Windows XP Reloaded

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-02-26 Print this article Print

: Bad Idea"> This is a bad idea for a number of reasons—but the biggest one has two letters: ME. Remember Windows ME? I sincerely hope that if you do, its just a fading nightmare. Unfortunately way too many users are still stuck with Microsofts worst version of Windows ever—even worse than Windows 1.0 (which I still have on floppy, somewhere in the basement).
Windows ME was designed to provide a bridge between the aging look of Windows 98—basically Windows 95 on steroids—and the spiffy new Windows XP. Windows ME shipped in September of 2000, and was the last to use the older 9x kernel. It included a bulked up interface, similar to the NT-based Windows 2000, and closer to the graphical goal of Windows XP—which didnt ship for another 13 months.
Yet, this Millennium Edition version of Windows was a colossal failure. Neither fish nor fowl, stuck between the past and the future, it frequently broke down, caused uncounted application barfs, and spawned a zillion customer support calls. We might hope that Microsoft would have learned its lesson, and not rush an interim OS to market again. But you would be wrong. XP Reloaded—whatever its feature set—has all the characteristics of a money-hungry grab for upgrade revenue, as a way to squeeze even more dollars out of users happy with their status quo. Why rush a new OS to market? Why not just continue to improve security, stability and capability of the existing operating systems? Because Microsoft cant make money on that. So what will we see in Shorthorn (as many are calling it), or MidHorn (my nickname, because it wont be out shortly)? Not the new WinFS file system, which is built on SQL Server. Not the dreamy new interface thatll leave Mac users drooling—although we might see the "sidebar." Still, look for Media Center type capabilities to be built in, along with support for Intels new 64-bit hybrid CPUs, the Longhorn Audio Architecture, and perhaps the Indigo communications architecture. For more details on whats close to ready in Longhorn today, check out ExtremeTechs recent hands-on preview of the latest Longhorn Alpha. At any rate, this new interim release is a bad idea. Like ME, it probably wont work all that well, it wont feature an integrated set of new features, and itll probably be rushed to market. Do we really need another Windows ME? Not for me. So if we do get a "MidHorn", follow my lead. Remember ME, and dont forget SP2. And if youre looking for a good way to brighten up your Windows interface, consider Window Blinds from Stardock. You can make your PC look like Longhorn today—without any "Reloading". Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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