Believe it or not, August 25th marks 12 years since Microsoft released Windows XP to worldwide sale, not knowing at that time that the then latest version of their global OS would be overall a great hit, and the backlash that would occur when XP succeeded by Windows Vista 5 years later.
Why was XP received so well?
Fans and critics alike have to all agree on one thing – XP has been the most stable release of Windows for a long time, especially after the release of the 3 service packs, which, whilst large, brought the OS to a standard hard to beat for reliability and capability. Vista, on the other hand, was met with largely negative press, which focused in part on how buggy the system was on initial release, especially with the pricing plans initially released by Microsoft which many said were too high and effectively pricing the OS out of the market.
The new features introduced with the release of XP were also well received. Windows 2000 and ME were both classed as limited, so with the new task based GUI, visual improvements and enhanced usability features, XP hit the ground running. Aspects such as the faster start up times, power management options, new networking features and improved media programs as standard all appealed to a wide range of target market users, making XP sell well from the start.
Versions of XP
XP came out in 6 different versions; these were:
• XP Professional (top package, with all features)
• XP Home Edition (for non-commercial users)
• XP Media Center Edition (for those most interested in the media functionalities the OS could offer, such as photo editing and music)
• XP Tablet PC Edition (intended for tablet PC users and has options to work with pen sensor screens and touchscreen devices)
• XP Starter Edition (low cost version similar to Home but limited with fewer features and only available in developing countries such as Thailand and Peru)
• XP Professional x64 Edition (supports x86-64 extension of the Intel IA-32 architecture)
Many people still use XP even though extended support is due to end in April 2014 for users with SP3 – SP1&2 support ended in 2009. Windows XP x64 users with SP2 will be supported until January 2016. Because Windows Vista didn’t make a great impact on the market, it has left some with a bitter taste and a desire to not upgrade, although Vista’s successor Windows 7 was met with a much more positive reception as many of Vista’s issues had been ironed out.