Eagle Asset Management IT - Windows 2000 Professional - Initial Install

By David W. Dawley

I installed Windows 2000 Professional (aka WIN2K) - Release Candidate 2 (Build 2128) on my home computer on the evening of 23 NOV 1999. Initial impressions are favorable but with a few reservations. The install occurred on a 400MHz Pentium II PC with 128MB of RAM running Windows 98 Second Edition (aka WIN98). The primary drive in this system is an 18GB EIDE drive with a 4GB SCSI2 secondary drive attached to an Adaptec AHA-2840 SCSI2 card. All times are approximate but are pretty close to actual times. As with EPA MPG ratings">

Eagle Asset Management IT - Windows 2000 Professional - Initial Install

By David W. Dawley

I installed Windows 2000 Professional (aka WIN2K) - Release Candidate 2 (Build 2128) on my home computer on the evening of 23 NOV 1999. Initial impressions are favorable but with a few reservations. The install occurred on a 400MHz Pentium II PC with 128MB of RAM running Windows 98 Second Edition (aka WIN98). The primary drive in this system is an 18GB EIDE drive with a 4GB SCSI2 secondary drive attached to an Adaptec AHA-2840 SCSI2 card. All times are approximate but are pretty close to actual times. As with EPA MPG ratings, your mileage may vary. Price does not include tax, title and dealer prep. Batteries not included. Terms subject to change without notice. Offer not valid in all 50 states.

Installing or upgrading your PC's operating system is not for the faint hearted or the uninitiated. This is especially true when we are talking about an upgrade as significantly different as WIN2K. WIN2K is the first consumer oriented OS based on the Windows NT platform. There are always hardware & software incompatibilities when upgrading your PC's operating system. WIN2K is the first MS OS that is true 32-bit without DOS underpinnings and requires significant changes to software and its hardware abstraction layer often requires significant changes to system drivers for the hardware.

Initially, I planned to upgrade my existing WIN98 system to WIN2K. An upgrade allows you keep most of your system settings and installed software. I did a custom install so that I could pick the disk partition where I wanted to install WIN2K. I allowed the install process to go through to the point where it listed the possible hardware & software compatibilities. There are two sections to each list of incompatibilities: things that definitely won't work and things that might not work. On my system, both incompatibility lists were lengthy. Some of the definite/possible problems were on products that I need to be able to work.

I then decided to "install a new version". A new install will require that you redefine all of your settings and your previously installed software won't show up on your "Start...Programs" menu and may not work at all without reinstalling them. My first attempt at actually installing WIN2K was to a freshly formatted 512MB IDE hard drive. WIN2K Professional takes 545MB (that's right 545MB) of hard disk space! This required space mushrooms to a bit-gobbling 686MB if you decide to copy the setup files to the hard disk to speed up subsequent restarts during the install.

I was hoping that I would have a chance to deselect some options so I could finish the install but WIN2K would not let me continue without more space and I had no more to give on this drive. I decided to compress the drive which increased my available disk space to over 1GB, but WIN2K does not run on compressed drives. At this point I took a break and went on to other things and think about another way to attack the install.

I then decided to "install a new version" to a barely used second 2GB partition on my 4GB SCSI2 drive. This option allows me to boot into WIN98 or WIN2K at my option. The SCSI2 was not set up as a boot drive so I was unsure what the results would be. I started this install run @ 2100. I chose NTFS as my file system which required the time needed to format the drive. I was a little concerned about reformatting my hard drive with live data on the other partition, but decided to risk it since it was not my primary drive under WIN98. Do not try this at home! I am a professional driver on a closed course. One should always backup their system before attempting an OS upgrade.

The install went without incident until I got to the network detection portion of the install. I went with the "default" settings and the install hung up at this point @ 2210. By 2222, I was back to that point in the install. I chose custom when it got to the network detection the second time. I had to answer a few questions but they weren't too technical in nature. By 2230 I was in the 'Final Tasks' portion of the install (system settings, registry creation, file cleanup).

I successfully booted WIN2K Build 2128 for the first time @ 2242! The total installation time from start to finish was under two hours. After going through and making some changes to the basic settings (screen resolution, color depth) and looking around quickly, I attempted to go online through RoadRunner (cable modem service) without having any WIN2K connection software installed. I was amazed to see that I was to able to surf the web via IE5 without incident.

I was not able to send or receive email via Outlook Express 5 but I assume it is a configuration issue at this point. [This was the case. Once I got the settings correct, I was able to send and recieve email via Outlook Express 5 without incident.] I did my first reboot @ 2300 and was back up by 2305. The 5 minute restart time is reasonable. I restarted WIN2K @ 2311 and booted back into WIN98 by 2324. Rebooting and going from WIN98 to WIN2K took about 3 minutes. There are a lot more programs being ran when I boot in WIN98 so I expected it to take longer. I am sure the longer I run WIN2K and the more software that is installed, the longer the boot will take.

I surfed to Microsoft's WIN2K Professional home page and downloaded several updates @ 2331. Each update was downloaded and installed separately without rebooting. The good news is that even system updates do not always require a reboot. When I installed 128-bit encryption, I did have to reboot in order for the changes to take effect.

In short, the installation/upgrade was one of the cleanest that I have experienced. I have gone through the entire upgrade path for Windows (WIN286-WIN386-WIN3.0-WIN3.1-WFW-WIN95-WIN98-WIN2K) and this was the most painless. The compatibility issues loom large for upgrading existing systems, but all in all I'd say: "Pretty cool!"

You can check out the MS web site for more information on Windows 2000 Professional . I will add more information as issues are raised and resolved.

    Updated November 28, 1999.

    Some additional thoughts. Hardware support is spotty at best. This is typical when an operating system is at this stage. It is unfortunate that Microsoft and the hardware vendors do not do a better job of having drivers available.

    The following hardware does not work at all on my system:

      Microteck USB scanner

      Voodoo 2000 3DFX video card

      ACT Labs Force R/S steering wheel via serial port or USB port

    The following hardware does not work properly on my system:

      Toshiba DVD drive*

        The drive performs as a CDROM drive, but will not play DVDs. There is a problem with the multimedia video codec.

      HP35480A SCSI 4MM 8GB DAT *

        I am getting a message about 'required media missing' message when I attempt to backup my sysem. WIN2K sees the drive and can eject, mount & unmount media.

    WIN2K's multi-threading is solid. I am running a program called which retrieves and analyzes SETI data and sends the results back to Berkeley. It is a very CPU intensive process. Under WIN98, it took about 45 hours 40 minutes to analyze a single block of data. Under WIN2K, it took about 25 hours and 32 minutes to analyze a block of data! The processing took about 44% less time under WIN2K.

    Additionally, when the SETI@home program was set to process contiuously under WIN98, my system would often lock up whenever I tried to switch away from the SETI@home program. Context switching is fast and consistent under WIN2K. CPU intensive applications get plenty of CPU time but you still have access to the system. To date, I have had 0 crashes or system lockups! WIN2K seems stabler and faster than WIN98 under heavy CPU usage.

    I setup and tested my virtual private network connection to the Raymond James RAS through RoadRunner without incident. The connection was easy to set up and the connection was rock solid.

This page last updated:  Mon Nov 29 15:58:20 EST 1999 Done!

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