should I go clean install of XP or upgrade from 98

  rohar 21:31 11 Aug 04


My win 98 system is buckling at the knees - my newer software won't play nicely with my old software.

For example Internet explorer crashes every time it opens - but netscape is OK. (yes did post and tried all the suggestions, repair, apply patches - the lot. Still won't work)

My word files can't be found when you click on open file - but will happily open the 2nd time you ask. ( I think some of the newer software overwrote something but the little message box flys past too fast to see)

And I'm seeing the blue death screen so often I'm thinking of redecorating ....

I think the time has come to move to XP pro.

But should I do a clean install (not that I know how to do that!) or should I buy an upgrade version.

The clean install disks are cheaper and there would be no old rubbish left ...

On the down side I have 25 gig of filestore I would like to keep - almost 200,000 files!! And I suspect that coping all that to cds will mean that something is missed.

I think my options are
1) buy upgrade and keep fingers crossed

2) buy new hard disc and make that the master with xp (I'm sure I've read posts about that)

3) and I'm reaching - can I partition my current 80gig disc and put a 'clean' version of XP on a separate partition - and still be able to keep all my files?

Another issue is that I have about 100 programs installed that I used regularly - and some of them are very specialised - so they might not work on XP, in fact some of them might be extinct(!) - does that need to be factored in?

I want to make the choice that will provide the most stable platform for the future and I don't know enough to do that.

Advice please ....

  Simon_P 21:36 11 Aug 04

Option 1 should work without any major issues
Option 2 is probably the best way to go (in my opinion)
Option 3 could be tricky and don’t know if it is possible without special software.
Is your processor up to running XP?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:43 11 Aug 04

Option 3 with slight ammendment

Copy all your data files 25Gig on to new partion d:
set PC to boot from CD run setup and format C:\ install clean XP on c:\

  cga 21:43 11 Aug 04

A clean install is always nice but the key thing in your case is the old programs. They should be able to run under XP by setting the compatibility options but installing them might be another matter. An upgrade should carry them forward and give you the best chance - although no garantees.

Yes, you can partition your hard disk and keep a copy of your existing system and upgrade either copy. If you are going to do that I would recommend that you first create a Data partition and move all your data out of the system partition to that. It will make your upgrade safer and is not a bad thing for backup management anyway.

If you later decide you do want a clean install then you can just do a minimum clean W98 install and upgrade that.

Just my personal opinion but hope this helps.

  Simon_P 21:43 11 Aug 04

your old programs my not run with XP, most will but not all so yes that is a factor.
There may be issues with XP's NT File system (NTFS) it can still use FAT32 (win 9x file system
Hang around a while someone that knows more will post soon.

  cga 21:46 11 Aug 04

If you decide to go this way then you should be entitled to an OEM version as you are buying qualifying hardware (cheaper)

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:47 11 Aug 04

Make a dual boot system to suit old and new progs

make two more partions

xp on c:\ 30g

data on d:\ 30g

clean win98se on e:\ 20g

  cga 21:56 11 Aug 04

For me I would make a slight variation on the recommendation by Fruit Bat /\0/
Win98se - first partition

WinXP - Next (NTFS)

Data - Still D but last

This way then the data will be D regardless of the system. The OS will always be C and the win98se partition can be anything you like (or hidden) when in XP.

  cga 22:01 11 Aug 04

I think I would still be tempted to make your XP partition an upgrade from your existing Win98 in an attempt to keep your old programs running in your primary operating system. However, there are many choices for you her and it is your choice.

  rohar 08:22 12 Aug 04

Thanks for all advice.

My current system has 512 ram, win 98se and a 1.2ghz athlon chip - well thats what norton system works says! - and so should ealiy be capable of running xp.

In view of my problems I think I will opt for a clean build and not an upgrade.

So the question now seems to be whether it is better to have 2 discs slave and master or 2 partitions.

So a couple more questions
1) I had bought Partition Magic 8 to split up my 80 gig - was difficult to run maintenance - but did not want to use it while I was suffering all the IE crashes and blue screens.

Is this a good option for partitioning the discs or should I use something else.?

2) I've got a range of music, photograpic (USB connections etc and dvd and moviemaking software + an Audiology sound card new and midi devices e.g. keyboards (which is where the old programs are)

Not to mentin a full range of norton and Nero software (and I read in previous posts of potential problems there)

Would it be more sensible to take the whole thing to my local computer man and say put on a new disc and let me load XP from there and just gradually find the old programs that don't work.

Reading all the other posts about upgrading I'm beginning to have visions of spending the next 6 weeks trying to get the basics to work together.

I'd rather spend the time learning how to create little movies for my tai chi web site!!

So do it yourself (its quite easy) - or get a man who can (it can get tricky - someone who does it often would be better)??

PS Big thanks for all the help - sometimes you just need to hear what other people think!


  cga 08:38 12 Aug 04

The 2 disk option is always a good idea if you can afford it. Particularly so if you have photographs etc on your system as this can give you a 1st level of backup.

Partition Magic 8 is e4xtremely good - I would not be without it. It can shrink, enlarge & copy partitions. Although I have never had any problems with it I must repeat the warning to backup a partition before changing it.

A new disk with a (OEM) XP is certainly do-able yourself but, if you have a good local professional at a reasonable cost, then this could be an option. If you do this just be clear what you want and agree it with him/her.

My recommendations would be:

1. Go for the largest disk you can afford (up to 120Gb) - Larger than 137Gb may not be supported by your BIOS.

2. Have your system on 1 disk and data on another.

3. Have a data backup partition on the back of disk 1 (1st level backup)

So - my suggestion for an initial layout would be:-


System 30 Gb (plenty of room for programs)

Backup 50 Gb (more on a bigger disk)

Disk 2

Old 98 Primary - 20 Gb

Data - 60Gb

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