Click here to calculate how much Win XP will cost you

Online test works out costs v. benefits

With a month to go until Windows XP springs to life, many IT users are still unsure if the benefits are worth the expense of upgrading.

So before handing over shed-loads of cash to Microsoft for its latest operating system (upgrades will cost £89.99 for XP Home Edition and £169.99 for XP Professional), it could be worth checking out the Forbes.com site.

Here you will find the Forbes Windows XP ROI calculator, an online test to calculate how much the upgrade is likely to save (or cost) individuals or companies in the first two years after the switch.

Surfers answer questions on expenses associated with the transition - such as how many PCs are destined for the upgrade, the percentage of machines that will need extra memory or disk space, and if many will have to be replaced with new hardware.

This is then compared to the benefits, including machines having to be rebooted less frequently (estimated to save each user 20 minutes per week) and the OS's extra security features (another 30 minutes per week).

After the data is pumped into the ROI calculator, it tells the user if it is worth their while to invest in the upgrade. The whole procedure takes about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, it seems that users of Windows 2000 Professional will be disappointed if they plan to upgrade to the XP Home Edition.

The only option available to Windows 2000 users is the more expensive XP Professional. Details of switching to XP from other versions of Windows can be found on the MIcrosoft site. ®

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