Windows XP Operating System (OS), which was released in 2001, is the second most popular version of Windows OS product from Microsoft based on installed user base. The Operating System was produced for use on personal computers (PCs) including laptops, desktops and media centers with enhanced user experience as its name, eXPerience, suggest. Windows XP was the first consumer-orientated Operating System from Microsoft to be built on Windows NT kernel and it immediately became a popular OS worldwide selling over 400 million copies in retail by 2006.
Windows XP Operating System was the first version of Windows that was enhanced to combat illegal copying by requiring users to use product activation. Perhaps the most physical difference that was noted on Windows XP from its predecessors; Windows 2000 and Window ME, was user-friendliness and the improved side-by-side assembly technology which allowed more flexible and intuitive side-by-side installation, manageability and registrations. Windows XP also featured enhanced and updated Start menu and Taskbar with a new task-based GUI (Graphical user interface).
Although there are several editions of Windows XP OS, the two major and common editions are Windows XP Professional, which was designed for business and power users and Windows XP Home Edition for home users. Other editions such as Windows XP Media Center Edition which was intended Digital Media Centers, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP Starter Edition and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition are also available. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is designed for notebook and laptop tablets with support for pen-sensitive screen, portrait-oriented screens and handwritten notes.
There is no much difference between the major Windows XP editions only that some features may be disabled or omitted to provide lightweight usage although these features can be enabled and be functional. Windows XP also introduced the now popular patches called Windows XP Service Packs to fix problems and add features. The user only needs to install the latest Service Pack since each Service Pack is a superset of all previous Service Packs. If it is a new installation of Windows XP without Service Packs, you may need to install SP1 or SP2, before SP3 can be installed.
Windows XP Operating System supports maximum limits on physical memory (RAM) depending on Windows version between 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Media Center Edition and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition supports up to 4GB of RAM while Windows XP Starter Edition and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition support 512MB and 128 GB or RAM respectively. Windows XP supports a maximum of two physical processors for Windows XP Professional and one for Windows XP Home Edition.
Windows XP is a lightweight OS with minimum installation hardware requirements and specifications of 650MB of free disk space, 233MHz processor and 64MB RAM although 128MB is recommended. Windows XP Operating System is one of the easiest OS for average users, easily configured into simple or complex networks and well documented with technical and help support. It is worthy to note that Microsoft will no longer offer technical support or software upgrades to Windows XP after April 2014 and instead, users will need to switch to Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Be sure to check the Windows XP downloads.