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Windows XP

Important Facts About Microsoft Windows XP

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Windows XP Professional Boxshot

Windows XP Professional

© Microsoft

Microsoft Windows XP was an extremely successful version of Windows. The Windows XP operating system, with its greatly improved interface and capabilities, helped fuel phenomenal growth in the PC industry during the early 2000's.

Windows XP Release Date

Windows XP was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2001 and to the public on October 25, 2001.

Windows XP is preceded by both Windows 2000 and Windows Me. Windows XP was succeeded by Windows Vista.

The most recent version of Windows is Windows 8 which was released on October 26, 2012.

April 8, 2014 was the last day Microsoft issued security and non-security updates to Windows XP. With the operating system no longer being supported, Microsoft suggests that users upgrade to a newer version of Windows.

Windows XP Editions

Six major editions of Windows XP exist but only the first two below were ever made widely available for sale directly to the consumer:

  • Windows XP Professional [Check Prices]
  • Windows XP Home [Check Prices]
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE)
  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Windows XP Starter Edition
  • Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC

Windows XP Starter Edition is a lower cost, and somewhat feature-limited, version of Windows XP designed for sale in developing markets. Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC (Ultra Low Cost Personal Computer) is a rebranded Windows XP Home Edition designed for small, lower-spec computers like netbooks and is only available for preinstallation by hardware makers.

In 2004 and 2005, as a result of investigations into market abuses, Microsoft was separately ordered by the EU and the Korean Fair Trade Commission to make available editions of Windows XP in those areas that did not include certain bundled features like Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger. In the EU, this resulted in Windows XP Edition N. In South Korea, this resulted in both Windows XP K and Windows XP KN.

Several additional editions of Windows XP exist that are designed for installation on embedded devices, like ATMs, POS terminals, video game systems, and more. One of the more popular editions is Windows XP Embedded, often referred to as Windows XPe.

Windows XP Professional is the only consumer version of Windows XP available in a 64-bit version and is often referred to as Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. All other versions of Windows XP are available in 32-bit format only. There is a second 64-bit version of Windows XP called Windows XP 64-Bit Edition that's designed for use on Intel's Itanium processors only.

Windows XP Minimum Requirements

Windows XP requires the following hardware, at a minimum:

While the above hardware will get Windows running, Microsoft actually recommends a 300 MHz or greater CPU, as well as 128 MB of RAM or more, for the best experience in Windows XP. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition requires a 64-bit processor and at least 256 MB of RAM.

Additionally, you should have a keyboard and a mouse, as well as a sound card and speakers. You'll also need an optical drive if you plan on installing Windows XP from a CD disc.

Windows XP Hardware Limitations

Windows XP Starter is limited to 512 MB of RAM. All other 32-bit versions of Windows XP are limited to 4 GB of RAM. 64-bit versions of Windows are limited to 128 GB.

The physical processor limit is 2 for Windows XP Professional and 1 for Windows XP Home. The logical processor limit is 32 for 32-bit versions of Windows XP and 64 for 64-bit versions.

Windows XP Service Packs

The most recent service pack for Windows XP is Service Pack 3 (SP3) which was released on May 6, 2008.

The latest service pack for the 64-bit version of Windows XP Professional is Service Pack 2 (SP2). Windows XP SP2 was released on August 25, 2004 and Windows XP SP1 was released on September 9, 2002.

See Latest Microsoft Windows Service Packs for more information about Windows XP SP3.

Not sure what service pack you have? See How To Find What Windows XP Service Pack is Installed for help.

More About Windows XP

Below are links to some of the more popular Windows XP pieces on my site:

You can find most of my other Windows XP tutorials on my Windows XP How-To's, Tutorials, and Walkthroughs page.

If you're looking for more than help with Windows XP, please know that we do have a Windows site right here on About.com that has all sorts of resources to help with your day-to-day Windows XP experience.

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