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deddynoer: Windows XP

Windows XP is a line of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, and media centers. The name "XP" is short for "experience".Windows XP is the successor to both Windows 2000 Professional and Windows Me, and is the first consumer-oriented operating system produced by Microsoft to be built on the Windows NT kernel and architecture. Windows XP was first released on 25 October 2001, and over 400 million copies were in use in January 2006, according to an estimate in that month by an IDC analyst.It is succeeded by Windows Vista, which was released to volume license customers on 8 November 2006, and worldwide to the general public on 30 January 2007. Direct OEM and retail sales of Windows XP ceased on 30 June 2008, although it is still possible to obtain Windows XP from System Builders (smaller OEMs who sell assembled computers) until 31 July 2009 or by purchasing Windows Vista Ultimate or Business and then downgrading to Windows XP.

The most common editions of the operating system are Windows XP Home Edition, which is targeted at home users, and Windows XP Professional, which offers additional features such as support for Windows Server domains and two physical processors, and is targeted at power users, business and enterprise clients. Windows XP Media Center Edition has additional multimedia features enhancing the ability to record and watch TV shows, view DVD movies, and listen to music. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is designed to run ink-aware applications built using the Tablet PC platform. Two separate 64-bit versions of Windows XP were also released, Windows XP 64-bit Edition for IA-64 (Itanium) processors and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition for x86-64. There is also Windows XP Embedded, a componentized version of the Windows XP Professional, and editions for specific markets such as Windows XP Starter Edition.

Windows XP is known for its improved stability and efficiency over the 9x versions of Microsoft Windows.It presents a significantly redesigned graphical user interface, a change Microsoft promoted as more user-friendly than previous versions of Windows. New software management capabilities were introduced to avoid the "DLL hell" that plagued older consumer-oriented 9x versions of Windows.It is also the first version of Windows to use product activation to combat software piracy, a restriction that did not sit well with some users and privacy advocates. Windows XP has also been criticized by some users for security vulnerabilities, tight integration of applications such as Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Media Player, and for aspects of its default user interface. Later versions with Service Pack 2, and Internet Explorer 7 addressed some of these concerns.

During development, the project was codenamed "Whistler", after Whistler, British Columbia, as many Microsoft employees skied at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort.
As of the end of November 2008, Windows XP is the most widely used operating system in the world with a 66.31% market share, having peaked at 85% in December 2006.

Service Pack 2
Service Pack 2 (SP2) (codenamed "Springboard") was released on 6 August 2004 after several delays, with a special emphasis on security.[39] Unlike the previous service packs, SP2 adds new functionality to Windows XP, including an enhanced firewall, improved Wi-Fi support, such as WPA encryption compatibility, with a wizard utility, a pop-up ad blocker for Internet Explorer 6, and Bluetooth support. The new welcome screen during the kernel boot removes the subtitles "Professional", "Home Edition" and "Embedded" since Microsoft introduced new Windows XP editions prior to the release of SP2. The green loading bar in Home Edition and the yellow one in Embedded were replaced with the blue bar, seen in Professional and other versions of Windows XP, making the boot-screen of operating systems resemble each other. Colours in other areas, such as Control Panel and the Help and Support tool, remain as before.

Service Pack 2 added new security enhancements, which include a major revision to the included firewall that was renamed to Windows Firewall and is enabled by default, Data Execution Prevention that takes advantage of the NX bit that is incorporated into newer processors to stop some forms of buffer overflow attacks, and removal of raw socket support (which supposedly limits the damage done by zombie machines). Additionally, security-related improvements were made to e-mail and web browsing. Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes the Windows Security Center, which provides a general overview of security on the system, including the state of anti-virus software, Windows Update, and the new Windows Firewall. Third-party anti-virus and firewall applications can interface with the new Security Center.

On 10 August 2007, Microsoft announced a minor update to Service Pack 2, called Service Pack 2c (SP2c).[41] The update fixes the issue of the diminishing number of available product keys for Windows XP. This update will only be available to system builders from their distributors in Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Professional N operating systems. SP2c was released in September 2007.

Service Pack 3
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) was released to manufacturing on 21 April 2008 and to the public via both the Microsoft Download Center and Windows Update on 6 May 2008.

It began being automatically pushed out to Automatic Update users on 10 July 2008.A feature set overview which details new features available separately as standalone updates to Windows XP, as well as backported features from Windows Vista has been posted by Microsoft.A total of 1,174 fixes have been included in SP3.Service Pack 3 can be installed on systems with Internet Explorer versions 6 or 7, and Windows Media Player versions 9 and above.Internet Explorer 7 is not included as part of SP3.

New features

* Turns black hole router detection on by default
* Network Access Protection client
* Windows Imaging Component
* Credentials Security Service Provider
* Descriptive Security options in Group Policy/Local Security Policy user
* An updated version of the Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module that is
FIPS 140-2 certified
* Installing without requiring a product key during setup for retail and OEM

Slipstreamed retail and OEM versions of Windows XP with SP3 can be installed and run with full functionality for 30 days without a product key, after which time the user will be prompted to enter a valid key and activate the installation. Volume license key (VLK) versions still require entering a product key before beginning installation.

