Thursday, November 1, 2001

To upgrade or not to upgrade? XP is the question.

WINDOWS XP AND LOTUS PRODUCTS

By Dan Velasco

Are you an early adopter who just can't wait to get your hands on the latest hardware and software? Do you stay up late at night thinking of new ways to tick off your IT department? Are you willing to risk alienating the help-desk staff in your company just to get a new technology "fix"? Does the thought of Bill Gates whispering "XP" in your ear make you hot? Well, if so my friends, read on to see what you might encounter if you decide to upgrade to Windows XP and use it with the current versions of Lotus products.

I'll admit that I very much fit the profile above, except for the Bill thing (although I do get an unexplainable tingle). This is not to say that I'm reckless or that I deliberately do mean things to make the nice people in the IT department mad at me; it just means that I like to be a trailblazer, to go where no one, at least in my company, has gone before. Windows XP offered a perfect opportunity to do just this. While we didn't have any formal plans to upgrade to Windows XP, I saw an opportunity to test it out and see if and how it could benefit my company and me.

Here's how I went about testing Windows XP in a safe and deliberate way. I got a hold of the Windows XP Professional Release Candidate 2 software back in September. I then backed up all of the data off of my computer, deleted any unnecessary software and files, and used PartitionMagic from PowerQuest to create a new partition on my hard drive in which to install Windows XP. You can read more about how to do this on PowerQuest's site by going to http://www.partitionmagic.com/xp/xptester.html. Without the safety net of being able to go back to Windows 98, where I knew everything worked correctly, it would have been foolish of me to upgrade to Windows XP.

This article is an expanded and embellished version of a tip I did for DominoPower the week that Windows XP was released. I got a lot of interesting email from people about the tip and have included some of that feedback below. Note that the following is based on using Windows XP Professional Release Candidate 2 (the final version before the shipping version). Please note that all the experiences I describe below are accurate for me but might not be the same for all users, and some problems mentioned might have been fixed in the final release of Windows XP, although I've heard from readers using the final code who have experienced the same problems.

Lotus Notes (minor problems)

I did a clean install of Lotus Notes 5.0.8 on my Windows XP system, and it runs fine, although with two problems. First, when I first launch Notes after starting Windows XP, it sometimes takes a while (60-70 seconds) for the password prompt to appear. There are no delays, though, if I stop and then restart Notes again. I've experienced some problems if I try to do anything while Notes is loading, so I've learned just to wait until the password prompt appears before trying to do anything else on my computer.