OK, I'm gonna do this post, then zonk out. I'm gonna be civil and courteous now, and hopefully in the morning some of the wonderfully people here will have answers for these question from a long-time 98 user who now is gonna upgrade.
So don't flame me anymore, I'm doing what you all suggest, I'd just like some help in the process (note: I never said anything bad about those who did upgrade to XP earlier; you're right that we should be encouraged to make our own decisions, but we need real info about things before we know what the right combo of hardware and software is right for each individual.)
I have 3 computers I need to network, all running 98se from the same cd
1 of these computers is the server, it also is the one connected to the internet, for which I use a proxy to get the other two on the net. The server computer is also the best gaming computer. Both of the two others are just barely over the WinXP minimum spec, but I still want to play older LAN games with them (not DOS games, just afraid WinXP will make these machines unable to run both the OS and an older game at the same time, my house particularly likes Co-op source code revised Doom II)
Now, my questions:
1. Do I have to do a reformat/reinstall of what's on my PCs when I upgrade, is it just a good idea? I'll need to get on this quickly....related to this, are hard drives formated in one OS usuable as storage in another? Normally I would take one HD and copy my important files to that (I have 20+ gigs of prOn, mods, and saves that I always transfer by putting two HDs in one computer, reformatting one HD, and then putting the data I need back on with the other.)
2. OK, here's my situation with getting XP. I am graduating the University of North Florida within days (actually, the day Doom3 is supposed to arrive is my graduation ceremony) and my sister will be starting there this fall. I cannot, however, find out if my school has this $5 deal or if the just get regular academic pricing, which is like $75 for pro ed. They don't seem to have home ed. for academic, I don't know why.
Could some kind soul please point me toward a legal (or at least not outright illegal, I generally support IP rights, and John Ashcroft scares me) method of getting this discount. I'll be in North Central Florida until Friday, and then around Miami this weekend, if anyone knows places there to get this cheaper edition of XP I would be really, really grateful.
3. I hadn't heard before that 98 doesn't work well with 512+ megs of RAM, and you know, last week I bought Farcry and two sticks of Geil pc3200 512 and it didn't save games right, but when I removed one stick (thinking it was a compatibility problem on the MB side) everything was completely fine. Can anyone else (industry people are good) clarify the win98 ram situation? XPs vaunted stability aside, I know 1 gig helps when I run some Win98se games, but if there is a serious issue about RAM in 98, then upgrading to support my new ram seems less...excruciating. It will also help my driver woes with my 9800 pro, eh?
4. Ugh...drugs kicking in (but I think I'm still coherent - that is the great gift of college, chemical tolerance) Finally, where can I find a reputable site that details these aspects of XP: A - Microsoft's copy-protection schemes and possible legal (or only semi-legal) workarounds. B - Linux and ATI don't go together well, correct? This would have been a chance for me to try Linux, start with a dual boot or something, but that's moot if ATI doesn't care about Linux. C - Anything else I ought to think about before I start this upgrade. I can't imagine a worse fate than recieving my copy of Doom3 only discover some new problem that forces me to wait even longer to play, So I guess I've got until then to get at least one computer up on XP.
OK, Goodnight everyone, pleasant dreams, I look forward to hearing from anyone who can help.