Windows XP (codenamed Whistler) is an operating system developed by Microsoft, released 2001-10-25. It is the sixth operating system in the Windows NT operating system line, succeeding Windows 2000 and preceding Windows Vista. It is one of Microsoft's longest lasting operating systems, with almost 13 years of support (both mainstream and extended) and still run on 29.53% (see here) percent of desktop and laptop computers as of February.
Windows XP got a major UI overhaul during development, with the introduction of Themes. Users could change the way windows and buttons looked with the new visual style, Luna. It had three color schemes, which were based on blue, green and silver. Users could still select the Windows Classic theme from previous versions of Windows (98, 2000, ME, ...), and customize the preset Windows Classic color schemes.
The introduction of ClearType, an anti-aliasing font function allowed easier text reading on desktop computers with LCD-TFT monitors and laptops, but also had an effect on CRT monitors.
The taskbar is locked by default for new user accounts, to prevent accidental resizing or moving of the taskbar and/or the toolbars. Multiple instances of an application are grouped automatically and inactive tray area icons are hidden automatically, to prevent cluttering of the taskbar.
- Starter: This version was intended for emerging markets, and was introduced in 2004, meant for low-cost PCs. It cannot launch more than 3 programs at a time and will not start up on a computer with more than 512MB RAM.
- Home Edition: This edition is for low to mid end PCs and can address up to 4 GB RAM. This version was also included in ULPCs, and was sold along with Professional.
- Professional: This is the mainstream high end version, sold along with the Home Edition.
- Media Center Edition: This version is specially for Media Center based PCs, and is not sold normally. System requirements are significantly higher than other editions. This version includes Media Center and new themes.
- Embedded: This version is intended for the embedded sector.
- Tablet PC Edition: This version was included in tablet computers from 2002-2006. This is the tablet-optimized version of Windows XP.
- Windows XP 64-bit Edition: This version was intended for 64-bit PCs and thus could address far more RAM amounts. One such edition was for Itanium as well. A later edition, also based on Windows Server 2003 code base, was called Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. The ones called "64-bit edition" are for Itanium(IA64), while the ones called "x64 edition" are x64(AMD64).
- N, K and KN Editions: The N version was made for the European markets and did not include Windows Media Player; the K version was made for the Korean markets and included two shortcuts to Korean websites by default because the government insisted.
- There has been a debate whether this build is actually a post-RTM build of Windows 2000 Professional or an actual Windows XP alpha.
Technical Beta, pre-Beta 1
Beta 1, post-Beta 1
- This build gave the UI a major overhaul, dropping the Professional theme and introducing the Luna style.
Beta 2, post-Beta 2
- This build marks Beta 2, and was available publicly to Windows XP Preview Program subscribers.
- This is the build distributed to Windows XP Preview Program and MSDN subscribers as RC1.
RC2, post-RC2, RTM
- This is the build distributed to Windows XP Preview Program and MSDN subscribers as RC2.
- This build was actually intented to be build 2545, but forked in a later decision. It has been sent for manufacturing on 2001-08-24.
- This particular, post-RTM build is no different from the original RTM build, except for the addition of Toshiba's USB 2.0 driver support.