What is Windows XP? | Its History, and Its Features

Windows XP, the first codename of Whistler, is an Operating System developed by Microsoft and released on October 25, 2001. The letters XP come from the abbreviation of the English word “eXPerience”.

What is the Windows XP Operating System?

What is Microsoft Windows XP Operating System?

It had a 46.33% market share in August 2012 and was second only to Windows 7 when it reached 46.6% of its market share. It was installed on 500,000,000 computers in December 2013.

In March 2019, some government agencies still used it and made up only 1.97% of the market. Microsoft has definitely closed down some form of support, logistics, and service on April 9.

It was available in versions for various computing environments, including laptops, netbooks, tablets, and multimedia centers, as well as home or business computers.

As the pioneer of Windows ME and Vista in 2000, Microsoft was the first consumer-oriented operating system built with an NT kernel and architecture with versions for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Unlike previous versions of Windows, it is based on the NT architecture derived from 2000 code, offering improvements in stability and performance.

It had a remarkably redesigned graphical user interface (GUI) with redesigned features, some of which were somewhat similar to others from other operating systems. It was encouraged for easier use than the previous editions.

New software management capabilities have been introduced to prevent “DLL Hell,” which bothers old versions. It is also the first version of Windows to use product activation to reduce software piracy.

Windows eXPerience (XP)

There are versions for various computing environments, including home or business computers, laptops, Tablet PCs, and media centers. He is the successor to 2000 and ME and a pioneer of Vista. It is the first consumer-oriented Microsoft operating system created with NT kernel and architecture and is available in 32 and 64-bit computer versions.

Unlike its previous versions, it offers improvements in stability and efficiency. It has a significantly redesigned graphical user interface (GUI); this is a Microsoft change introduced for easier use than previous ones.

New software management capabilities have been introduced to prevent “DLL Hell,” which bothers old versions.

It is also the first version of Windows that uses product activation to reduce software piracy and is a restriction that does not fit well with some users.

The vulnerabilities have also been criticized for Internet Explorer integration, the inclusion of Media Player, and the aspects of its interface.

Windows XP is built on 2000 code with a new GUI with slightly redesigned features that are somewhat similar to other GUIs from other operating systems.

Development Process

The development of Windows XP started with the Neptune format. Developed in 18 months from December 1999 to August 2001, this system was launched on October 25, 2001.

Microsoft produced two separate operating system strings. The first string was routed to home computers based on an MS-DOS Kernel and represented by Windows 95, 98, and Me. The other string was represented by NT and 2000 based on the NT Core and included special editions for the corporate and job market and servers.

Windows ME (Millennium) was an attempt by Microsoft to offer a single multi-purpose operating system, but the MS-DOS boot core could not have NT code. XP was a true fusion of a single operating system altogether. NT architecture with MS-DOS functionality. However, MS-DOS-based program support has been permanently removed from the operating system.

Windows XP Features

Windows XP brought new features:

  1. Graphics environment.
  2. Faster startup and hibernation sequences.
  3. The ability of the operating system to disconnect an external device and install new applications and drivers without the need for a restart.
  4. Using multiple accounts allows one user to save the current status and open applications on the desktop and another user to log in without losing this information.
  5. ClearType is designed to increase the readability of text lit on liquid crystal displays (LCD) and similar monitors.
  6. They added a Remote Desktop application that allows users to log on to their applications, files, printers, and devices over a network or the Internet with a XP-based computer.
  7. ADSL modem, wireless connection, and FireWire support.


XP offers a new graphical interface. The Start menu and Windows indexing capabilities have been redesigned, and many images have been added, including:

  1. Brilliant colors.
  2. Red Close button (X).
  3. Standard colored buttons on Windows and Internet Explorer toolbars.
  4. A translucent blue rectangle in file selection.
  5. A graph showing the type of information stored in folder icons.
  6. Shadows for icon labels on the desktop.
  7. To group similar applications in the taskbar.
  8. The ability to prevent changes by mistake.
  9. Highlight newly installed programs in the Start menu.
  10. Shadows under menus (in 2000, there were mouse pointers but not in menus).

