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• • • Windows XP (codenamed Whistler) is a that was produced by as part of the family of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2001, and broadly released for retail sale on October 25, 2001. Development of Windows XP began in the late 1990s as ', an operating system built on the which was intended specifically for mainstream consumer use. An updated version of was also originally planned for the business market; however, in January 2000, both projects were shelved in favor of a single OS codenamed 'Whistler', which would serve as a single OS platform for both consumer and business markets. Windows XP was a major advance from the versions of in security, stability and efficiency due to its use of Windows NT underpinnings.

It introduced a significantly redesigned and was the first version of Windows to use in an effort to reduce its. Upon its release, Windows XP received generally positive reviews, with critics noting increased performance and overall stability (especially in comparison to ), a more intuitive user interface, improved hardware support, and its expanded multimedia capabilities. Despite some initial concerns over the new licensing model and product activation system, Windows XP eventually proved to be popular and widely used.

It is estimated that at least 400 million copies of Windows XP were sold globally within its first five years of availability, and at least one billion copies were sold by April 2014. Sales of Windows XP licenses to (OEMs) ceased on June 30, 2008, but continued for until October 2010. Extended support for Windows XP ended on April 8, 2014, after which the operating system to most users. As of August 2017, Windows XP desktop market share makes it the fourth most popular Windows version after Windows 7, Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. Contents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Development [ ] 'Neptune' and 'Odyssey' [ ] In the late 1990s, initial development of what would become Windows XP was focused on two individual products; 'Odyssey', which was reportedly intended to succeed the future, and ', which was reportedly a consumer-oriented operating system using the architecture, succeeding the -based. Based on the NT 5.0 kernel in Windows 2000, Neptune primarily focused on offering a simplified, task-based interface based on a concept known internally as 'activity centers', originally planned to be implemented in Windows 98.

A number of activity centers were planned, serving as hubs for email communications, playing music, managing or viewing photos, searching the Internet, and viewing recently used content. A single build of Neptune, 5111 (which still carried the branding of Windows 2000 in places), revealed early work on the activity center concept, with an updated user account interface and graphical login screen, common functions (such as recently used programs) being accessible from a customizable 'Starting Places' page (which could be used as either a separate window, or a full-screen desktop replacement). However, the project proved to be. Microsoft discussed a plan to delay Neptune in favor of an interim OS known as 'Asteroid', which would have been an update to Windows 2000 (Windows NT 5.0), and have a consumer-oriented version. Sunplus Vfd Tool Kit. At the conference on April 7, 1999, announced an updated version of Windows 98 known as, breaking a promise made by Microsoft CEO in 1998 that Windows 98 would be the final consumer-oriented version of Windows to use the MS-DOS architecture.

Concepts introduced by Neptune would influence future Windows products; in Windows ME, the activity center concept was used for and (which both combined code with an interface rendered using 's ), the hub concept would be expanded on, and would similarly use a simplified user interface running atop the existing. 'Whistler' [ ] In January 2000, shortly prior to the official release of Windows 2000, technology writer reported that Microsoft had shelved both Neptune and Odyssey in favor of a new product codenamed Whistler, after, as many Microsoft employees skied at the ski resort. The goal of Whistler was to unify both the consumer and business-oriented Windows lines under a single, Windows NT platform: Thurrott stated that Neptune had become 'a black hole when all the features that were cut from [Windows ME] were simply re-tagged as Neptune features.

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And since Neptune and Odyssey would be based on the same code-base anyway, it made sense to combine them into a single project'. At WinHEC in April 2000, Microsoft officially announced and presented an early build of Whistler, focusing on a new modularized architecture, built-in,, and updated versions of the digital media features introduced by ME. Windows general manager Carl Stork stated that Whistler would be released in both consumer- and business-oriented versions built atop the same architecture, and that there were plans to update the Windows interface to make it 'warmer and more friendly'.

