Although this book concentrates on Windows 2000 server issues, in all likelihood you'll spend more time performing client upgrades than server upgrades (although by now you're probably upgrading clients to Windows XP instead of Windows 2000 Professional, but the procedure is similar).
Windows 95/98 upgrades are the most difficult upgrade path to Windows 2000, and because of these difficulties, we recommend that you consider performing clean installations instead of upgrades whenever possible. Before deciding whether to upgrade or to perform new installations, read the sections that follow and test the upgrade on some clients that are representative of the client population. (Chapter 5 covers performing multiple, identical installations of Windows 2000.)
Why Windows 2000 Professional?
Windows 2000 Professional, and its successor Windows XP, are by far the best business clients that Microsoft has ever created. Although you can use Windows 98 and Windows Me clients on a corporate network, their lack of stability, security, and manageability make them poor choices, and we strongly urge you to replace these systems with Windows 2000 or Windows XP-based systems as appropriate.
Windows 2000 Professional has remarkable system stability, surpassing even that of Windows NT Workstation. System security is customizable; you can make the client's security very loose or extremely tight. (Windows NT 3.51 is qualified for C2-level security, and Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 are also expected to receive this qualification when they emerge from the somewhat lengthy testing process.) Windows 2000 is also built for speed, with an efficient 32-bit, fully multithreaded, preemptive multitasking and symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) enabled kernel, allowing users to run more applications and to run those applications faster. Users with multiple processors and software written to take advantage of SMP can make use of a second processor—something not available in Windows 95/98. Windows 2000 is actually significantly faster in most applications than Windows 98 on equivalent hardware (assuming that the hardware meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 2000).
Windows 2000 Professional is designed to complement the Windows 2000 Server family, and as such provides the best client services for Windows 2000-based networks, greatly surpassing Windows NT 4 Workstation's excellent network facilities. On a Windows 2000 domain, Windows 2000 Professional clients can be managed remotely, make use of roving desktops, and take advantage of remotely installed applications. (Even the operating system can be installed remotely.)
The choice between Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP is a bit of a tough decision—in general they're very similar. We recommend that you evaluate Windows XP Professional and determine whether its new features and enhanced core operating system warrant upgrading any systems, and carefully weigh the benefits versus the cost of upgrading. However, it's a slam-dunk for new systems—get Windows XP Professional.
A direct upgrade from Windows 95 or Windows 98 to Windows 2000 is possible, and, to paraphrase Dr. Samuel Johnson, it is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all (Windows Me cannot be upgraded to Windows 2000, although it can be upgraded to Windows XP). The difficulty lies in a fundamental difference in architectures: Windows 2000 is based on Windows NT, and Windows 95 and Windows 98 are heirs to MS-DOS/Windows 3.x (although obviously all of the later operating systems include huge amounts of new code). To further complicate matters, Windows 95 and 98 don't use the same drivers as Windows 2000 (unless you use WDM drivers in Windows 98), and applications are often coded differently for Windows 95/98 than they are for Windows 2000. These are major obstacles to overcome, although if Windows 2000 drivers are available for the system components, the driver issue can be easily dealt with.
The fact is that some Windows 95/98 applications won't run under Windows 2000 without modification. Thus, when performing an upgrade from Windows 95 or Windows 98, it is important to either uninstall applications that don't run without modification on both Windows 98 and Windows 2000 or to obtain an upgrade pack (also called a migration DLL) from the application vendor.
With that said, you can upgrade a Windows 95-based or Windows 98-based system to Windows 2000 Professional, and it can be made to work. However, a prudent person will perform a few upgrades on representative systems before deciding on the upgrade strategy.
Many application packages install different versions of the same program, depending on whether the installation was run under Windows 95/98 or Windows 2000. When this is the case, the Windows 95/98 version usually won't run under Windows 2000. If you are facing this situation, you need to obtain an upgrade pack or a migration DLL from the application vendor, or you can uninstall the application before the upgrade and then install the Windows 2000-compatible version afterward.
If you must deal with legacy applications that work only under Windows 95/98, you can set up a Windows 95/98 and Windows 2000 dual boot (or you can test their functionality using a compatibility mode provided by Service Pack 2 and later, or using Windows XP, which has somewhat enhanced compatibility). Dual booting allows users to select the operating system at boot time, with each operating system installed on a separate partition or disk drive and maintaining its own applications. Although using a dual boot allows a lot of flexibility, it isn't something you want to do on a large scale because of the additional administrative work and extra resources required.
If you want to perform a dual boot with Windows 95/98, you should be aware of the following limitations:
If you are currently using a dual boot between Windows 95/98 and Windows NT, you can upgrade the Windows NT installation to Windows 2000 and then use a dual boot between Windows 95/98 and Windows 2000. However, in this situation, you can't upgrade the Windows 95/98 installation to Windows 2000.
To set up a dual boot, while in Windows 95/98, either launch Setup or, if you have Auto Insert Notification enabled, simply insert the Windows 2000 CD-ROM and click No when prompted to upgrade to Windows 2000. In the first window you see after launching Setup or clicking No, select Install A New Copy Of Windows 2000 to perform a clean install. See Chapter 5 for a complete description of the installation process.
Besides a dual boot, you can use virtual computer products such as VMware Workstation or Connectix Virtual PC for Windows, which allow you to run operating systems such as Windows 95, Linux, or DOS within a virtual computing environment which is run as a Windows application. Although these products cost between $200 and $300, they provide a lot of flexibility, and are worth evaluating.
You can launch Setup either from the Windows 2000 CD-ROM or from a network drive. In either case, first launch Windows 95 or Windows 98, close all programs, and uninstall any virus protection programs you have installed.
To launch Setup from the CD-ROM, insert the Windows 2000 CD-ROM. The Microsoft Windows 2000 CD dialog box appears if you have CD-ROM AutoPlay (Auto Insert Notification) enabled. (If this is not enabled, open the i386 folder on the CD-ROM and double-click Winnt32.exe.) This dialog box asks if you want to upgrade the version of Windows, as shown in Figure 7-4. Click Yes to start Setup.
Figure 7-4. The Microsoft Windows 2000 CD dialog box.
To upgrade to Windows 2000 Professional from across a network, launch the Winnt32.exe program on the network drive containing the Windows 2000 Advanced Server Setup files, and then proceed with Setup. After you've launched Setup, follow these steps to upgrade the computer to Windows 2000 Professional:
Figure 7-5. The first screen of the Windows 2000 Setup Wizard.
If you don't provide updated drivers, the devices with outdated drivers won't work until you install newer drivers. You can do this after installing Windows 2000 without causing problems.