As with previous Windows, and unlike subsequent XP, Explorer includes a preview of Web files in thumbnail view, whether they are in folders in the standard taskbar, and whether they are locally saved Web pages or direct Internet access (URL).

Windows XP Versions

The most common versions are the Home and Professional versions, which have additional features such as the ability to join a domain and support for two processors rather than just workgroups.

These versions are available for sale at software stores and are preinstalled on computers sold by host manufacturers.

Media Center Edition is a version of XP Professional for computers with certain features, such as remote viewing and watching and recording TV, playing videos, photos, or music, receiving HDTV, and sharing data with an Xbox 360 using Online Spotlight.

Tablet PC Edition is designed to work with the Tablet PC platform. Two 64-bit versions are released: the 64-bit version for Itanium processors and another version designed for AMD64 and EM64T processors.

Service Packs

From time to time, Microsoft distributes some new applications that provide a secure operating system, as well as Service Packs that contain all the updates to date. Since Microsoft’s development, details are given below.

Service Pack 1

SP1 for Windows XP was released on November 9, 2002.

The most visible innovation was to combine Configure Access and the default program utility to make it easier to choose which programs you want to use for the most common tasks.

Another innovation was USB 2.0 and 48-bit LBA support, which can support hard drives with over 137 GB.

There is no preview of Web files in locally saved Web pages, Internet shortcuts, folders in the standard taskbar, or thumbnail view.

Like the previous XP operating system without SP and unlike later versions (SP2 and SP3), the Multimedia bar is kept in Internet Explorer (version 6.0.2600.0000), which is integrated with Windows Media Player—support for Service Pack 1 ended on October 10, 2006.

Service Pack 2

On August 6, 2004, it released SP2, which includes all the fixes available in SP1 as well as a few new features that mainly focus on providing more security to the operating system.

It includes a new firewall interface that is activated by default to control the exposure of Windows XP to risk.

Better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support have been added. A plugin manager has been added thanks to the inclusion of a popup blocker in Internet Explorer, blocking ActiveX controls, blocking automatic downloads, and Internet Explorer 6 SP2.

The use of DEP technology (Data Execution Prevention or Data Execution Prevention) has been added by Hardware or Software.

Automatic updates are enabled by default. Windows Messenger service is turned off by default. Outlook Express blocks potentially dangerous attachments (.exe or .vbs).

The Add/Remove Programs window allows you to show or hide updates. It includes multimedia enhancements such as the addition of Media Player 9 Series, DirectX 9.0c, and Movie Maker 2.1.

It does not include the Multimedia bar (versions 6.0.2800.0000 or 6.0.2900.2180) integrated with Media Player in Internet Explorer.

Like in previous Windows (SP1), there is no preview (thumbnail) of web files in folders or details in the familiar taskbar in thumbnail view.

Here is a beneficial program for rehabilitating thumbnail previews of web pages with Service Pack in Windows XP: xp_thumbnail.exe. According to the Product Lifecycle Directive, Microsoft will withdraw Service Pack 2 support on July 13, 2010, but its support has been extended until 2014.

Service Pack 3

Service Pack 3 (SP3) build 5512 RTM was released to the manufacturers on April 21, 2008, and publicly available on May 6, 2008, through the Microsoft Download Center and Windows Update.

Microsoft publishes general features in the Service Pack 3 Overview document. SP3 includes new features independent from XP and features from Vista.

SP3 can be installed on retail and OEM versions of XP and has complete functionality for 30 days without the need to enter a product key.

After this time, the user is asked to enter a valid password and activate the setup. Volume license (VLK) versions also require a product key to be entered.

Microsoft said that SP3 does not include Internet Explorer 7 but will independently install security updates for Internet Explorer 6 or 7. Something similar happens with Media Player 9 Series or version 10 or 11.