In June 2000, Microsoft began the technical beta testing process. Whistler was expected to be made available in 'Personal', 'Professional', 'Server', 'Advanced Server', and 'Datacenter' editions. At on July 13, 2000, Microsoft announced that Whistler would be released during the second half of 2001, and also released the first preview build, 2250. The build notably introduced an early version of a new visual styles system along with an interim theme known as 'Professional' (later renamed 'Watercolor'), and contained a hidden 'Start page' (a full-screen page similar to Neptune's 'Starting Places'), and a hidden, early version of a two-column design. Build 2257 featured further refinements to the Watercolor theme, along with the official introduction of the two-column Start menu, and the addition of an early version of.

Beta versions [ ] Microsoft released Whistler Beta 1, build 2296, on October 31, 2000. In January 2001, build 2410 introduced (previously branded as 5.6) and the system. Bill Gates dedicated a portion of his keynote at to discuss Whistler, explaining that the OS would bring '[the] dependability of our highest end corporate desktop, and total dependability, to the home,' and also 'move it in the direction of making it very consumer-oriented.

Making it very friendly for the home user to use.' Alongside Beta 1, it was also announced that Microsoft would prioritize the release of the consumer-oriented versions of Whistler over the in order to gauge reaction, but that they would be both generally available during the second half of 2001 (Whistler Server would ultimately be delayed into 2003). Builds 2416 and 2419 added the and began to introduce elements of the operating system's final appearance (such as its near-final design, and the addition of new default wallpapers, such as ). On February 5, 2001, Microsoft officially announced that Whistler would be known as Windows XP, where XP stands for 'experience'. As a complement, the next version of was also announced as. Microsoft stated that the name '[symbolizes] the rich and extended user experiences Windows and Office can offer by embracing Web services that span a broad range of devices.' In a press event at in on February 13, 2001, Microsoft publicly unveiled the new 'Luna' user interface of Windows XP.

Windows XP Beta 2, build 2462a (which among other improvements, introduced the Luna style), was launched at WinHEC on March 25, 2001. In April 2001, Microsoft controversially announced that XP would not integrate support for or on launch, requiring the use of third-party drivers.

Critics felt that in the case of the latter, Microsoft's decision had delivered a potential blow to the adoption of USB 2.0, as XP was to provide support for the competing, -developed, standard instead. A representative stated that the company had '[recognized] the importance of USB 2.0 as a newly emerging standard and is evaluating the best mechanism for making it available to Windows XP users after the initial release.' The builds prior to and following Release Candidate 1 (build 2505, released on July 5, 2001), and Release Candidate 2 (build 2526, released on July 27, 2001), focused on fixing bugs, acknowledging user feedback, and other final tweaks before the RTM build. Release [ ] In June 2001, Microsoft indicated that it was planning to, in conjunction with and other PC makers, spend at least 1 billion on marketing and promoting Windows XP. The theme of the campaign, 'Yes You Can', was designed to emphasize the platform's overall capabilities. Microsoft had originally planned to use the slogan 'Prepare to Fly', but it was replaced due to sensitivity issues in the wake of the.

A prominent aspect of Microsoft's campaign was a U.S. Television commercial featuring 's song '; a Microsoft spokesperson stated that the song was chosen due to its optimistic tone and how it complemented the overall theme of the campaign. On August 24, 2001, Windows XP build 2600 was. During a ceremonial media event at, copies of the RTM build were given to representatives of several major PC manufacturers in, who then flew off on decorated. While PC manufacturers would be able to release devices running XP beginning on September 24, 2001, XP was expected to reach general, retail availability on October 25, 2001.

On the same day, Microsoft also announced the final retail pricing of XP's two main editions, 'Home' and 'Professional'. New and updated features [ ]. Updated start menu, now featuring two columns While retaining some similarities to previous versions, Windows XP's interface was overhauled with a new visual appearance, with an increased use of effects,, and ', which completely change the appearance of the operating system.

The amount of effects enabled are determined by the operating system based on the computer's processing power, and can be enabled or disabled on a case-by-case basis. XP also added, a new system designed to improve the appearance of fonts on. A new set of system icons were also introduced. The default wallpaper,, is a photo of a landscape in the outside, with rolling green hills and a blue sky with and.

