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 PostPost subject: Windows XP N        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:36 am 
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As you may know, MS has been forced to release a version of Windows XP without the built-in WMP and Windows Media technologies in the EU. These versions, called "Home Edition N" and "Professional N" ("Not with media player") are literally identical to the standard XP edition, they only lack Windows Media Player, which can additionally be installed manually.

So, concerning the fact it costs the same as the regular XP, I fail to see the point in it for the casual end-user. What do you think?

Concerning the look, it's completely identical to XP, the only place where you will see the "N" mentioned is in the System Properties and maybe in the setting up stage after the 1st boot (can't confirm since I was installing it unattendedly). Other than that, the system is not even able to play an Audio CD, let alone handle MP3 and WMA files and stuff. The only type of audio files it recognizes AFAIK is Wave and maybe Midi.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:47 am 
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do you have it? If yes, could you upload it pleace? I made a C#, Delphi library to detect WIndows versions, but I have no idea to detect the N Editions. Hopefully if I have a copy, I could figure out, how to detect the N Editions.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:54 am 
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Yes, I have it. Problem is, this is a final (i.e. something you have to pay for) and thus I can't upload it; it would be against the rules if I did.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Windows XP N        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:23 am 
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empireum wrote:
So, concerning the fact it costs the same as the regular XP, I fail to see the point in it for the casual end-user. What do you think?


It's completely pointless - the only reason they produce it is because the European Union told them they had to. Apparently virtually nobody buys it, and I presume most shops don't stock it as no-one would want it. If you didn't want to use WMP, then you'd just install the normal version and then install another media player. You're probably going to want to play a WMA/WMV files at some point anyway, so then you'll have to go and install WMP anyway, which makes it exactly the same as a normal version of XP.

I know this is completely offtopic, but I just thought of it when looking at the build tag of it: I presume it's an SP2-integrated version with no updates, as the build is SP2 RTM 04-08-03 (August 2004 being when SP2 was finalised) - I've always wondered why the build tag of an XPSP2 system changed with some update somewhere between SP2's release and now (well, March 2005, as suggested by the new build date), to SP2 GDR 05-03-01. Anyone know? And what is GDR?

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 PostPost subject: Re: Windows XP N        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:09 am 
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Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
empireum wrote:
So, concerning the fact it costs the same as the regular XP, I fail to see the point in it for the casual end-user. What do you think?

I know this is completely offtopic, but I just thought of it when looking at the build tag of it: I presume it's an SP2-integrated version with no updates, as the build is SP2 RTM 04-08-03 (August 2004 being when SP2 was finalised) - I've always wondered why the build tag of an XPSP2 system changed with some update somewhere between SP2's release and now (well, March 2005, as suggested by the new build date), to SP2 GDR 05-03-01. Anyone know? And what is GDR?

GDR = General Delivery release
also QFE = Quick Fix Engineering

useful KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824994


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:37 am 
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Ah, I see - the build number of a certain file is changed from SP2 RTM to SP2 GDR when a post-SP2 update updates it. So when the build number of the whole of Windows changed, there must have been an update that affected some crucial part (kernel maybe?)

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:11 am 
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It's completely pointless - the only reason they produce it is because the European Union told them they had to. Apparently virtually nobody buys it, and I presume most shops don't stock it as no-one would want it. If you didn't want to use WMP, then you'd just install the normal version and then install another media player. You're probably going to want to play a WMA/WMV files at some point anyway, so then you'll have to go and install WMP anyway, which makes it exactly the same as a normal version of XP.

Yeah, couldn't agree more. It's just a waste of engineering :) And they even had to rename the thing at least once because the initial name, "Windows XP RME" (Reduced Media Edition), was not accepted as it sounded "crippled" and less worth than the normal version. What a mess...

