Looking Back at Windows XP: Highlights, Improvements, and More

It’s simple to consider Home windows XP as a latest OS, regardless of it launching in 2001 and shedding help from Microsoft in 2014. But a long time after its launch, Home windows XP continues to be beloved and brings up nostalgic emotions for a lot of.

With Home windows XP lastly having lower than a 1% market share of all Home windows PCs worldwide as of December 2021, it’s a becoming time to have a look again. Let’s revisit Home windows XP’s greatest options, take into account its affect on the time, and see what’s modified since then.


Reliving Home windows XP

Trying again at Home windows XP in its glory days, what had been the largest modifications that putting in this model introduced?

A Contemporary Look


Windows XP Desktop

Home windows XP was the primary consumer-oriented launch within the Home windows NT household. Prior variations, equivalent to Home windows Me and Home windows 98, had been within the Home windows 9x household and all based mostly on MS-DOS beneath the hood.

Because of this, Home windows XP shipped with a shiny new look that shrugged off the outdated grey taskbar and bland icons. The default blue coloration scheme, enhanced Begin menu, rounded window corners, cool account images, and elevated use of shadows all make the OS seem like one thing made for the (early) twenty first century.

Modern critics thought that Home windows XP seemed infantile on the time, primarily on account of its coloration scheme. And whereas that is as much as choice, it’s honest to say Home windows XP has aged effectively visually. Home windows nonetheless makes use of the identical fundamental design; whereas some icons look outdated now and animations are primitive in comparison with our requirements, Home windows XP is way from an eyesore even within the fashionable age.

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An Improved Person Expertise

Home windows XP made plenty of tweaks to optimize the way it felt to make use of.

The taskbar gained the power to group a number of cases of an open app, saving area. Quick consumer switching, which lets log in as one other consumer with out the present session logging out, was appreciated for multi-user households. And Home windows XP was the primary model to make use of the trendy Welcome display, the place you select your account from an inventory as an alternative of getting to kind the identify.


Windows XP Logon Screen

Since Home windows XP was the primary main house model that wasn’t based mostly on DOS and thus couldn’t run 16-bit packages natively, Home windows XP additionally had Compatibility Mode. This helped you run packages that labored on earlier variations of Home windows however had points on Home windows XP.

Home windows XP’s reworked Begin menu included two columns of icons, together with your just lately used packages on the left and hyperlinks to folders and options on the proper. This fundamental structure was used right through Home windows 7.

XP’s Included Software program

Home windows XP didn’t embrace almost as many apps out of the field as fashionable variations do. The much-maligned Web Explorer 6 was the default browser in XP—Firefox didn’t launch till September 2002, whereas Chrome wouldn’t arrive till 2008.

Whereas Home windows Film Maker first appeared in Home windows Me, it was additionally a part of XP, the place it could take pleasure in nice recognition. As YouTube went on-line a couple of years after XP’s launch, Film Maker performed an enormous half in permitting anybody to edit easy movies and share them.


In distinction to the few ad-laden video games in Home windows 10 and 11, Home windows XP had all of the classics, together with FreeCell, Hearts, Minesweeper, and everybody’s favourite: Pinball. There have been additionally on-line variations of checkers, Spades, and different titles. For those who’re , it is best to learn to deliver again basic Home windows video games in Home windows 10 and 11.


Windows XP Hearts and Movie Maker

Distant Desktop Protocol (RDP) made its first client look in Home windows XP, although not within the House version. You may need forgotten that Home windows XP didn’t embrace an antivirus program, both. The Home windows Safety Heart will warn you that one isn’t put in, however you need to determine on a alternative your self.

Again earlier than the times of WhatsApp and Telegram, Home windows XP had Home windows Messenger. This was later changed by Home windows Dwell Messenger, which was itself outdated by Home windows Dwell Messenger. In later variations of Home windows, Microsoft launched Lync as an alternative, which turned Skype for Enterprise. Now, this complicated practice of messaging instruments is all wrapped up in Microsoft Groups.

Home windows XP’s System Necessities

Since Home windows XP is over 20 years outdated, it’s amusing to see how primitive the beneficial necessities to put in it are by in the present day’s requirements:

  • 300MHz Pentium processor
  • 128MB of RAM
  • 1.5GB of space for storing
  • CD-ROM drive
  • 800×600 show decision

Evaluating this to Home windows 11’s necessities of a 1GHz CPU with 4GB of RAM is an effective measure of how briskly expertise advances.

How Was Home windows XP Improved Upon?

Whereas it’s a enjoyable blast of nostalgia to make use of XP once more after so a few years, clicking across the outdated OS is a reminder that it was removed from excellent. Let’s wrap up with a couple of factors that we’re glad developed after Home windows XP.

Far Higher Search Capabilities

For those who take it as a right that you could click on the Begin button or hit the Win key in your keyboard to seek for something in your PC, you may be shocked to know this wasn’t the case in Home windows XP.


Whereas XP does embrace a search operate, it’s not almost as sturdy as what you’ll discover in fashionable variations. It provides a cartoon canine that asks what kind of file you wish to seek for, adopted by extra filters. It really works, however it’s not almost as quick or environment friendly as the trendy model.


Windows XP File Search

Pinning generally used packages to the Begin menu, Fast Launch a part of the taskbar, or desktop is quicker.

Account Safety Strengthened

We’ve mentioned the problems with Home windows XP’s consumer permissions in our information on find out how to reset a misplaced Home windows admin password.

Home windows XP included a default Administrator account, which is accessible with no password and may do something on the system. Additional compounding this drawback, a Restricted account may barely do something, resulting in most individuals utilizing an admin account the whole time.

Person Account Management, which lets you grant admin permissions solely when wanted, would right this drawback in later variations. Nevertheless, its overzealousness in Vista resulted in that turning into one of many most-hated Home windows variations.

A Superior Taskbar


Windows XP Taskbar

Home windows XP’s method to the taskbar feels dated in the present day. Whereas each model since Home windows 7 lets you pin icons to your taskbar and present all open home windows of that app inside them, Home windows XP requires you to pin icons to the Fast Launch space of the toolbar.

The open icons can use quite a lot of area and you’ll’t reorder them, making it laborious to maintain observe of packages when you have got plenty of them open.

An Necessary Stepping Stone to Fashionable Home windows

We’ve taken a short take a look at Home windows XP to see what’s modified within the a long time since its launch and what’s largely the identical. Even after many releases, you may see a few of Home windows XP’s DNA in Home windows 10 and 11. The Management Panel could also be fundamental and the OS could lack quite a lot of fashionable conveniences, however it’s good to know that the nostalgia for Home windows XP isn’t in useless.

If you wish to poke round for your self, it’s potential to put in Home windows XP in a digital machine.


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