Although service packs have, until now, been cumulative, installing SP3 on an existing installation of Windows XP requires that the computer must at least be running with Service Pack 1 installed.However, it is possible to slipstream SP3 into the Windows XP setup files at any service pack level—including the original RTM version—without any errors or issues. Slipstreaming SP3 into Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 is not supported.

Service Pack 3 contains updates to the operating system components of Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, and security updates for .NET Framework version 1.0, which is included in these Windows XP SKUs. However, it does not include update rollups for the Windows Media Center application in Windows XP MCE 2005.SP3 also omits security updates for Windows Media Player 10, although the player is included in Windows XP MCE 2005. The Address Bar DeskBand on the Taskbar is no longer included due to legal restrictions.It also includes Windows Installer 3.1.

For computers with local hard drive size limitations (such as the Eee PC) the 1 GB of space required on the local hard drive during download and installation of the service pack is preventing installation and forcing unlimited downloading by the automatic updates, as the service pack is continuously redownloaded after each unsuccessful attempt. A workaround for this has been found, which involves downloading SP3 from the Microsoft download site and installing from an external drive,then moving the ServicePackFiles folder to another drive and using Regedit to edit the Service Pack Source Path in the registry.

On certain machines with non-Intel CPUs, SP3 can trigger a stop error which prevents Windows from booting. This happens in cases where the manufacturer wrongly set up a non-Intel machine using an image from an Intel machine. As a result, a key in the registry incorrectly indicates an Intel processor, thus causing SP3 to erroneously attempt to load the Intel driver during startup. Microsoft has posted multiple methods for resolving this problem.

Support lifecycle
Support for Windows XP without a service pack ended on 30 September 2004 and support for Windows XP Service Pack 1 and 1a ended on 10 October 2006.
Windows XP Service Pack 2 will be retired on 13 July 2010, almost six years after its general availability.As per Microsoft's posted timetable, the company stopped general licensing of Windows XP to OEMs and terminated retail sales of the operating system on 30 June 2008, 17 months after the release of Windows Vista. However, an exception was announced on 3 April 2008, for OEMs installing to subnotebooks or UMPCs either until 30 June 2010, or one year after the availability of the next client version of Windows, Windows 7—whichever date comes later. On 14 April 2009, Windows XP will begin its "Extended Support" period that will last for 5 years until 8 April 2014.

System requirements

System requirements for Windows XP Home and Professional editions as follows:
Minimum Recommended
Processor 233 MHz1 300 MHz or higher
Memory 64 MB RAM2 128 MB RAM or higher
Video adapter and monitor Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution
Hard drive disk free space 1.5 GB or higher (additional 1.8 GB in SP2[32] and
additional 900 MB in SP3[33])
Drives CD-ROM drive or DVD drive
Input devices Keyboard. Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Sound Sound card. Speakers or headphones

Note 1: Even though this is Microsoft's stated minimum processor speed for Windows XP, it is possible to install the operating system on any computer with a compatible processor running at 100 MHz or faster.

Note 2: Using 64 MB of RAM allows the user to complete simple tasks, such as browsing the web or reading email. The user's experience would be "equivalent or superior to that of Windows Me running on the same hardware."

Windows XP features a new task-based graphical user interface. The Start menu and search capability were redesigned and many visual effects were added, including:

* A translucent blue selection rectangle in Explorer
* Drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop
* Task-based sidebars in Explorer windows ("common tasks")
* The ability to group the taskbar buttons of the windows of one application into
one button
* The ability to lock the taskbar and other toolbars to prevent accidental changes
* The highlighting of recently added programs on the Start menu
* Shadows under menus (Windows 2000 had shadows under mouse pointers, but not

Windows XP analyzes the performance impact of visual effects and uses this to determine whether to enable them, so as to prevent the new functionality from consuming excessive additional processing overhead. Users can further customize these settings.Some effects, such as alpha blending (transparency and fading), are handled entirely by many newer video cards. However, if the video card is not capable of hardware alpha blending, performance can be substantially hurt, and Microsoft recommends the feature should be turned off manually.Windows XP adds the ability for Windows to use "Visual Styles" to change the user interface. However, visual styles must be cryptographically signed by Microsoft to run. Luna is the name of the new visual style that ships with Windows XP, and is enabled by default for machines with more than 64 MiB of video RAM. Luna refers only to one particular visual style, not to all of the new user interface features of Windows XP as a whole. Some users "patch" the uxtheme.dll file that restricts the ability to use visual styles, created by the general public or the user, on Windows XP.

In addition to the included Windows XP themes, there is one previously unreleased theme with a dark blue taskbar and window bars similar to Windows Vista titled "Royale Noir" available for download, albeit unofficially.Microsoft officially released a modified version of this theme as the "Zune" theme, to celebrate the launch of its Zune portable media player in November 2006. The differences are only visual with a new glassy look along with a black taskbar instead of dark blue and an orange start button instead of green.Additionally, the Media Center "Royale" theme, which was included in the Media Center editions, is also available to download for use on all Windows XP editions.

The default wallpaper, Bliss, is a BMP photograph of a landscape in the Napa Valley outside Napa, California,with rolling green hills and a blue sky with stratocumulus and cirrus clouds. The Windows 2000 "classic" interface can be used instead if preferred. Several third party utilities exist that provide hundreds of different visual styles. Microsoft licensed technology from WindowBlinds creator Stardock to create its visual styles in XP.