Regarding the build tags: I once did an XP install from a custom image that I had integrated an upgrade pack into (using nLite) and the build tag showed a significantly later date, something 2006. Don't know why. This doesn't happen if you install the patches later, manually, on the installed system.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:01 am 
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Regarding the build date, I installed a hotfix yesterday for AMD dual-core processors, from Microsoft. The hotfix contained an updated NT kernel, which is where the build number is queried from, apparently, as now in My computer->About, the window displays an October 12th 2006 date.

So, basically, it really depends on what kernel you have installed - there have been many different updates to the kernel since SP2, and so, it will vary machine to machine.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:56 am 
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I noticed this also with Server 2003 SP2...


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:47 pm 
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I used to have both Windows XP Home N and XP Professional N, I never installed them, just archive them and now they seem like they ran away from me.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:42 pm 
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What type of product keys does this take? Retail, OEM, VLK? All of em?


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:49 pm 
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glbanksitter wrote:
What type of product keys does this take? Retail, OEM, VLK? All of em?

There's most likely OEMs of it, but the copy floating arond the scene is
a VLK of it...


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:06 pm 
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KenOath wrote:
glbanksitter wrote:
What type of product keys does this take? Retail, OEM, VLK? All of em?

There's most likely OEMs of it, but the copy floating arond the scene is
a VLK of it...


There must be retail keys as well, because there are boxed editions of this (if you could get one of those, it would probably be very collectable at some point as it's so rare!).

Does it take the same keys as the normal copies of XP, or is there a different key set? Not that I've got a copy; I'm just interested.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:20 pm 
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Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
There must be retail keys as well, because there are boxed editions of this


Yes I imagine there would be also,..

Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
There must be retail keys as well, because there are boxed editions of this (if you could get one of those, it would probably be very collectable at some point as it's so rare!).

Does it take the same keys as the normal copies of XP, or is there a different key set? Not that I've got a copy; I'm just interested.


Yes it takes the normal XP keys...
It would take all of 10 minutes to convert a VLK to either OEM or retail..
It's Just a matter of swapping 7 files for either, it's the only difference
in all XP versions regards to whether it's a VLK, OEM or Retail version...
What gives you the impression it's rare..?


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:32 pm 
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KenOath wrote:
Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
There must be retail keys as well, because there are boxed editions of this


Yes I imagine there would be also,..

There are. These are the boxes, published on the MS website:
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KenOath wrote:
Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
There must be retail keys as well, because there are boxed editions of this (if you could get one of those, it would probably be very collectable at some point as it's so rare!).

Does it take the same keys as the normal copies of XP, or is there a different key set? Not that I've got a copy; I'm just interested.


Yes it takes the normal XP keys...
It would take all of 10 minutes to convert a VLK to either OEM or retail..
It's Just a matter of swapping 7 files for either, it's the only difference
in all XP versions regards to whether it's a VLK, OEM or Retail version...
What gives you the impression it's rare..?

Well, it's not rare as of now, but it might become rare in some years because almost nobody will have bought it, I guess, when it was available. And so, there'll be very few retail boxes available of this then, when MS has stopped production and distribution of it, and it might be a wanted collectors item. Just my thought. But as I said, as of now, it's nothing special IMHO. I think it's kinda funny: The EU forced MS to release these versions, they even had the fuss about the name and now as it's out, (almost) nobody's gonna buy it because there's no point in doing that. If it was cheaper than the regular XP, I could see a point, but that way....


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:33 pm 
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KenOath wrote:
What gives you the impression it's rare..?


There's surely very few boxed copies of the N editions around, seeing as no-one buys them (they're not going to produce very many if there's zero demand for them)? I mean the actual physical box and contents, not just the OS itself (which of course can be reproduced and passed around the internet, and although I personally haven't seen a copy (though I haven't really looked that hard) it must be out there).

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:38 pm 
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Vista Ultimate R2 wrote:
KenOath wrote:
What gives you the impression it's rare..?


There's surely very few boxed copies of the N editions around, seeing as no-one buys them (they're not going to produce very many if there's zero demand for them)? I mean the actual physical box and contents, not just the OS itself (which of course can be reproduced and passed around the internet, and although I personally haven't seen a copy (though I haven't really looked that hard) it must be out there).

