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Luddite upgrading from 98 to XP with home LAN

shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Luddite upgrading from 98 to XP with home LAN

If anyone has the time and patience, I would be grateful for some simple advice, as my systems are now very out of date. The time has finally come when I have to update to something more modern - but please don't tell anybody !

Being a luddite, I have soldiered on very happily with Windows 98, a hard wired LAN using MS Networks and a router with five access points, three old 98 laptops with docking stations, infra red connection to mobile phones, three parallel laser printers and all the usual home office equipment like scanners, cameras. DVD, CD RW etc. I have ISDN connection using BT Home Highway.

Having started with CPM and then DOS machines back in the early 80s, I am an addictive housekeeper, backing up system and registries and files at least once a week, defragging regularly, clearing out all *.tmp and temporary internet files daily, blocking / deleting cookies, checking for spyware, regularly doing AV scans etc.

My system is also mirrored on a second hard disk, and on the one occasion on which a virus got through, I was back up and running within ten minutes on the second hard disk, and had re-formatted the first hard disk and restored the back-up within half an hour. I regularly run MSCONFIG to check I am not loading rubbish, and although I have a multitude of software, it is all lean and mean, and I use less than 2 GB for all system and application software on a separate partition, with a dedicated partition for virtual memory to minimise fragmentation. All data files are on separate partitions as well, each the size of a CD for ease of back-up. So with diligence, I actually have an extremely stable, dependable and satisfactory Windows 98 system.

I work freelance mainly from home, but do occasionally travel and that means sometimes I have to be given access to client networks for short periods, both on site and remotely from home.

Using Home Highway, two of my PCs have ISDN access - one directly connected to the USB port of the BT Digital Access Box, and the second remotely connected by hard wire from the Digital Access Box to an external Terminal Adapter in a room 15 metres away for one of the lap top docking stations. It works well but may not be conventional.

I have decided that I am going to keep the laptops for the time being, at least for travelling purposes, and to use on the LAN in the home / office as "clients" to a new desktop running XP which I am going to buy as cheaply as possible. (I have no need for multi media as I am still a luddite and the PCs are strictly for work). The desktop will effectively be a server and 90% of my work will be done on that machine.

I use Outlook 2000 and therefore regularly synchronise my Contacts and Calendar with my mobile phone using the Infra red ports. I have absolutely no need for a palm top or anything like that, and find that the mobile phone is more than adequate. When travelling, I often access the internet by connecting my laptop to the mobile phone and dialling up over the infra red connection, even from abroad. It is not cheap but, again, it works and is more cost-effective than GPRS or other solutions for the amount I use it.

Having been the official BT sponsor for the campaign to get our rural exchange successfully ADSL enabled, I then decided to stick with Home Highway and ISDN, because it served my needs, but I am now being shamed into going ADSL ! As if it is not bad enough changing from Windows 98. But I will still be addicted to disciplined housekeeping as it is in the blood. And my major fear with Windows XP is that I will lose control, and that too much will be automatic. I am also frightened of the learning process whereas I can DIY myself around Windows 98 with conviction !

My questions are simple enough, and I would be grateful to anyone who has the time and patience to point me in the right direction.

1. Windows XP or Professional ? I have read that XP Home does not include TCP/IP which is set up on my systems, presumably for when I have worked on third party sites. Does one need that still in a modern environment ? Obviously, I do not need many elements of the management tools of Professional, because I do not belong to an organisation and there are no group policies. But XP home does not include Back-up. I currently use MSBackup all the time - at least once a week if not more, and so I would need some backup facility.
2. ADSL. I will want the new XP machine to have ADSL access, as well as one of the laptops in another room at least .
3. Network. It is probably time to ditch the hard wired LAN and router, and go for a new wireless network, providing I can stick with Windows 98 on the laptops - they are too old and slow (Pentium II) to upgrade to XP.
4. Mobile phones. My mobile phone has Bluetooth and I will want to have some facility to be able to synchronise, because the new Desktop will presumably not have an IR port. I could of course resort to doing that via the laptops, but it would be cumbersome.
5. Finally, the desktop itself. My current laptops are between five and seven years old, and have served me valiantly because they were at the leading edge of technology in their time. I would want the new XP desktop to last as long (because I am a skin flint and believe in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it). I am assuming it is worth the extra to go Pentium 4 2.8 Ghz. But would I really notice any difference if I bought a Celeron processor ? Maybe not now but in a few years time perhaps ? And do I really need 512 Mb RAM - I currently have 192 Mb on my laptops. I mainly use all the Office 2000 and MS Project, as well of course as email and a bit of surfing for information. But I have no interest whatsoever in games and there are none on my systems. I am intending to buy a second redundant hard disk to mirror the main drive again (if that is possible with XP) because the thought of loosing 40 Mbs of system, software and data files fills me with horror. Or am I over-reacting these days ? I used to tape stream but for years now have found the second hard disk, even on a laptop, a far better solution.

So, is anyone willing to recommend the sort of setup I need :

A. Windows XP or Professional ?
B. What hardware would I need in order to be able to have at least the XP desktop and one Windows 98 laptop access the internet using ADSL ?
C. What hardware would I need to have a simple wireless LAN to file share between the XP desktop and the Windows 98 laptop(s) ?
D. What would I need to be able to synchronise the mobile phone with the Desktop's Outlook folders ?
E. What sort of desktop spec do I realy need ?
F. What about backing up ? Is a second hard drive still a sensible solution ?

