My take on Windows XP

Since I’ll be using Windows XP until I finally get a working DVD burner to take the Windows 7 beta for a spin, I feel I might as well get comforable with it, and, hey… XP and 2000’ll both be together when XP goes "extended support" come April. After reading Andrew’s latest post, I feel I should give my takes on it.

  • Internet Explorer has been illegally bundled with every version of Windows since 98. (95 OSR 2.x if you count illegally bundled but easy to remove prior to installation). Yes, I despise that fact. Very much, indeed. Looking at this page finally made me understand where all my memory was going. I wonder if someone could "patch" IE to actually just make it a Gecko rendering shell. Ya know, wrap all the mshtml.dll and low level commands to its Gecko equivalent. So, apps that do require IE (Steam being one of them), but don’t use ActiveCraX don’t barf.
  • Again, I despise product activation. But oh.. you know.. my favorite version of XP (FLP, which I got from a guy I know that works at an office) does not have activation because oh uh… why the hell am I telling you this again? As I’ve said numerous times DRM only bothers the consumer that purchases the product, not the pirate who gets it for free and without DRM. And again, as I say, the pirates have it good.
  • In a way I actually like the new "Luna" XP theme. I was getting kind of sick of looking at the same old battleship gray every day. It’s a refreshing theme, and I could just as easily get other ones by patch uxtheme.dll. If we discuss this again in the next few months, my take on this may change of course, with my saying that I don’t want to see this crap again.
  • Again, I’ll admit the icons that Microsoft outsourced to another company (can’t remember the name offhand), aren’t really that… good. The keyboard icon doesn’t really look like a keyboard, but again, its a graphical refresh from the monotonous tone of the Windows 2000 graphics.
  • I kind of like the Windows XP start menu. But only kind of. The biggest gripe I have with it is the (lack) of auto sorting, a qualm I also have with Firefox. Note that Windows 7 will NO LONGER feature the classic start menu, which just sucks.
  • Ahh, another feature I agree on with him. I really dislike the "Your deleting the shortcut to an application, not the application itself. To remove the application please use the IE Add/Remove control panel!". Can’t we freaking disable the option via the damn registry?
  • This next one is a mixed bag however. As this was Microsoft’s first attempt at a multi-user OS for the common household, I can see why they (in a way) drastically simplified it. We can’t expect Joe-User to understand the oh-so-complex way multi-user systems work. But since I don’t use other user accounts (I’m logged in via root! I know its a bad thing to do, but hey Windows 9.x did that too!), I feel I’m good (so far anyway).
  • Ahh… the CD Player. A feature I used on occasion. I’ll admit I liked that it was small and fast, unlike Windows Media Player. But WMP has grown on me. It’s no longer that extremely buggy mess that it was in the Windows ME days (like anything in ME wasn’t buggy). Still I happen to have the Windows 2000 CD Player that you can download.

Well thats about it for my critique. Windows XP is actually a stable OS and one that I can truly call the successor to Windows 2000. If only I found this out in 2005.

NOTE about the CD Player. I took this personally from my Windows 2000 CD. It can be found on the Windows 2000 CD at X:\I386\CDPlayer.ex_ (You can use 7Zip to extract it). This file contains no viruses (that I’m aware of, Microsoft could have slipped one in, waiting to dispatch it when no one is noticing). Sadly, I don’t seem to have the accompanying help file, as I don’t know its file name.

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3 Responses to “My take on Windows XP”

  1. Andrew T. Says:

    One of the reasons I detest the newer versions of Windows Media Player for CD playback (among other similarly-oriented programs) is that they don’t use direct PCM playback; rather, they essentially rip and cache the disc as it goes along. As a result, the mixer slider affecting the volume of the output is “Wave” and not “CD Audio,” and on a system with sound hardware like mine, you won’t be able to hear any other instance of wave playback as long as one application has that channel stitched up.

  2. stoperror Says:

    Oh. So that’s why I hear the CD drive roaring for like 20 seconds and then silent for then next 40.

  3. donhh2k Says:

    They actually use the ripping-and-caching method to allow for postprocessing (i.e. use of the graphic equalizer and such). You can actually disable it in Tools -> Options -> Devices, and setting the playback mode to “Analog” in the Properties page for your drive.

    This is only available on systems which have a direct pass-through between the CD drive and the sound interface using a separate cable, though (so it almost never works on post-2000 laptops). Virtually all IDE and most SATA CD drives ship with a connector for it, though as for me I’ve never actually bothered to hook it up.

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