Build list legend
|Version of Microsoft Windows|
|OS family||Windows NT|
|Preliminary name||Windows 2002|
|Architecture||x86, x64, IA-64|
Home Edition (N)
Professional (N, x64)
Media Center Edition
Tablet PC Edition
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 for high-end users and Windows Me for home users 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 0.39% of computers worldwide as of May 2022. Windows XP is the last client version of Windows to support computers without ACPI and to have the ability to use boot disks to boot into setup.
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 31 August 2019.
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.
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.
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.
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 for the previous one, using Microsoft Plus! 98'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, 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.
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.