If you have nothing better to do and have a few minutes, I really would appreciate some guidance. But I would hate anyone down at the pub knowing that I am even thinking about changing; it would ruin my image, so please keep it quiet !

Many thanks

Nick Sherman
5 REPLIES
zpeterk
Grafter
Posts: 377
Registered: 14-04-2007

Luddite upgrading from 98 to XP with home LAN

N/A

Luddite upgrading from 98 to XP with home LAN

A. Windows XP or Professional ?

Professional
B. What hardware would I need in order to be able to have at least the XP desktop and one Windows 98 laptop access the internet using ADSL ?
ADSL modem/router. WAP. Or combined modem/router WAP
C. What hardware would I need to have a simple wireless LAN to file share between the XP desktop and the Windows 98 laptop(s) ?
See above. XP pro has all the wizards you'll need to set up a wireless network. You sure you don't want/need a server?
D. What would I need to be able to synchronise the mobile phone with the Desktop's Outlook folders ?
No Idea
E. What sort of desktop spec do I realy need ?
Depends purely on your apps. If you play a lot of games got for highest spec you can afford. If you do only word processing lower specs fine
F. What about backing up ? Is a second hard drive still a sensible solution ?
If your data is really critical, I would recommend a cd writer and back up to that, store your CD's in a burglar/fire proof location or off-site
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Luddite upgrading from 98 to XP with home LAN

I'll answer by your numbers:

1. XP home will do everything you need. There is no point going to the expense of professional when you don't need the majority of the extra features it provides. XP Home does have TCP/IP and is how many XP users connect their PCs to their routers and local networks. It will also co-exist with other windows versions over a network.

And with SP2 you also have wireless configuration tools.

There are many ways in whch you can backup your data - to another disk is the fastest but also to CDR/RW or even DVDs. There are also many cheap backup tools around. I use NTI Backup now which supports backup to disk or over a network and to CD/DVD with automated incremental backups and disaster recovery via CD/DVD, all for under $60.

2. You need an ADSL wireless router like the Linksys WAG54G or Netgear DG834G and a suitable laptop wireless PCMCIA card (or USB). I would rcomend the netgear for ease of setup and wireless signal streangth.

3. see 2 above, both routers allow 4 local wired connections and any number of wireeless connections so you can expand your wireless links as funds allow. You canget many USB/PCI based wireless adaptors that work with WIn98 although many may require Win98SE.

4. no idea on blootooth. Doing it via a laptop would be easy with using shared folders (you share a folder from your main PC on your laptop) .

5. For P4/Celeron (and don't discount AMD Athlon/Sempron based systems), it really depends on what you do. If it's just surfing, email, and office/msproject etc then a celeron or sempron will do fine - you just need 512MB of memory as that will future proof your system a bit more (XP can work with 256 but 512 makes things work must better). Spec: P4 2.8/3.0GHx or AMD Sempron 2500+, 512MB ram, Nvidia FX5200 AGP graphics, 2x 40GB IDE drives, DVD or CR writer, 17inch monitor (or use your current one) and XP home. Should be able to get that for around £400 + monitor.

Backing up to a separate hard disk is fine. That's how I backup my systems.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Luddite upgrading from 98 to XP with home LAN

Many thanks for the various pieces of advice. It has been most helpful.

I have one other question concerning XP. As XP Home has no backup facility, could I just copy MSBACKUP.EXE from Windows 98 and still run it on XP ? Or is MSBACKUP.EXE not stand alone software but needs other components from 98 ?

I did just that for someone using Millenium and it worked fine. But I fear that whereas ME is perhaps 95 based, XP is NT based and there may be a difference.

Perhaps I should explain my chief conern about backup. I do already backup to CD but less frequently. My greatest fear is always having to "rebuild" the operating system and programe files from scratch. CDs are not so suitable for that, because the CD capacity is not large enough without CD spanning.

I have always partitioned my hard drive into about 10 partitions, even on the mirror drive, and then I regularly run MSBACKUP on the C: drive for the system and program files and keep the backup on one of the other partitions. That means that if I do something stupid, I can easily and pretty instantly recover a DLL file, for instance, from the backup, without having to mess around with feeding CDs.

On may occasions, I have loaded some new software or resource which I have been unhappy with, and I have found it much easier and more re-assuring to just RESTORE the operating system and program files from the backup, rather than use de-install wizards which always worry me, because I am not in control. Using RESTORE from another partition means that if necessary, I can even wipe and reformat the C: drive before restoring, and then be sure that I will return to a stable environment like I had before.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Luddite upgrading from 98 to XP with home LAN

It is unlikely it will work on XP as it uses a different filesystem (NTFS instead of FAT/FAT32). In any case you don't need to because XP does have a similar app called NTbackup but it is not installed automatically. See HOW TO: Install Backup from the CD-ROM in Windows XP Home Edition.

Also take a look at NTI Backup now! 3 which is what I use. It also has a 30 days free trial so you can try it out to see if it's suitable.

And thanks for the PM.