The Start menu received its first major overhaul on XP, switching to a two-column layout with the ability to list, pin, and display frequently used applications, recently opened documents, and the traditional cascading 'All Programs' menu. The can now group windows opened by a single application into one taskbar button, with a listing the individual windows. The notification area also hides 'inactive' icons by default. The taskbar can also be 'locked' to prevent accidental moving or other changes. A 'common tasks' list was added, and 's sidebar was updated to use a new task-based design with lists of common actions; the tasks displayed are contextually relevant to the type of content in a folder (i.e.

A folder with music displays offers to play all the files in the folder, or burn them to a CD). The 'task grouping' feature introduced in Windows XP showing both grouped and individual items Fast user switching allows additional users to log into a Windows XP machine without existing users having to close their programs and logging out. Although only one user at the time can use the console (i.e. Monitor, keyboard and mouse), previous users can resume their session once they regained control of the console. Infrastructure [ ] Windows XP uses to improve startup and application launch times.

It also became possible to revert the installation of an updated, should the updated driver produce undesirable results. Numerous improvements were also made to system administration tools such as,,,,,,,,,, and. [ ] Windows XP introduced a system known as. All Windows licenses must be tied to a unique ID generated using information from the, transmitted either via the internet or a telephone hotline. If Windows is not activated within 30 days of installation, the OS will cease to function until it is activated. Windows also periodically verifies the hardware to check for changes. If significant hardware changes are detected, the activation is voided, and Windows must be re-activated.

Networking and internet functionality [ ] Windows XP was originally bundled with, 6,, and. New networking features were also added, including Internet Connection Firewall, integration with UPnP, NAT traversal APIs, Quality of Service features, IPv6 and Teredo tunneling,, extended fax features, network bridging, peer to peer networking, support for most modems, () connections with and roaming,, and networking over FireWire. And were also added, which allow users to connect to a computer running Windows XP from across a network or the and access their applications, files, printers, and devices or request help. Improvements were also made to IntelliMirror features such as, and.

Main article: Some of the programs and features that were part of the previous versions of Windows did not make it to Windows XP.,, and are replaced with,, and Windows shell. And are and are not installed by default.

And network protocols are removed. Communication devices (like and ) are no longer supported. And also remove features from Windows XP but to a less noticeable extent. For instance, and support for connections are removed in Service Pack 2.

The logo and the address bar on the taskbar are removed in Service Pack 3. Editions [ ]. Diagram representing the main editions of Windows XP.

It is based on the category of the edition (grey) and codebase (black arrow). Windows XP was released in two major editions on launch: Home Edition and Professional Edition. Both editions were made available at retail as pre-loaded software on new computers, and in boxed copies. Boxed copies were sold as 'Upgrade' or 'Full' licenses; the 'Upgrade' versions were slightly cheaper, but require an existing version of Windows to install. The 'Full' version can be installed on systems without an operating system or existing version of Windows. Both versions of XP were aimed towards different markets: Home Edition is explicitly intended for consumer use and disables or removes certain advanced and enterprise-oriented features present on Professional, such as the ability to join a,, and.

Windows 98 or ME can be upgraded to either version, but and Windows 2000 can only be upgraded to Professional. Windows' for pre-loaded licenses allows the software to be 'returned' to the OEM for a refund if the user does not wish to use it. Despite the refusal of some manufacturers to honor the entitlement, it has been enforced by courts in some countries. Two specialized variants of XP were introduced in 2002 for certain types of hardware, exclusively through channels as pre-loaded software. Was initially designed for high-end with (marketed under the term 'Media Center PC'), offering expanded multimedia functionality, an, and (DVR) support through the application. Microsoft also unveiled, which contains additional features, and is optimized for mobile devices meeting its specifications. Two different editions of XP were made available; the first, Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, was intended for () systems; as IA-64 usage declined on workstations in favor of 's architecture (which was supported by the later Windows XP Professional x64 Edition), the Itanium version was discontinued in 2005.

Microsoft also targeted with the 2004 introduction of, a special variant of Home Edition intended for low-cost PC's. The OS is primarily aimed at first-time computer owners, containing heavy (including wallpapers and screen savers incorporating images of local landmarks), and a 'My Support' area which contains video tutorials on basic computing tasks.

