Windows XP edition is an operating system manufactured by Microsoft to be used on personal computers and laptops. Microsoft is the leader in the market of computer products and services and Windows XP edition is its second most popular operating system. Windows XP is short for eXPerience and is the most used operating system among all Windows operating systems combined. Windows XP edition alone claims 60 percent of the shares of the entire operating systems market.
Windows XP edition was launched in 2001 and was preceded by Windows 2000 and Windows Me. It was Microsoft's first consumer based operating system which is much more efficacious and improved in stability. Five years after its release, 400 million copies of it were in circulation. However, after the launch of Windows Vista, the sales of the Windows XP edition declined, and retail sales ceased completely by 2008.
The first significant identifying feature of the Windows XP edition is the green start button and blue taskbar on the bottom of the screen. However, these are more than mere buttons but the start of the remodeling of Microsoft's operating systems. This new operating system of Microsoft's is not only much improved in performance but also has a greatly enhanced usability. Windows XP edition successfully combines the winning features of its Microsoft's previous two operating systems, Windows 2000 and Windows Me. Windows XP edition includes a variety of version for a variety of users. However, two of the most popular among them includes, firstly, Windows XP Professional Edition. This is based on a similar format as that of the Windows 2000. And, secondly, Windows XP Home Edition, which replaced Windows 98 and Windows Me. The major difference in the make-up of the Windows XP edition is the much evolved graphical user interface. Improvements have been in the department of aesthetics, so the user find much better color and design quality though there lurks in the shadows an essence of the Windows 2000 version. Conversely, Microsoft also improved the usability function of the graphical user interface in order to make it easier for people with little or no knowledge of computers. The options in the start menu and the arrangement of the icons on the desktop have all been changed to enable a new computer user to easily understand. For example, the Control Panel has been modified to allow two views. One is the classic version that is the same as the older operating systems. While the second, Category View, gathers similar icons together to enable the user to find them easily.
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However, since the release of the Windows XP edition, Microsoft has launched several upgrades of the originals in the form of Service Packs or SPs. These are basically updates that can be downloaded easily and for free from the website of Microsoft. These are generally security and stability fixes. The latest upgrade, SP3 has more than 1100 fixes and is the last version of Windows XP edition supported by Microsoft at the moment. It shall be supported by Microsoft till 2014 although newer versions of operating systems, Windows Vista and Windows 7, have already been released and widely available to the consumer market.