Build list legend
|Version of Microsoft Windows|
|OS family||Windows NT|
|Architecture||x86, x64, IA-64|
|Latest build||5.1.2600.5512 (Service Pack 3)|
|Windows Server 2003|
|Windows 2000 Professional|
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 both Windows 2000 as a Professional edition and Windows Me as a Home edition and preceding Windows Vista for both consumer and media center editions. 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 0.45% of computers worldwide as of January 2023. Windows XP is the final client version of Windows which supports computers without ACPI and to have the ability to use boot disks to boot into setup for RTM, SP1 and SP2 releases only, as Service Pack 3 removed the ability to use setup floppy disks. It is also the only version to support upgrade paths to Windows Vista and the last client version of Windows to use NTLDR to boot the system and to support upgrade paths from Windows NT 4.0, 98, 98 SE, 2000, and Me.
Mainstream support ended on 14 April 2009 and extended support ended on 8 April 2014.
Although extended support ended on 8 April 2014, a total of three out-of-band updates were serviced to the operating system, fixing the following issues:
Windows XP lost its remaining support on 9 April 2019, when the final supported XP variant, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, lost support.
Windows XP received 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.
Windows XP introduced ClearType, an anti-aliasing font function allowed easier text reading on desktop computers with LCD-TFT monitors and laptops but also affected CRT monitors, though it was not enabled by default.
Windows Explorer received a major overhaul in its design and functionality with the introduction of the task pane which presents the user with a list of actions that a user can take depending on the selected item. Search Companions were also introduced to make searching more easier and there are four search characters available; Rover, Merlin, Earl and Courtney. They utilize the Microsoft Agent technolgy which is also used for the Office assistants. However, the classic search pane can still be restored by editing the registry. The filmstrip view has also been added along with a thumbnails viewing mode. Metadata of files can also be viewed from the properties page as well. Support for creating and opening compressed folders and cabinet files was also added along with the ability to burn CDs and DVD-RAM discs.
To improve boot times and program launch times, prefetching was added and it accomplishes this by caching files that are needed by an program to RAM during the program's launch, thus consolidating disk reads and reducing disk seeks.
The compatibility modes were also added and are now activated out of the box. This feature allows users to run older programs by selecting an earlier version of Windows that the program previously ran on. This basically tricks the program into thinking that it is running on an older version of Windows. The compatibilty modes can be set for a program through its properties or by launching the Program Compatibility Wizard located in the Help and Support Center.
Fast user switching was also added and allows users to login into the computer without having existing users to close out of their programs and log out.
A DRM technology called Windows Product Activation was added which requires the user to activate their copy of Windows XP as a means of enforcing the relevant provisions of the license agreement about using the product on multiple computers. Activation could be done over the internet or over the telephone. If the user does not activate Windows XP after 30 days of installation, the user will be unable to login to Windows unless it is activated. A unique ID is assigned to the computer after activation and if the user makes significant changes to the hardware, the activation is voided and the operating system must be re-activated.
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.
A new Start menu with two columns was introduced, which has the one column for pinned or recently opened apps and docs and the other one with shortcuts to certain places in the system. The user name and the new user picture are displayed at the top, while the buttons for logging off, undocking or shutting down the computer are located at the bottom. It is designed for use with large screens and the Luna theme, but it also can be used with the Windows Classic one. Additionally, the user can revert to the classic Start menu, where, apart from new shortcuts, icons and banner, almost nothing has been changed.
|Name||Codename||Based on||Release date||Supported until|
|Windows XP Home Edition||Personal||—||2001-10-25||2014-04-08|
|Windows XP Professional||—|
|Windows XP 64-Bit Edition||Professional||2005-01-05|
|Windows XP Embedded||Mantis||2002-01-30||2016-01-12|
|Windows XP Media Center Edition||Freestyle||2002-10-28||2014-04-08|
|Windows XP Tablet PC Edition||—||2002-11-07|
|Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, Version 2003||2003-03-28||2005-01-05|
|Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004||Harmony||2003-09-30||2014-08-04|
|Windows XP Starter Edition||—||Home Edition||2004-08-11|
|Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005||Lonestar||Professional||2004-08|
|Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005||Symphony||2004-10-12|
|Windows XP Professional x64 Edition||—||2005-04-25|
|Windows Embedded for Point of Service||Embedded||2005-06-06||2016-04-12|
|Windows XP Home Edition N||Reduced Media Edition||Home Edition||2005-07-01[c]||2014-04-08|
|Windows XP Professional N||Professional|
|Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs||Eiger||Embedded||2006-05-31|
|Windows XP Home Edition K||—||Home Edition||2006-08|
|Windows XP Home Edition KN|
|Windows XP Professional K||Professional|
|Windows XP Professional KN|
|Windows Embedded Standard 2009||Quebec||Embedded||2008-10-16||2019-01-08|
|Windows Embedded POSReady 2009||2008-12-09||2019-04-09|
Windows XP was initially marketed with the slogan Prepare to Fly, although it was later changed to Yes You Can as a direct result of several real-world terrorist attacks occurring on 11 September 2001. The TV advertisements used the music track Ray of Light from Madonna as background music. The initial marketing campaign was refreshed in 2004 with the release of Service Pack 2, with the slogan once again changed to Everything is Possible. This campaign ran until late 2006.
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 Windows 98 Plus!, although these are not widespread. The fake startup sound was made for the previous one, using Windows 98 Plus!'s World Traveler, Architecture shutdown sound, and PhotoDisc startup sound, and the final version 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 slowed down, while the shutdown sound came from BeOS albeit down sampled.
In actuality, 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 44.1kHz), but they were not used by default at this point.
According to Microsoft, Windows XP requires a Pentium processor running on 233 MHz, at least 64 MB of RAM, 1.5 GB of hard drive space, and a Super VGA or better display adapter.  Windows XP drops full support for processors without the CPUID instruction, like the 486. Additionally, the HAL for the SGI Visual Workstation 320 and 540 (
HALBORG.DLL) is no longer included in Windows XP. Windows XP updates the default VGA driver to take advantage of VESA BIOS extensions, allowing true color display and resolutions in the default VGA driver, although this requires a graphics card that supports SVGA.
On 23 September 2020, the source code for the RTM builds of Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003 leaked onto 4chan's /g/ board. As referenced within 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.
As Windows ships with numerous utilities, the source code to Windows XP SP1 and Windows Server 2003 additionally comes with the source code to many different components and utilities of Windows that could be installed separately:
Avalon.UI.dll) from an extremely early (~Feb 2002, although compiled in August) version of the Windows Presentation Foundation framework (the version is the .NET version, and 6.0.3699.0 would indicate a lower version than the RTM of .NET 1.0 in Feb 2002, 6.0.3705.0), and a .NET Version Information Utility from 1998).