Q

Would I lose any functionality by switching my XP machine to Win 98?

I have two computers -- two OS's Win 98 on one and XP on another. The 98 is a full install retail version; the XP is a special version that was pre-installed when I bought the machine just last Christmas. It is a Compaq Presario. Both machines have two hard drives; one 40 MB + 2.5, the other 40 MB + 1. Both have 128 MB RAM. I use the machines for Internet research (dial up) for my small business and for low-end graphical use (making labels and signs and Web pages). Some programs that I like to use on the 98 machine will not run on the XP machine even with the "program compatibility" mode. Is there some real advantage to XP? Will I lose something by installing 98 on the Compaq? Will the bios allow me to install something other than the XP that came on the machine? I have considered the dual boot idea but I have heard horror stories about manufacturer's proprietary versions of Windows. Thanks in advance.
I can understand your frustration with wanting to run legacy programs on a newer operating system. The primary advantage Windows XP has over Windows 98 is security and stability. Also keep in mind that support for Windows 98 is decreasing, and you may have difficulty finding hardware drivers for new devices, or running new software on Windows 98. Dual booting is an option, however most OEM disks provided by hardware vendors are designed for a complete re-install, not a customized one, so the setup options for dual booting may not be available to you. Another alternative is to use emulation software such as Microsoft's Virtual PC in order to run Windows 98 within Windows XP. This would solve your compatibility issues, however you'll need to upgrade your system memory (RAM) in order for it to run well.
This was first published in September 2004

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