Although previous service packs are fully cumulative, the SP3 installation requirement requires at least a system running Service Pack 1.

However, it is possible to seamlessly integrate SP3 into any version of Windows XP, including the original RTM version.

SP3 also includes updates for XP Media Edition operating system components. XP Tablet PC Edition provides security updates for the .NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1 included with these XP SKUs.

SP3 does not contain updates for the Media Center application included with Windows XP Media Edition 2005. It also does not contain security updates for Media Player 10.

According to the information released by Microsoft and data from the Internet, there are a total of 1,073 fixes in SP3. Several services are reactivated if they are disabled when they are installed as a security center.


Windows XP RTM support (no service pack) ended at the end of September 2005, and support for XP Service Pack 1 ended on October 10, 2006.

Support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 was removed on July 13, 2010, 6 years after its public availability.

The company completed its license distribution to OEMs and retailers of this operating system on June 30, 2008, 22 months after the release of Vista.

However, the version of Home Edition, which is mainly for netbooks, was distributed for computers with Vista preinstalled until 2010, and its version was reduced for a fee.

In addition, Service Pack 3 was supported until April 8, 2014. The embedded POSReady 2009 version had extended support until April 9, 2019.

End of Support

In June 2008, Microsoft officially announced that Windows XP would be withdrawn from the market. He then reported that on June 30 of the same year, he did not finish with the second most popular operating system.

Although Windows XP is no longer sold in stores, Microsoft and its partners continued to support XP for months and years. In fact, Microsoft offered technical support until April 8, 2014, as planned.

Vista’s need for more RAM, with microphones emerging with 1 gigabyte of RAM, was decisive in the subsequent delays in running XP.

XP ranked second in worldwide use one year after its end of support, referring to the fact that 4 out of every ten computers are using it.

The quota has decreased at the limit of ultimate existence but was not yet sufficient; Microsoft has ordered to upgrade to a newer version as it has become more vulnerable to hackers’ attacks waiting for Microsoft to withdraw the version, and it was estimated that millions of operating systems were attacked in April of this year; this phenomenon was called Xpocalypse (Apocalypse XP).

Since February 2014, while XP still offers a very high demand of 30%, Windows 8, the system that Microsoft invited to change, reached almost 7.8%.

On July 14, 2015, Microsoft stopped sending updates and patches for security and antivirus vulnerabilities.

Since virus definitions are no longer updated, Microsoft Essentials has stopped working here, which poses a risk to people who are still using XP. However, there are still users running XP.

The reasons for this were the low intake of Vista and 8, more resources required by Windows 10, reduced computer sales due to the great recession, more emphasis on smartphones and other mobile devices, and the difficulty of the new deployment.

Many developers of the most popular applications, such as antivirus, audio and video players, optimizers, and browsers, continue to support this. Even with all these measures, critics recommend a new version.

In 2014, XP in China still worked on 40% of computers. This had several factors: the high price of original copies is the possible surveillance fear of 8, which forces the government of that country to ban its use on their computers.

Also, the state of that country fears that ending support will increase piracy rates, as most consumers prefer to hack rather than buy new versions.

Faced with Microsoft’s indifference to this situation, large manufacturers such as Lenovo, Kingsoft, and Tencent have released support and resources to help consumers move to later versions.

In other countries, especially in the Netherlands and the UK, their state has negotiated extended support plans to continue with Windows XP with Mícrosoft.

Despite the removal of XP, Microsoft has released two backup security patches to fix significant vulnerabilities:

  1. A patch to fix the vulnerabilities was released in May 2014 and recently discovered in Internet Explorer 6 and 11 on all versions of Windows.
  2. A patch was released in May 2017 to address a vulnerability used by WannaCry Ransomware Attacks.

Legal Issues

Strong criticism and research have been made in XP due to the integration of multiple applications that traditionally have a third-party market, such as firewalls, multimedia players, instant messaging programs, and significant distrust towards Microsoft’s Passport service.

