Survey Bolsters W2K Reliability Claims

Users of Windows 9x and Windows NT often complain about the operating systems’ stability, citing minor incompatibilities that can explode into fatal system errors. Will this trend continue with Windows 2000? The results of a recent survey say no.

Sunbelt Software Distribution Inc. (www.sunbelt-software.com) in conjunction with the analyst firm Giga Information Group (www.gigaweb.com) conducted a survey on NT Sysadmin and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer mailing lists, asking Windows 2000 beta users about their experiences. The company received more than 1,000 responses.

Users of Windows 2000 Professional found it to be significantly more stable than Windows 9x, with 54 percent saying it hardly crashed or did not crash. An additional 22 percent noted that it was more reliable than Windows 95 or 98, crashing about half as much.

Compared with Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, over half the respondents said Windows 2000 Professional is more stable than Workstation, with 26 percent saying it did not crash or barely crashed and 25 percent saying it crashed half as much.

The survey focused exclusively on reliability, not taking factors such as scalability into consideration.

While not strictly a scientific survey, it does give an indication of how the desktop version of Windows 2000 will function, says Laura DiDio, senior analyst with the Giga Group. She says it is a true reflection of Windows 2000's reliability.

The users surveyed were not computer gurus with special access to betas and support. "These are hands on IT managers playing with the betas, not bleeding edge users," DiDio explains.

The numbers suggest Windows 2000 Professional is a stable operation system, but deployment, particularly on the server side, is another issue. "Look, we don’t say this is a tally-ho to server side deployment," DiDio says.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said Windows 2000 Server was more reliable than Windows NT 4.0 Server. Also, most of the problems noted were a result of learning curve issues, rather than glitches in the software.