Windows XP

Windows XP, based on the NT platform, prioritised users’ needs and was more user-friendly than previous versions of Microsoft software. It remains a reliable operating system, even though Microsoft stopped issuing security updates in April 2014.

Consider using a limited account instead of an administrator account on your XP computer. Malware that gets control of an administrator account can do serious damage.

User interface

XP introduced a number of improvements to the Windows user interface, including a revised Start menu and Task Bar. It also allows the user to change the look and feel of the operating system with a new facility called themes. It also includes the fast user switching feature, which allows multiple users to be logged onto different sessions on the same computer and switch back and forth between them without losing their applications or data.

The desktop is the main gateway to system components, applications and the Internet. It contains icons (or graphical pictures) that represent the various parts of the operating system and applications. It also contains the Start button and the taskbar, which allow you to launch programs and move between open windows. It also provides access to common folders, such as My Documents and Desktop. It also displays the system clock. If more than one person uses the same computer, XP provides each user with his own unique Computer Account that tracks documents and application settings.

System requirements

A modern computer system can run XP without much difficulty. The minimum requirements aren’t very high, although Microsoft recommends a more stringent set of specifications that should result in optimum performance. You will need a CD or DVD drive to install the operating system, a keyboard and mouse, and a video card that supports a screen resolution of 800 by 600 pixels. You also need at least 1.5 gigabytes of hard disk space to store the operating system files and programs.

The operating system is available in a 64-bit version that is optimized for use on Intel Itanium processors, called Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. You must have a valid product key to install this version. This key can be obtained from the Microsoft website or from your original hardware packaging. The 64-bit OS allows you to install massive amounts of RAM, which can significantly improve performance for applications that require lots of computing power.


Once you’ve booted from the CD, Windows XP will ask you to choose which partition it should install on (as seen in picture 2). This is where it becomes important to have enough space available. Windows XP will format the partition, so make sure that you have enough room to store all of your programs, movies and music.

During the installation, Setup will start copying files from the CD to your computer and will then ask you to reboot (as seen in picture 1). You should press ENTER to reboot when prompted.

At this point, you will need to enter the Product Key that is printed on the windows XP CD. This is a 25 character code that is used to validate the legal version of Windows XP. This is a security measure that helps Microsoft to identify unauthorized installations and prevent the distribution of service packs that would fix these unauthorized copies. This is why unauthorized installations aren’t eligible for free upgrade to future versions of Windows XP.


Keeping up with Windows XP requires a certain amount of maintenance. While XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, a number of tools still work on it, including the well-known freeware program VirtualBox. However, most new programs are no longer compatible with XP, so upgrading to a new computer is the only way to take advantage of the latest technology.

To keep XP secure on the Internet, use a limited account instead of an administrator account. Admin accounts let users do whatever they want, and malware can take control of them and run arbitrary code. Additionally, disable USB ports and CD drives to prevent hackers from using them to introduce unauthorized software. Disabling them also cuts down on other possible attack vectors, such as spyware and phishing attacks. Also, update your antivirus and firewall software often to minimize weaknesses.