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Operating System (cont.)
Since the compatibility filter has already eliminated all of the operating systems except Windows, we now have to figure out which version of Windows is the most reliable. Windows ME and older versions (95, 98, NT4, etc.) are not even being considered since Microsoft is phasing out support for these products. This is a good thing considering that Windows 95 has the worst memory leaks of any mainstream OS I have ever used, and Windows ME was the most unreliable OS that Microsoft has ever put out. That leaves us with two options to choose from: Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional. Before we go any further, I am not including Windows XP Home Edition as one of the choices since it’s basically just a stripped down version of XP Professional. As Microsoft puts it: “Windows XP Professional gives you all the benefits of Windows XP Home Edition, plus additional remote access, security, performance, manageability and multi-lingual features that make it the operating system of choice for businesses of all sizes and people who demand the most out of their computing experience.” So for the sake of argument and simplicity, let’s skip the Home Edition and stick with the Windows 2000 Pro vs. Windows XP Pro battle.
Windows 2000 represented an important milestone in operating system reliability and availability, due in large part to its fully protected memory model. However, with Windows XP several new reliability improvements have been made that are worth pointing out. For example, a new feature was introduced called “Windows Driver Protection”, which keeps you from installing and loading “defective device drivers”, which are files that could cause the system to stop functioning indefinitely (hang) or shutdown unexpectedly ("blue-screen"). This feature improves the reliability of XP significantly by identifying problematic files before they are allowed to be installed on your system. In the event that an application does hang in a frozen state, Windows XP makes it easier to terminate the program without affecting anything else running on your machine.
Windows XP also introduced a backup technology called “Shadow Copy”, which produces exact, point-in-time copies of files, including all open files. The coolest thing is that users or applications can continue working without interruption while a backup is being made!
Another interesting feature of XP is “Auto Update”, which is an option for updating your computer’s operating system without interrupting your trading. Updated system files are automatically downloaded an installed, so you don't have to remember to periodically check for new updates. This feature is especially important when it comes to downloading files which help improve the reliability and security of your system.
The benefits of Windows XP over Windows 2000 are clear: Fewer critical problems occur, problem resolution is faster and easier, and backups and system updates are easier than ever before. The winner in the reliability battle: Windows XP!