4 machine can't print to the printer attached to my computer. Support for earlier versions of Windows is supposedly available, but it's not on the CD.
- Several apps (Solitaire, Minesweeper, Calculator, Paint, Sound Recorder) are basically unchanged since 1992 and are looking very long in the tooth.
- The new "self-healing" bit is probably gonna keep a lot of people from shooting themselves in the foot, but it also makes it difficult to eliminate clutter. For example, I tried to delete WordPad, as I never use it. The system instantly restored it after I dropped it in the trash. If you wanna delete something that the system thinks you should keep, you need to delete it from the hidden restore-directory first, and the machine complains to high heaven if you do.
- It still installs the Posix layer and OS/2 1.x support. While I understand that a couple of POSIX-requiring apps did ship, I don't think anyone ever used the OS/2 1.x support.
- "Clock" was finally mercy-killed.