Windows XP is a stable operating system, and, unlike its predecessors, it allows multiple users to log on simultaneously. Each user can select a picture to identify his or her account; the computer then displays this bitmap when the account is logged in.
XP also introduced the Error Reporting feature, which sends error data to Microsoft’s engineers. It also streamlined the interface for creating new programs with the object-oriented C# programming language.
Built on the foundation of the highly successful Windows NT platform, windows xp brought in a new focus on prioritising users’ needs. It was the first version to introduce Microsoft’s error reporting and fixing system, which collects information about crashes and bugs, then sends it back to Microsoft for analysis.
Windows XP also introduced a new GDI Graphics Device Interface, which makes it easier to integrate drawing in applications written in C++ and features gradient brushes, permanent path objects and a matrix object for simple transforms. It also includes a simpler method of creating custom controls which are rendered to match the chosen theme.
It includes a “simple folder view” which hides the dotted lines that link folders and subfolders making browsing much faster. Other important features include support for multiple users using the same computer by providing each with a unique computer account which tracks individual settings and documents; a “switch user” button on the login screen and a toolbar that displays a list of available accounts.
When you select install windows xp it will ask you what type of installation you want to do. Choose upgrade (recommended) and click Next.
Then it will start to format the partition/HDD where you want to install XP. This can take a little bit as it formats and loads the needed files. This is when I recommend having a cup of coffee or something to eat.
Once the format is done it will then scan your HDD for drivers. Make sure you have the driver CDs for your motherboard and any other hardware devices such as your modem and printer before installing XP. This will prevent some of the most common problems after a Windows XP installation.
Then it will ask you to register your copy of XP with Microsoft. You can also choose not to register and skip this step. Then it will ask you to enter the name of people who will be using the computer. This will create separate user accounts and give them administrative rights.
Despite the fact that Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for Windows XP, this system remains vulnerable to a range of malware attacks. It is best to disconnect XP systems from the Internet and limit their internal access through virtual LANs or firewalls. In addition, it’s a good idea to install privilege management software and use standard nonadministrator accounts on XP systems.
Another good measure is to use “drop my rights” software, which limits what most malware programs can do without affecting day-to-day operation. Finally, make sure you backup important data on XP systems.
Microsoft’s SMB channel executive Cindy Bates advises partners to tell clients that merely isolating an XP system from the Internet won’t necessarily cut off attack vectors. An isolated XP system can be targeted in a multistage hack and used as a stepping stone to other systems on the network. To mitigate this risk, a partner can offer clients a solution such as Windows XP in a virtual environment on a Windows 7 PC.
Many legacy applications fail to properly follow the rules for backward compatibility with earlier versions of Windows. The fast user switching feature of XP is sure to uncover more of these noncompliant apps.
To help developers write more compatible software, XP supports a larger system virtual address space for the kernel (up to 1.3 GB), and it provides an improved version of the GetVersionInfo function that returns information about the edition of Windows XP in use (see Figure 1). The OSVERSIONINFOEXW structure includes fields for identifying whether a build is running on Home, Professional or one of the Server editions.
It also enables the use of an extended directory tree for storing My Documents, desktop and other folders. New APIs allow the preservation of original short file names and the retrieval of mounted drive letters and paths from NTFS volumes. There are also new functions that can enable an application to create very large files quickly by setting the valid data length (VDL) on files.