Mike Binns
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Ask your computer questions on my new site: Helpdeskr.net
Operating System: XP

What is an operating system?

An Operating System is basically a program that knows how to talk to the hardware on your computer. An OS makes it easier for people to create other programs for computers. Think of it as a middleman between the hardware of your computer and programs your run. People who make computer hardware write "drivers", which tell windows how to talk to their hardware, and Programmers write programs that talk to windows. If a programmer wants a sound to play, he writes code that says "Hey Windows, play this sound". Windows knows how to talk to your specific sound card via the "drivers", so it tells the sound card to play the sound. This way, the software programmer doesn't need to know how to talk directly to every single possible sound card out there, only how to talk to windows

What Operating System do I have?

You are not using a Windows operating system. You are probably using a Macintosh or Linux machine, in which case most of this site is not going to help you much. Click Here to jump to the non-windows recommendations

How do you know what operating system I have?

The easiest way to tell what operating system you have is through the "System Properties". There are 3 ways to access the system properties:

  1. Right click on the "my computer" icon on either your desktop or the start menu, then click "properties"
  2. If your keyboard has a "windows" button between the bottom left alt & ctrl key, press and hold that button and then press the pause/break key.
  3. Open up the control panel (on the start menu sometimes under settings) and click on "System"

The first thing it will list is what operating system you have. It will most likely be either Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 second edition, Windows ME (millennium edition), Windows 2000, Windows XP home, or Windows XP Professional.

NOTE: Windows ME (Millennium Edition) is NOT the same as Windows 2000. Windows has traditionally had 2 lines of operating systems, one for the home user, one for the professional user (i.e. for workplaces). After windows 98 was released for the home user, Microsoft concentrated on replacing its pro version, and came up with Windows 2000, its best and most stable OS to date. Microsoft wanted to also release a home version at the same time it released a pro version, so it rushed to scrape together "Windows ME". While windows 2000 was the best, most stable version of windows to date, Windows ME was the worst, least stable version of windows ever created. I, along with most computer tech guys out there simply cannot stand Windows ME (nicknamed "Windows Bite ME"). It works ok for the first few months, but after a while, the computer starts crashing with error messages that are not fixable. Many of us actually recommended people who have Windows ME "Upgrade" to windows 98 (before XP was released)

So what Operating System should you have?

Simple: Windows XP. If your computer meets the Minimum requirements I outlined in "Is What I Have Enough", your computer is well above the minimum specifications to run windows XP. If you don't already have Windows XP, upgrading is essential. Operating systems prior to XP are simply too unstable when it comes to spyware and viruses. As Nike says, Just do it.

Home vs. Pro

There are two different versions of Windows XP: Home and Pro. For the standard home user out there, the Home version will work just fine. Since it is much cheaper, you should get Home instead of Pro

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of Windows XP Home/Pro at almost any computer store such as Best Buy, CompUSA, etc. You can also purchase it online. I suggest you shop around to find the best deal you can find.

How to Install

If you need to upgrade your current computer's operating system to XP, the procedure is exactly the same as is outlined in the Format/Reinstall instructions. Make sure you back up all your documents on CD or an external drive such as a USB thumb drive.



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I am running Windows XP

Next >> Start at the Beginning and go through all the steps!




Next >> Should I Format/Reinstall Windows?






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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Although these instructions have been tested on thousands of computers without incident, and chances of any damage or loss of important data resulting from following these instructions are virtually zero, there always exists a very small chance that something could go wrong. I add the following warning not because I ever believe that anything will happen but because today's lawsuit happy world requires it:

Although I will attempt to assist you (via the contact me form) with issues that arise from following these instructions, you are using this website at your own risk, and I am not legally responsible for any damage or loss of data that may occur related to the use of this website.


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First TimeRefresher
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