On October 25, 2001, Microsoft Corporation released its latest update of its Windows operating system. They called it Windows XP as a way to distance themselves from the previous versions of Windows that were named after the years they were released. The letters XP stand for experience and this operating system was designed for both home and business use.
Windows XP is known for its improved stability and efficiency over previous versions of Windows. It presents a significantly redesigned graphical user interface (GUI) and was a change that Microsoft promoted as more user-friendly than previous versions of Windows.
New software management capabilities were introduced to avoid the “DLL Hell” that plagues older consumer versions of Windows. It is also the first version of Windows to use product activation to combat software piracy – a restriction that did not sit well with some users and privacy advocated. Basically, installation of Windows XP required user to input a product key and then activate that product key to insure that the specific version of XP did, indeed, belong to the computer user instead of having it being shared between several computers.
Windows XP was also criticized by some users for security vulnerabilities, tight integrations of applications like Internet Explorer and Media Player as well as for aspects of its user interface. People always say “change is good”, but when Windows XP was released, the change was just a little more than what some people could comfortably handle.
Several new features were introduced to the operating system with Windows XP. These features included:
* Faster start-up and hibernation sequences
* The ability to discard a newer device driver in favor of the previous one should a driver upgrade not produce desirable results
* A new more user-friendly interface including the framework for developing themes for the desktop environment.
* Fast user switching which allows a user to save the current state and open applications of their desktop allowing another user to log on without losing that information
* Support for most DSL modems and wireless network connections as well as networking over Fire Wire
* The Remote Desktop functionality which allows users to connect to a computer running Windows XP from across a network or the Internet and access their applications, files, printers, and devices.
Microsoft Windows XP is one of the most common operating systems found on computers even today. While Microsoft has come out with their newest version of Windows – Windows Vista, hardcore PC users still prefer Windows XP as their operating system.