Windows XP

Windows XP
Version of Microsoft Windows
Windows XP wordmark.svg
OS familyWindows NT
Preliminary name
Architecturex86, x64, IA-64
Latest build5.1.2600.5512.xpsp.080413-2111 (Service Pack 3)
Release date2001-10-25
Support end2014-04-08
Starter Edition
Home Edition
Media Center Edition
Tablet PC Edition
64-Bit Edition
Professional x64 Edition
Server counterpart
Windows Server 2003
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows Me
Replaced by
Windows Vista

Windows XP (codenamed Whistler) is an operating system developed by Microsoft, released to manufacturing on 24 August 2001 and general availability on 25 October 2001. It is the sixth operating system in the Windows NT operating system line, succeeding Windows 2000 and preceding Windows Vista. It also succeeded Windows Me after the end of the Windows 9x kernel. It is one of Microsoft's longest-lasting operating systems, with almost 13 years of support (both mainstream and extended) and still runs on 0.67% of desktop and laptop computers worldwide as of September 2021.[1] It is also the last version of Windows that supports computers without ACPI. Even though XP ended extended support on 8 April 2014, 3 updates went out. In May 2014, patches were made to fix a critical vulnerability issue in Internet Explorer, another one in May 2017, due to the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, and lastly in May 2019, to fix a critical flaw in Remote Desktop. Windows XP lost full support on 31 August 2019.

Main changes[edit | edit source]

User interface[edit | edit source]

Windows XP recieved a major UI overhaul during development through the introduction of visual styles. 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 (2000, Me, and earlier), 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 affected 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.

Editions[edit | edit source]

  • Starter Edition: 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 won't recognize more than 512MB of RAM.
  • Home Edition: This edition is for home and personal users who don't need to use corporate network, security, and management features (such as joining domain networks, file encryption, Remote Desktop Connection, group policies, etc.) This version can address up to 4 GB of RAM, and it only supports a single physical processor (though multiple cores and threads are supported).
  • Professional: This is the mainstream high-end version, sold along with the Home Edition. It supports up to two physical processors.
    • 64-Bit Edition: This was a special edition for Itanium-based computers. There were two releases, the first of which was based on Windows XP and the second of which was based on Windows Server 2003.
    • Professional x64 Edition: This was the version for x86-64 processors based on Windows Server 2003.
  • Media Center Edition: This version is especially for Media Center-based PCs, and is not sold normally. System requirements are significantly higher than in other editions. This version includes Media Center and new themes and Microsoft Plus! features such as Royale.
  • Embedded: This version is intended for the embedded sector.
  • Tablet PC Edition: This version was included in tablet computers from 2002-2006. It is the tablet-optimized version of Windows XP.
  • 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 South Korean markets and included two shortcuts to Korean websites offering media player and messenger software by default, after a South Korean Fair Trade Commission ruling. The KN edition is the Korean counterpart to the N edition.

Hardware compatibility[edit | edit source]

Intel's drivers for the Ivy Bridge and earlier architectures fully support Windows XP. Drivers for the Haswell architecture still includes partial support for certain Windows XP releases such as Windows Embedded 2009.

Myths and legends[edit | edit source]

No builds of Whistler ever used or even included the widespread startup and shutdown sounds. These originate from a Whistler theme from ThemeWorld, which includes an entire sound scheme of sounds from various sources such as Microsoft Plus! 98, although these are not widespread. The fake startup sound was made using Windows 98's shutdown sound reversed, Windows 2000 build 1983.1 to build 2000.3's startup sound reversed, and the Next Level sound from a game titled Spring Weekend included in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack, while the shutdown sound came from BeOS albeit downsampled.

In reality, all builds up until 2485 use the same sounds as Windows 2000 and Me. Build 2481 introduced the sounds used in the final release (albeit in stereo and 44khz), but they were not used by default at this point.

Source code leak[edit | edit source]

On 23 September 2020, the source code for the RTM builds of Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 leaked on 4chan's /g/ board. As mentioned on the original post, the code had been circulating in private circles for several years at most. Due to the incompleteness of both source code repositories, primarily within the activation functionalities, it is fair to assume that the disclosure had originated from a Microsoft Partner who had access to the source code rather than Microsoft themselves. The ability to glance into the groundwork of this operating system has led to some discoveries, an example being the checks for enabling the DirectUI-based Start Page from shell\explorer\tray.cpp being usable in build 2410.

List of known builds[edit | edit source]

Beta 1[edit | edit source]

Beta 2[edit | edit source]

Release Candidate 1[edit | edit source]

Release Candidate 2[edit | edit source]

Pre-RTM[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 1[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 2[edit | edit source]

Service Pack 3[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]