It also removes certain 'complex' features, and does not allow users to run more than three applications at a time. After a pilot program in and, Starter was released in other emerging markets throughout 2005. In 2006, Microsoft also unveiled the initiative, which would also target emerging markets with PCs on a pre-paid, subscription basis. As the result of lawsuits in and, which both alleged that Microsoft had improperly leveraged its status in the PC market to favor its own bundled software, Microsoft was ordered to release special versions of XP in these markets that excluded certain applications. In March 2004, after the Microsoft €497 million (US$603 million), Microsoft was ordered to release 'N' versions of XP that excluded Windows Media Player, encouraging users to pick and download their own software. As it was sold at the same price as the version with Windows Media Player included, certain OEMs (such as, who offered it for a short period, along with, and ) chose not to offer it. Consumer interest was minuscule, with roughly 1,500 units shipped to, and no reported sales to consumers.

In December 2005, the ordered Microsoft to make available editions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 that do not contain Windows Media Player or Windows Messenger. The 'K' and 'KN' editions of Windows XP were released in August 2006, and are only available in English and Korean, and also contain links to third-party and media player software. Service packs [ ] A is cumulative update package that is a superset of all updates, and even service packs, that have been released before it.

Three service packs have been released for Windows XP. Service Pack 3 is slightly different, in that it needs at least Service Pack 1 to have been installed, in order to update a live OS.

However, Service Pack 3 can still be; SP1 is not reported as a prerequisite for doing so. Service Pack 1 [ ] Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows XP was released on September 9, 2002. It contained over 300 minor, post-RTM bug fixes, along with all security patches released since the original release of XP. SP1 also added USB 2.0 support,, support, and support for technologies used by the then-upcoming Media Center and Tablet PC editions of XP. The most significant change on SP1 was the addition of Set Program Access and Defaults, a settings page which allows programs to be set as default for certain types of activities (such as media players or web browsers) and for access to bundled, Microsoft programs (such as Internet Explorer or Windows Media Player) to be disabled. This feature was added to comply with the settlement of, which required Microsoft to offer the ability for OEMs to bundle third-party competitors to software it bundles with Windows (such as and ), and give them the same level of prominence as those normally bundled with the OS. On February 3, 2003, Microsoft released Service Pack 1a (SP1a).

It is the same as SP1, except Microsoft Java Virtual Machine is removed. Service Pack 2 [ ]. Was added in Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2 (SP2) was released on August 25, 2004, SP2 added new functionality to Windows XP, such as encryption compatibility and improved Wi-Fi support (with a wizard utility), a blocker for Internet Explorer 6, and partial support. Service Pack 2 also added new security enhancements (codenamed 'Springboard'), which included a major revision to the included firewall (renamed Windows Firewall, and now enabled by default), gained hardware support in the that can stop some forms of buffer overflow attacks. Support is removed (which supposedly limits the damage done by ) and the (which had been abused to cause pop-up advertisements to be displayed as system messages without a web browser or any additional software) became disabled by default. Additionally, security-related improvements were made to e-mail and web browsing.

Service Pack 2 also added, an interface which provides a general overview of the system's security status, including the state of the firewall and automatic updates. Third-party firewall and can also be monitored from Security Center. In August 2006, Microsoft released updated installation media for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 SP2 (SP2b), in order to incorporate a patch requiring controls in Internet Explorer to be manually activated before a user may interact with them. This was done so that the browser would not violate a owned. Microsoft has since licensed the patent, and released a patch reverting the change in April 2008.

In September 2007, another minor revision known as SP2c was released for XP Professional, extending the number of available for the operating system to 'support the continued availability of Windows XP Professional through the scheduled system builder channel end-of-life (EOL) date of January 31, 2009.' Service Pack 3 [ ] Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) was released to manufacturing on April 21, 2008, and to the public via both the Microsoft Download Center and on May 6, 2008. It began being automatically pushed out to Automatic Updates users on July 10, 2008.

