The topic of updating or upgrading an operating system (OS) is a rather pertinent one. Fooling around with operating systems is not for those who are easily startled when it comes to computers. Fiddling with the very software which ensures that your computer turns on in a normal fashion is akin to seeing how your body might function if your jugular was somehow moved to your left foot.
A quick test to figure out if you know enough to be able to upgrade your OS would be to identify and know how to use the fdisk and format commands. If you haven't the faintest idea of what those terms are, then you probably want to find a bigheaded computer buddy to explain.
In the past, reinstalling an OS meant that you would have to reinstall everything from scratch. Windows was quite unusual when you tried to reinstall the OS on an already existing Windows installation. All kinds of problems would crop up. With the problems that most people experienced, you were generally better off trying to save whatever you needed to a safe location, and then totally nuking the rest of your drive. After all, if you are going through the trouble of reinstalling the OS, you might as well end up with something that is better than what you had before.
I can't say that I have ever had an easy time updating any Windows installation. In theory, you are supposed to be able to simply click on setup, click a couple more boxes and be done with it. Most of my attempts at updating Windows by installing over an existing version of Windows have left my computer in a woeful state of disarray, generally bloating the already corpulent Windows directory to ever staggering heights. Following the explosion of the OS directory, were the inevitable throes of death, otherwise known as blue screens of death (BSOD).
As natural extension of our Windows 98 vs. Windows ME article, we wanted to see how well WinME performed in the task of upgrading an existing version of Windows. Our method was to install Win98SE and then update it with WinME. The results were quite pleasing. The amount of time the entire process took was in the sub twenty-minute range. No conflicts to speak of at all. All the previously installed hardware worked just fine, and all the software functioned without a hitch.
Some of our more astute readers will point out that we are using our test beds for this upgrading experiment. This is a system that is formatted on a regular basis, meaning it is exceedingly clean. Heck, the only programs that are even loaded on those machines are various benchmarks and games. Keeping this in mind, we took the test one step further; we put one of our own machines under the axe. To make it painfully clear, this is a real world system, with real programs, real games, and our very real own files.
Some poor soul was volunteered his system for the test, one guess as to who it was. Fortunately, our real world system upgrade was a snap. In fact, we were even more surprised when we checked the size of the new Windows directory; it was smaller than the old one! Everything was in perfect working order after the installation.
Enough with the babble, time to check out the performance of these systems.