My son wanted to upgrade his computer from Windows 2000 to XP -- for the sole reason of being able to play certain games that work only with XP. He did the legit thing: purchased the overpriced XP Upgrade box from Future Shop.
(Why overpriced? Because the American list price is $99, the Canadian exchange rate is about 1.10, so Future Shop and other Canadian retailers should be pricing the software at $110 -- but choose to sell it for $20 above the fair price.)
He called me from the store: "Dad, the box says it upgrades from Windows 98, 98 Second Edition, or ME. Will that work?"
"Sure," I said. "We have a copy of 98SE." I thought it odd that the XP Upgrade would not upgrade from Windows 2000.
Yesterday he backed up his files to my 250GB external hard drive (gotta love those external drives), and today he began the upgrade process. The plan was:
1. Reformat the hard drive.
2. Downgrade by installing Windows 98SE.
3. Sidegrade to XP. (There is no such thing as a Windows upgrade.)
Things stalled when it got to formatting the hard drive during the 98SE setup. It needed to boot off the 98SE CD, but wouldn't.
My son's first idea was to burn a 98 boot disc on CD, but that's not possible, at least not from DOS. I suggested providing a floppy boot diskette, but he said his floppy disk drive never worked. After substituting drives, checking cables, and switching cables, I determined that the power cable wasn't working; substituting a different power cable, and the floppy drive worked.
Except that it didn't matter for the 98SE setup. Then I noticed that a dir d: listing showed garbage on the 98SE Setup CD. The CD disc is no good, I thot. I put the CD into my computer's drive, and it worked just fine.
Maybe my son's computer's DVD drive is no good. We swapped drives. No difference. I put in another CD. Identical garbage displayed by the directory listing.
Then a thought struck me: his hard drive is formatted for NTFS (the file system used by Windows NT, 2000, and XP), but he was trying to install 98SE, which uses the FAT file system. Still, that wouldn't explain the DVD drive display directory garbage.
Next idea was to use the Maxtor disc to reformat the hard drive for FAT. I asked for the CD, and as he flipped thru his collection, I noticed a laser-etched CD. "What's this?" Oh, that's the XP setup disk. I checked the side of the box: sure enough, it works only with 98, 98SE, and ME.
On a hunch, I stuck the XP disc in the DVD drive. It spent some time loading drivers. "Don't get your hopes up," I warned my son. Setup complained it could find no operating system on the disk. "This is the end," I thought to myself."
Then it asked me to stick in the CD for any of the following operating systems: Windows NT, 95, 98, 98SE, 2000, or XP. I stuck in the 98SE disc, Setup pondered it, and then asked for the XP disc back. Installation continued normally.
Why does Microsoft lie that this XP sidegrade doesn't work with Windows 2000? I need to send a bill for my wasted time to billg.