Prior to the release in early 2007 of Windows Vista, Windows XP was the biggest and most robust release of Microsoft's Windows line. Arguably the best seller in the line, it's is still running on most of the personal computers in the world.
Windows XP represented the combination of the best aspects of previous versions of Windows. Windows 9x and Me were known for their Plug and Play (PnP) capabilities, their multimedia capabilities, and their home user “friendliness.” Windows 2000 is known for its security features, its robustness, and its business-class performance. Windows XP takes the best from both of these operating systems. You can choose from two different flavors of Windows XP: Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional. The two versions have a large number of similarities.
Windows XP Home Edition
Windows XP Home Edition is designed for the consumer market. Although XP Home Edition and Professional are very similar, XP Home Edition contains only a subset of the functionality of XP Professional. Microsoft is expecting Home Edition to appeal to customers in a home environment, as well as to business customers who lack a formal IT staff. The key difference is that Home Edition is not meant to operate in a managed environment.
Windows XP Professional
While Windows XP Home Edition adds a great deal to the feature set of Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional takes the product to the next level. Many of the neat things that are part of Windows 2000 Professional are excluded from the Home Edition, but they are included in Win XP Professional. These features include the following:
- IntelliMirror technologies
- Group Policy functionality
- Encrypting file system support
- Multiprocessor support
Major Features of Windows XP Professional
- User Interface -- Microsoft performed many tests with consumers and used the test results to make significant changes to the Windows 2000 user interface. Most notably, they redesigned the Start menu and changed the appearance of the standard Windows interface to reflect better usability.
- Better Performance -- Windows XP Professional offers incredible gains in performance over previous versions of Windows. You’ll experience this performance first-hand from the moment you boot the system—startup times have been reduced to nearly a minute, as opposed to many minutes for older versions of Windows. This time savings translates directly into increased productivity for both you and your clients and customers. Win XP has also been designed to reduce the number of reboots. Multiple processor and large memory support (up to 4GB) will allow for increased workstation performance.
- Internet Features -- You’ll find the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook Express in Windows XP Professional. Other Internet features include WebDAV support for publishing directly to the Web, Internet Explorer 6 Administration Kit (IEAK) for managing the deployment of IE, and Windows Messenger.
- Remote Assistance -- Remote Assistance is certainly one of the neater features of Windows XP. This allows users to request help from other users or the help desk via the Remote Desktop Protocol, whereby the supporting user can interface directly with the user on her desktop or via a chat session.
- Reliability Features -- Windows XP improves upon the reliability features of Windows 2000 by providing support for side-by-side DLL support, improved Windows File Protection, improved code protection, and enhanced device driver signing.
- Multimedia Features -- Proliferations of new multimedia devices are in the marketplace, including digital cameras, DVD players, MP3 players, and so on. Windows XP keeps the pace by providing a rich multimedia experience that allows you to fully take advantage of these new devices. Win XP supports CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD-RAM drives directly in Windows Explorer.
Hardware Requirements for Windows XP
- Processor: 233 MHz minimum/300 MHz recommended
- Memory: 64MB minimum/128MB recommended
- Hard Disk: 1.5GB available space
- Video: Super VGA (800x600) or higher