Compatibility Resources

On its Web site, Microsoft provides a growing range of compatibility tools, information, and links to third-party data. Probably the most significant tool is a standalone compatibility test, the Windows 2000 (Win2K) Readiness Analyzer (i.e., chkupgrd.exe), which Screen A shows. Chkupgrd.exe packages most of Win2K Setup's first-phase code into a 2.6MB executable file that you can run on Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 9x systems. On execution, the tool unpacks into 6MB of code and data and runs a series of tests to identify whether your system is compatible with Win2K Professional (Win2K Pro), which devices require updated drivers beyond those on the Win2K Pro CD-ROM, and which applications you need to upgrade. Chkupgrd.exe has a limited database of compatible and incompatible applications, and it won't run on systems that have a dual-boot setup between Win9x and Win2K Pro or NT. However, if you can use the tool, you'll find that it's a tremendous help.

Additional resources available on Microsoft's Web site include the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL—, which Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) maintains. Devices that the HCL identifies as Win2K Pro-compatible have passed WHQL testing. (Unfortunately, the list mainly includes the devices whose drivers are on the Win2K Pro distribution CD-ROM.) Also available on Microsoft's Web site are a software compatibility database ( and a list of systems requiring BIOS upgrades (

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