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Information Technology

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Operating Systems have come a long way since the times of a separate windows system and Disk Operating System (DOS). Now, both systems are combined which made DOS obsolete. According to Capron (2001), "An operating system is a set of programs that lies between applications software and computer hardware; it is the fundamental software that controls access to all other software and hardware resources" (p. 65). Operating systems have three main functions: to manage computer resources, to establish user interface and to execute and provide services for application software. The computer would just be useless machine with no direction or purpose without an operating system. According to our author (2003), "The most important system software is the operating system because without it computers would be extremely difficult to use" (p. 31).

Operating System Compatibility in the Workplace

Watts-Smith and Cheng (2004) define compatibility as, "The ability of all hardware and all software in one unit, such as a computer, to work together without difficulty" (no pg.). As with a perfect world, there is no such thing as a perfect computer or software. There will always be compatibility issues with their set of patches and service packs to assist in the smooth operation of a computer information system. In the case of operating systems, upgrades always bring their host of compatibility problems or issues. While most compatibility issues go relatively unnoticed to the average computer user, the ones that are noticeable are extreme in nature. Too many times, previous programs which worked smoothly with the previous operating systems develop problems in speed, memory or even overall usability when upgraded to a newer version. For example, there was a large compatibility issue at work with Microsoft Office Access when the systems at work were upgraded from Windows NT to Windows 2000. An Access database that was critical to our work, which worked perfectly with Windows NT was no longer operable with Windows 2000. Therefore, a single computer had to be reconverted back to Windows NT in order to continue to work with this Access database. If this was not allowed, a vast wealth of information would have been lost forever. Now that the Government has approved the use of Windows XP, these compatibility issues are becoming less and less.

Operating system of Choice

I prefer Windows XP Professional. There seems to be less compatibility issues with Windows XP than with Windows 2000 or Windows NT. In fact, the big problem which I described in one of my discussion questions, when my workplace tried to apply a service pack without testing it, happened with Windows 2000. In my opinion, Windows 2000 was a big mistake for Microsoft, which led to the immediate development and implementation of Windows XP Professional and Home editions. This nightmare cost our Government a lot of time and money. Basically, everyone's system was completely down for weeks. It took many service packs, patches and correspondence with Microsoft to get the systems back online and operational again. Lots of information was lost. On the other hand, Windows XP comes with a Program Compatibility Wizard. According to Microsoft (2001, Oct 25), "You can use the Program Compatibility Wizard to test your program in different modes (environments) and with various settings. For example, if the program was originally designed to run on Windows 95, set the compatibility mode to Windows 95 and try running your program again. If successful, the program will start in that mode each time" (no pg).

Common Application Software

At work I predominantly use Microsoft Office application software. Microsoft application software includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access. Each type of application software has a particular purpose. Microsoft Word is a word processing program which allows you to produce professional documents. The program is very user friendly with a host of wizards, templates and tutorials to even allow the beginning user the ability to create professionally looking documents. The program even comes with a spell check, thesaurus and grammar check. PowerPoint is a graphic program that allows you to create professional looking presentations. You can choose from a wide host of templates and slide designs in order to create a presentation masterpiece. PowerPoint also allows the more advanced user to add sounds and animations quickly and easily. Microsoft Excel is a program designed to allow users to create complex and professional looking spreadsheets. Like Microsoft Office's other application software, this application comes with a wide variety of wizards, templates and tutorials in which to choose. Excel has pivot tables which allow the user to manipulate data within their spreadsheets. Excel can also be used for very simplistic database analysis. Microsoft Access is a relational database tool. This program allows you to create meaningful, purposeful and complex databases, which allows for the better analysis of data. Another unique feature with Microsoft Office applications is that you can link applications. This is great feature and stops the need to reinvent the wheel every time you update data. For example, you can link a PowerPoint graph in a presentation with Excel spreadsheet. If you update the spreadsheet, it automatically updates the graph in your presentation.

Custom Application

At my work place there are various custom applications. For the purpose of this paper, I will



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