A feature set overview which details new features available separately as stand-alone updates to Windows XP, as well as features from Windows Vista, has been posted by Microsoft. A total of 1,174 fixes are included in SP3.

Service Pack 3 can be installed on systems with Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, or 8. Internet Explorer 7 is not included as part of SP3. Service Pack 3 is not available for the 64 bit version of Windows XP, which is based on the Windows Server 2003 kernel. New features in Service Pack 3 [ ] • NX APIs for application developers to enable for their code, independent of system-wide compatibility enforcement settings • Turns detection on by default. • Support for signatures in certificates • client • support for IEEE authentication for • Credential • Descriptive Security options in /Local Security Policy user interface • An updated version of the Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider Module (RSAENH) that is certified (SHA-256, SHA-384 and SHA-512 algorithms.

• Even though this is Microsoft's stated minimum processor speed for Windows XP, it is possible to install and run the operating system on early processors such as a without instructions. Windows XP is not compatible with processors older than Pentium (such as 486) because it requires CMPXCHG8B instructions. • A Microsoft TechNet paper from Summer 2001 (before Windows XP's actual release), states that: 'A computer with 64 MB of RAM will have sufficient resources to run Windows XP and a few applications with moderate memory requirements.' (Emphasis added.) These were said to be office productivity applications, e-mail programs, and web browsers (of the time). With such a configuration, user interface enhancements and fast user switching are turned off by default. For comparable workloads, 64 MB of RAM was then regarded as providing an equal or better user experience on Windows XP with similar settings than it would with on the same hardware. In a later section of the paper, superior performance over Windows ME was noted with 128 MB of RAM or more, and with computers that exceed the minimum hardware requirements.

Physical memory limits [ ] The maximum amount of RAM that Windows XP can support varies depending on the product edition and the processor architecture, as shown in the following table. Physical memory limits of Windows XP Edition Maximum Starter 512 MB Home 4 GB Media Center Tablet PC Professional 128 GB (Itanium) Processor limits [ ] Windows XP Professional supports up to two physical processors (CPU sockets); Windows XP Home Edition is limited to one. Windows XP supports a greater number of logical processors. A logical processor is either: 1) One of the two handlers of threads of instructions in one of the cores of a physical processor with support for present and enabled; or 2) one of the cores of one of the physical processors without enabled support for hyper-threading. Windows XP 32-bit editions support up to 32 logical processors; 64-bit editions support up to 64 logical processors.

Support lifecycle [ ] Support status summary Expiration date Mainstream support April 14, 2009 ( 2009-04-14) Extended support April 8, 2014 ( 2014-04-08) Applicable: Home Edition, Professional Edition,, Professional for Embedded Systems, (all), Starter Edition, Tablet PC Edition and Tablet PC Edition 2005, as well as. Exceptions Mainstream support ended on January 11, 2011. Extended support ended on January 12, 2016. Mainstream support ended on April 12, 2011 Extended support ended on April 12, 2016 Mainstream support ended on January 14, 2014. Extended support ends on January 8, 2019.

Mainstream support ended on April 8, 2014. Extended support ends on April 9, 2019. Support for Windows XP without a service pack ended on September 30, 2005. Windows XP Service Packs 1 and 1a were retired on October 10, 2006, and Windows XP Service Pack 2 reached end of support on July 13, 2010, almost six years after its general availability. The company stopped general licensing of Windows XP to OEMs and terminated retail sales of the operating system on June 30, 2008, 17 months after the release of Windows Vista. However, an exception was announced on April 3, 2008, for OEMs producing what it defined as 'ultra low-cost personal computers', particularly, until one year after the availability of (October 22, 2010). Analysts felt that the move was primarily intended to compete against -based netbooks, although Microsoft's Kevin Hutz stated that the decision was due to apparent market demand for low-end computers with Windows.

Variants of Windows XP for have different support policies: Windows XP Embedded SP3 and Windows Embedded for Point of Service SP3 were supported until January and April 2016, respectively. And continue to receive Extended support through January and April 2019, respectively. End of support [ ] On April 14, 2009, Windows XP exited mainstream support and entered the Extended support phase; Microsoft continued to provide security updates every month for Windows XP; however, free technical support, warranty claims, and design changes were no longer being offered.