Another reason for the most substantial criticism and controversy was its very apparent instability and total operational slowness. Many of these problems could only be resolved with the latest Service Packs.


Viruses have been criticized for their susceptibility to malware, such as Trojans or worms. Default security options require an administrator account, which provides unlimited access to the entire system, including vulnerabilities.

According to experts, the vulnerabilities of Internet Explorer, which are mirrored in XP, Basic Firewall and disabled by default, did not predict the increased dangers of the Internet, as well as the lack of reinforcement in Outlook Express. As stated above, it holds the argument for vulnerability via the Internet.

Microsoft responded to many of these shortcomings by creating Service Pack 2 at the expense of the delayed development of Vista.

Windows, with a significant market share, has traditionally been a target for virus writers.

Vulnerabilities do not appear until they are exploited, making it challenging to prevent. Microsoft said that releasing updates for patch vulnerabilities was very frequent by many who discovered them.

Windows XP Product Activation

Although the need to activate Windows products is expected in servers, the software industry, and businesses, this option was also introduced for ordinary users.

Microsoft introduced this system to reduce piracy. The activation was connected to the hardware of the computer system, so replacing it like the motherboard caused the setup to be disabled and require re-activation.

WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage Program)

The Genuine system was installed with the KB892130 update and verified whether the copy of Windows was genuine; Microsoft allowed access to product and security updates.

XP Copy Restrictions

It limits the installation using previously used keys, thus preventing unauthorized installation. These keys are included in the product documentation, but several keys were leaked online and used for unauthorized installations.

Service Packs contain a list of such keys and information from new keys used. Microsoft has developed an engine that detects invalid keys for Service Pack 2.

Due to protests from security advisors, Microsoft turned off this option, so Service Pack 2 used the previous key system in Service Pack 1.

Non-Genuine Windows

If the product key is not Genuine or Genuine, Windows will display warning windows asking the user to purchase a valid license from Microsoft and add an icon next to the clock in the taskbar.

Also, if the desktop turned black and the system was not verified, it was not possible to download Microsoft software or programs such as Media Player 11, Defender, and more.

However, these measures were soon skipped or reversed by users, in addition to the system itself confusing millions of original copies with pirates.

As a result, it has become a nuisance rather than a successful anti-piracy measure. Due to the failure of this system, Microsoft decided to make this strategy optional and rename it as Windows Activation Technologies.

Features Integration

The inclusion of applications where a third-party market is already present has led to controversy among legitimate authorities, users, and developers around the world, which has led to various legitimate lawsuits and cases with multiple governments and regulatory agencies. In response, Microsoft had to issue several fixes.

With SP1, they have given them the freedom to choose which apps email to use for the most common tasks, such as email, listening to music, and browsing the Internet.

In Europe, they had to release version N, which is a bug that doesn’t have the same price as the original. In South Korea, they had to replace the existing ones with K and KN.

Additional Versions

Another criticism was Microsoft’s over-versions over time. At first, there were only two versions: Home Edition and Professional Edition.

However, it later released additional versions that were not sold individually but were installed on some computers at the factory.

Additional versions of Tablet Edition, Media Center Edition, N, K, and KN were included in versions after Windows Vista.

Resolution Limit

The option to force a solution that is not recommended helps a lot because some programs and games require a partially high resolution to run them.

Resolution limits may be exceeded in XP. It was enough to uncheck the Hide mods that cannot be displayed on this monitor box, after which the recommended resolutions were not shown as this option is restricted in Vista and later.

Windows XP Disadvantages

It is possible to install and run the operating system on classic IA-32 processors, such as the Pentium P5, without MMX instructions. However, it is not compatible with pre-Pentium processors (such as Intel/486) because it requires CMPXCHG8B instructions.

For most tasks, including web browsing, email, and other simple activities, 64 megabytes of RAM provided a user experience equivalent to or better than Me on the same type of hardware.

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