All right, you're sold. You have an old computer running Windows 98, and want to upgrade to Windows XP. But before you start clicking buttons, take stock of the situation: are you sure your old system has the hardware needed to run XP? Enough memory? A fast enough processor? Will the network card still work? What about the video card? And what about some of those freeware applications you like so much? Will they still run?
The answers to most of your questions can be provided by a utility called the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor. Running this utility before you upgrade your current system can save you endless hours of headache and expense as you either a) try to uninstall XP and reinstall the old OS, or b) go out and buy new stuff that's compatible with XP.
All you have to do is visit this Microsoft Website:
You can get to this site in a number of different ways. If you type the address into your browser, you get a page titled XP Professional; if you follow the "upgrade' links through the XP Home homepage, you get the green Home heading. It's the same page either way.
The Upgrade Advisor (UA) is a utility you will download, install, and run on your old computer. Microsoft recommends that you run the Upgrade Advisor while connected to the Internet. That way, the UA can check the Windows Update Web site for any needed updates. If available, the Upgrade Advisor will locate and install the updates for you, as shown in Figure 2-3.
Figure 2-3. Results of an Upgrade Advisor Report.