I've just looked briefly, none of my favourite local (= German) dealers seem to have it in stock. They just have the "normal" XP editions. And concerning your second point: It is "out there".


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:47 pm 
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It appears to be in stock on Amazon UK - they say that they have 1 copy of Pro upgrade and 1 of the non-upgrade - maybe they only have 1 copy on a dusty shelf somewhere that they keep just in case some Eurocrat trys to order it to check that it is actually possibly to get it? Interestingly, it is actually very slightly cheaper (about £10 less for the non-upgrade version).

Normal version
N version

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:01 pm 
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Interesting that it's cheaper, at least slightly, indeed. But that won't cut it either, I think. It's not that much cheaper to justify the purchase, but that's to be expected actually because the differences are so minor.
If you wanted to buy XP Pro and make a good deal, you would choose the MCE 2005 instead which is cheaper than Pro but based on it and comes with the Media Center as a "bonus" if you need it. I admit, XP Pro is not completely identical to the XP built in in MCE 2005, but the missing two features can be added in manually. So, in theory, you get a real XP Pro. With all the media player stuff. Compared to this, XP N seems kinda like a joke if you take the prices into consideration.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:02 pm 
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Well, I guess the box & dice associated with it would be rare indeed,
I was referring to the OS however as I thought you were too!


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:08 pm 
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KenOath wrote:
Well, I guess the box & dice associated with it would be rare indeed,
I was referring to the OS however as I thought you were too!

Well... Then, you could buy the retail version with the box, sell the CD with the license and key and keep the box :lol:


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:22 pm 
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wouldn't be a collectors item if it were opened ;)

i think it is silly for the EU to force microsoft to release it (probably know very well that it wouldn't sell), but i can see where the EU is coming from. I just think it could have save microsoft a lot of hassle (and money) if they just gave you an option to install wmp during the XP install. Also, should they also have to relase other versions without wordpad, disk defragmenter, windows messenger or system restore?


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:12 am 
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___ wrote:
wouldn't be a collectors item if it were opened ;)


It would certainly be less collectable if opened, although it may be almost as rare as a boxed copy of Windows 1.0x, which is collectable even if opened. I have a boxed copy of NT 4 Workstation that is still shrinkwrapped, hoping to make my fortune one day :P I also have a complete Macintosh System 7.0 box which is opened, but the 4 manuals inside are all still shrinkwrapped, so that’s probably not quite as collectable…

___ wrote:
i think it is silly for the EU to force microsoft to release it (probably know very well that it wouldn't sell), but i can see where the EU is coming from. I just think it could have save microsoft a lot of hassle (and money) if they just gave you an option to install wmp during the XP install. Also, should they also have to relase other versions without wordpad, disk defragmenter, windows messenger or system restore?


Well yes, I don't quite see why WMP is different to a lot of the other programs bundled with Windows. They let them get away with IE because MS claimed it is such an integral part of the system (MS deliberately made it so for precisely this reason) that it's impossible to release a version of Windows without it that works properly (but then they went and released Fundamentals anyway...). However, there's lots of other programs bundled with Windows (and even more so with Vista) that in theory are anti-competitive in the same way as bundling WMP is. Don't forget the "K" editions of Windows that are only sold in Korea, because the Korean government told them to remove both Messenger and WMP (I think that's what they lack compared with normal XP anyway).