Extended support ended on April 8, 2014, over 12 years since the release of XP; normally Microsoft products have a support life cycle of only 10 years. Beyond the final security updates released on April 8, no more security patches or support information are provided for XP free-of-charge; 'critical patches' will still be created, and made available only to customers subscribing to a paid 'Custom Support' plan.

As it is a Windows component, all versions of Internet Explorer for Windows XP also became unsupported. In January 2014, it was estimated that more than 95% of the 3 million in the world were still running Windows XP (which largely replaced 's as the predominant operating system on ATMs); ATMs have an average lifecycle of between seven and ten years, but some have had lifecycles as long as 15. Plans were being made by several ATM vendors and their customers to migrate to Windows 7-based systems over the course of 2014, while vendors have also considered the possibility of using Linux-based platforms in the future to give them more flexibility for support lifecycles, and the has since endorsed as a further replacement. However, ATMs typically run the embedded variant of Windows XP, which was supported through January 2016. As of May 2017, around 60% of the 220,000 ATMs in India still run Windows XP. As of January 2014, at least 49% of all computers in still ran XP. These holdouts have been influenced by several factors; prices of genuine copies of Windows in the country are high, while Ni Guangnan of the warned that Windows 8 could allegedly expose users to, and the would ban the purchase of Windows 8 products for government use in May 2014 in protest of Microsoft's inability to provide 'guaranteed' support.

The government also had concerns that the impending end of support could affect their initiatives with Microsoft, as users would simply pirate newer versions rather than purchasing them legally. As such, government officials formally requested that Microsoft extend the support period for XP for these reasons. While Microsoft did not comply with their requests, a number of major Chinese software developers, such as Lenovo, and, will provide free support and resources for Chinese users migrating from XP. Several governments, in particular the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, elected to negotiate 'Custom Support' plans with Microsoft for their continued, internal use of Windows XP; the British government's deal lasts for a year, and also covers support for (which reached end-of-life the same day) and cost 5.5 million. On March 8, 2014, Microsoft deployed an update for XP that, on the 8th of each month, displays a pop-up notification to remind users about the end of support; however, these notifications may be disabled by the user.

Microsoft also partnered with Laplink to provide a special 'express' version of its software to help users migrate files and settings from XP to a computer with a newer version of Windows. An running on Windows XP. The medical industry continues to utilise Windows XP, partly due to medical applications being incompatible with later versions of Windows. Reception [ ] On release, Windows XP received mostly positive reviews. Described the operating system as being 'worth the hype', considering the new interface to be 'spiffier' and more intuitive than previous versions, but feeling that it may 'annoy' experienced users with its 'hand-holding'. XP's expanded multimedia support and CD burning functionality was also noted, along with its streamlined networking tools. The performance improvements of XP in comparison to 2000 and ME were also praised, along with its increased number of built-in device drivers in comparison to 2000.

The software compatibility tools were also praised, although it was noted that some programs, particularly older MS-DOS software, may not work correctly on XP due to its differing architecture. They panned Windows XP's new licensing model and product activation system, considering it to be a 'slightly annoying roadblock', but acknowledged Microsoft's intent for the changes.

Provided similar praise, although noting that a number of its online features were designed to promote Microsoft-owned services, and that aside from quicker boot times, XP's overall performance showed little difference over Windows 2000. Market share [ ]. See also: According to data generated by, Windows XP was the most widely used operating system until August 2012, when Windows 7 overtook it. In January 2014, Net Applications reported a market share of 29.23% of 'desktop operating systems' for XP (when XP was introduced there was not a separate mobile category to track), while reported a share of 11.0%. According to web analytics data generated by StatOwl, Windows XP had a 27.82% market share as of November 2012, having dropped to second place in October 2011. According to web analytics data generated by W3Schools, from September 2003 to July 2011, Windows XP was the most widely used operating system for accessing the w3schools website, which they claim is consistent with statistics from other websites.

As of August 2015, Windows XP market share was at 3.6% after having peaked at 76.1% in January 2007.