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Back then my computers had kernel panics and blue screens at least once a month. Which parts of the hardware and of the operating systems have been improved the most since then?

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closed as not constructive by Tom Wijsman, Canadian Luke, Hennes, TFM, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Nov 17 '12 at 4:41

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Mostly for the same reason that the release version of software is much more stable than the alpha - software matures over time. You can't catch all the bugs in the first debugging session –  Nate Koppenhaver Nov 17 '12 at 4:08
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Why do less people die in cars these days? Airbags! –  Tom Wijsman Nov 17 '12 at 4:09
    
Shame this was closed. Short Answer: Stiff competition in the server market demanded that os/driver interaction be near-perfect –  Dougvj Nov 17 '12 at 5:21
    
I have a P4 on XP and it's an extremely reliable computer. –  barlop Jun 10 at 23:01

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Much better and more reliable code in the os in terms of Kernel-driver interaction, security, and updates. the drivers themselves are better (WHQL is a pain, but not a bad idea).

Almost all popular apps autoupdate these days.

After the california anti-spyware act commercial malware pretty much ceased to exist, leaving it entirely in the hands of real criminals. the criminals also got much better at writing, testing, and deploying code, so it causes fewer problems and can go undetected longer. Viruses and worms waned, trojans waxed, and browsers began to distrust plugins in response. most OSes now implement some means to allow a user to run with limited authority effectively.

Better hardware standards and cheaper manufacturing for decent quality parts brought up the standard for hardware integration.

More capacious hardware helps hide latency and lags that would have been very noticable in prior years. I can run 8 threads simultaneously on this box. if one gets stuck, I may never notice.

Basically a systemic improvement in implementation throughout the industry.

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