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The upgrade to Windows 2000 required end-users to orient themselves with a new interface. Now, Windows XP Professional features a "skinning" approach to the interface and a compatibility feature for software written to the older 9x code base, used for Windows 95 and Windows 98, both still commonly used in UK businesses.
The new feature could reduce total costs of moving to the new system, according to Tony Lock, senior analyst at Bloor Research. "The ability to phase in staff training independently of the roll out of Windows XP is a perfect way to save costs and time during the transition."
The concept of skinning is being taken from the home user market where software can be given a totally customised look. For Windows users this will allow the radically altered interface of Windows XP to be given the look and feel of previous versions.
Neil Laver, Windows XP marketing manager at Microsoft, said, "This will mean that the IT department can roll out Windows XP with the look and feel of previous versions, train staff to use the new XP interface, and then switch on the new interface once training is completed."
Laver also claims that 80% of existing Windows 9x applications will appear to run natively under XP. This relieves the situation for Windows 2000 adopters where many software packages would not run on the new code base. The majority of the remaining packages can be easily configured to run through a utility shipped within XP.