I think that they should go back to how it was with Windows 9x, where you could choose which extra components you wanted when you installed Windows - with Vista they could (if they wanted to) allow you to install anything from a PowerShell-based (no Explorer) stripped out setup that only needed a few hundred MB of disk space and a very small amount of Ram, right up to the full multi-gig Ultimate system with Media Centre, Aero etc, or anything in between. That would be so much better than the completely uncustomisable Setup that is actually in Vista

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:32 am 
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It would certainly be less collectable if opened, although it may be almost as rare as a boxed copy of Windows 1.0x, which is collectable even if opened. I have a boxed copy of NT 4 Workstation that is still shrinkwrapped, hoping to make my fortune one day Razz I also have a complete Macintosh System 7.0 box which is opened, but the 4 manuals inside are all still shrinkwrapped, so that’s probably not quite as collectable…

A boxed copy of NT4 Workstation, wow! I only have OEM or MSDN versions of NT4. I might buy a boxed (shrinkwrapped or not) copy of it just because the box is so nice with the NT4 Workstation logo. By the way, I think the Server logo looks kinda siple and ugly compared to it, but it isn't that important on a server anyway. I just thought and think the logo of NT4 Wks. looks really professional and, well, makes me think of a stable and reliable OS, and that's what it was/is compared to Win95/98, and it's one of my favourite Windows OSes, although I'm a *nix guy actually.

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I think that they should go back to how it was with Windows 9x, where you could choose which extra components you wanted when you installed Windows - with Vista they could (if they wanted to) allow you to install anything from a PowerShell-based (no Explorer) stripped out setup that only needed a few hundred MB of disk space and a very small amount of Ram, right up to the full multi-gig Ultimate system with Media Centre, Aero etc, or anything in between. That would be so much better than the completely uncustomisable Setup that is actually in Vista

Yes, exactly. I would really appreciate it if they made the setup that customizable. I mean, it can't be that hard, can it? And they also offer something like this in Longhorn Server, either the full blown install with the GUI and all the functions the choosen release offers, or the Core install with the command-shell which only takes up a small amount of disk space compared to the full-blown install and uses only ~180MB RAM with 35 processes running (figures taken from build 5744, don't have newer ones installed as Core). If they offered something like "Vista Core" or maybe "Vista Fundamentals" (just making up names here) being based on Ultimate, i.e. having all the functionality and licensing extras, access to Ultimate Extras and stuff, but only coming with the necessary number of services and programs for people that need special and customized setups, that would be great. In the meantime, we are stuck using vLite and I think we're going to be able to fit Vista on a 700MB CD soon, we're not too much off of it anymore :) BTW, Longhorn Server Core easily fits on a CD.

And, back to the Windows 9x days: You could use 98lite (Pro) and integrate that into the setup to be able to deinstall even more components, leaving you with a (fully?) functional, but minimal Win98 install of only 50MB or so that would be blazing fast even on older machines.

Honestly, I also think it's a bit silly from MS to say the IE is so tightly integrated into Windows that it can't be removed or something like this, and yet it can, and they also proove it with FLP where you can take it out of the image. Really, they should release a functionality like that in the Vista setup. Maybe we're going to see a new build of Fundamentals based on Vista in some years when it's successor is (soon to be) out...


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 1:04 am 
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empireum wrote:
A boxed copy of NT4 Workstation, wow! I only have OEM or MSDN versions of NT4.


Someone was selling 10 copies of it on eBay a while back, and each one went really cheap as there were so many of them being sold all in one go (it only cost me about £2.50 including shipping), so I decided to pick one up as a pristine shrinkwrapped box is quite cool and not that common. It does have an "Academic Price" sticker on it which I can't remove as it's under the shrinkwrap, but the sticker is the only difference between this box and the normal retail box. I'd actually quite like to see what's inside it as it's qute heavy and you can hear lots of things moving around if you shake it a bit, but I can't open it!

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I don't have very many cool boxes though :( Probably not as many as you (I seem to remember you saying you have lots of retail boxes of Windows) - these are my more interesting boxes:

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MS DOS 5 and IBM DOS 5 were free from university clearance, System 7 and FileMaker Pro 2.0 were free from Freecycle, Windows 95 and WfW were very cheap (a few pounds each) from eBay (I got the WfW one as I have never seen that edition (“Workgroup Upgrade for Windows 3.0) before, and thought it is quite an interesting one to have), and the OS X Public Beta and X 10.0 packs were £3 for the pair (including postage) from eBay :)

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