Windows XP Trisha Cummings
Facts • Windows XP is a line of operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on general-purpose computer systems, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, and media centers. • The letters "XP" stand for eXPerience. • Codenamed "Whistler", after Whistler, British Columbia, as many Microsoft employees skied at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort during its development.
Windows XP is the successor to both Windows 2000 and Windows Me, and is the first consumer-oriented operating system produced by Microsoft to be built on the Windows NT kernel and architecture. • Windows XP was first released on October 25, 2001, and over 400 million copies are in use, according to a January 2006 estimate by an IDC analyst. • It is succeeded by Windows Vista, which was released to volume license customers on November 8, 2006, and worldwide to the general public on January 30, 2007
The systems are Windows XP Home Edition, which is targeted at home users. • Windows XP Professional, which has additional features such as support for Windows Server domains and dual processors, and is targeted at power users and business clients. • Windows XP Media Center Edition has additional multimedia features enhancing the ability to record and watch TV shows, view DVD movies, and listen to music.
Windows XP is known for its improved stability and efficiency over previous versions of Microsoft Windows. • It presents a significantly redesigned graphical user interface, a change Microsoft promoted as more user-friendly than previous versions of Windows. • New software management capabilities were introduced to avoid the "DLL hell" that plagued older consumer versions of Windows. • It is also the first version of Windows to use product activation to combat software piracy, a restriction that did not sit well with some users and privacy advocates.
Windows XP has also been criticized by some users for security vulnerabilities, tight integration of applications such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player, and for aspects of its user interface. • Windows XP had been in development since early 1999, when Microsoft started working on Windows Neptune, an operating system intended to be the "Home Edition" equivalent to Windows 2000 Professional. • It was eventually canceled and became Whistler, which later became Windows XP. Many ideas from Neptune and Odyssey (another canceled Windows version) were used in Windows XP.
User Interface • Windows XP features a new task-based graphical user interface.
The Start menu and search capability were redesigned and many visual effects were added, including: • A translucent blue selection rectangle in Explorer • A watermark-like graphic on folder icons, indicating the type of information stored in the folder. • Drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop • Task-based sidebars in Explorer windows ("common tasks")
The ability to group the taskbar buttons of the windows of one application into one button • The ability to lock the taskbar and other toolbars to prevent accidental changes • The highlighting of recently added programs on the Start menu • Shadows under menus (Windows 2000 had shadows under mouse pointers, but not menus)
Windows XP analyzes the performance impact of visual effects and uses this to determine whether to enable them, so as to prevent the new functionality from consuming excessive additional processing overhead. • Users can further customize these settings. • Some effects, such as alpha blending (transparency and fading), are handled entirely by many newer video cards. • However, if the video card is not capable of hardware alpha blending, performance can be substantially hurt and Microsoft recommends the feature should be turned off manually.
The default wallpaper, Bliss, is a photograph of a landscape in the Napa Valley outside Napa, California, with rolling green hills and a blue sky with stratocumulus and cirrus clouds. • Over 100 of the new icons were created by The Iconfactory. • Windows XP also has a command line interface (CLI), cmd.exe, for executing single commands or for running scripts called Batch files.
Service Packs • Microsoft occasionally releases service packs for its Windows operating systems to fix problems and add features. • Windows XP without Service Pack -Support for Windows XP without a service pack ended on September 30, 2004. • Service Pack 1 - Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows XP was released on September 9, 2002. Its most notable new features were USB 2.0 support and a Set Program Access and Defaults utility. Support for Windows XP Service Pack 1 and 1a ended on October 10, 2006. • Service Pack 2 - (codenamed "Springboard") was released on August 6, 2004 after several delays, with a special emphasis on security.
Support lifecycle • Support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 will end four years after its general availability. • Microsoft claimed Windows XP will be generally available for a period of 12 months after the January 30, 2007 launch of Windows Vista, except for system builders, for whom licenses will be available for 24 months, however, most major retailers ceased selling new PCs pre-installed with Windows XP only several months after Vista's launch. • On April 14, 2009 Windows XP will begin its "Extended Support" period that will last for 5 years until 2014. • Windows XP without Service Pack 2 is no longer supported and Microsoft has already withdrawn the support for Windows XP RTM on September 30, 2004 and Windows XP Service Pack 1 and 1a on October 10, 2006.
Definitions • Operating System - The most important program that runs on a computer. • Every general-purpose computer must have an operating systemto run other programs. • Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.
Operating systems provide a software platform on top of which other programs, called applicationprograms, can run. The application programs must be written to run on top of a particular operating system. Your choice of operating system, therefore, determines to a great extent the applications you can run. For PCs, the most popular operating systems are DOS, OS/2, and Windows, but others are available, such as Linux.
2. DLL’s - Dynamic-link library is Microsoft's implementation of the shared library concept in the Microsoft Windows and OS/2 operating systems. • These libraries usually have the file extension DLL, OCX (for libraries containing ActiveX controls), or DRV (for legacy system drivers). • The original purpose for DLLs was saving both disk space and memory required for applications by storing it locally on the hard drive. • In a conventional non-shared library, sections of code are simply added to the calling program; if two programs use the same routine, the code has to be included in both. • Instead, code which multiple applications share can be separated into a DLL which only exists as a single, separate file, loaded only once into memory during usage. • Extensive use of DLLs allowed early versions of Windows to work under tight memory conditions.
DLLs provide the standard benefits of shared libraries, such as modularity. • Modularity allows changes to be made to code and data in a single self-contained DLL shared by several applications without any change to the applications themselves. • This basic form of modularity allows for relatively compact patches and service packs for large applications, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visual Studio, and even Microsoft Windows itself. • Another benefit of the modularity is the use of generic interfaces for plug-ins. • A single interface may be developed which allows old as well as new modules to be integrated seamlessly at run-time into pre-existing applications, without any modification to the application itself. • This concept of dynamic extensibility is taken to the extreme with ActiveX. • While DLLs provide many benefits, they have a number of drawbacks, collectively called "DLL hell". • Currently, Microsoft .NET is targeted as a solution to the problems of DLL hell.
3. Service packs - A service pack (in short SP) is a collection of updates, fixes and/or enhancements to a software program delivered in the form of a single installable package. • Many companies, such as Microsoft or Autodesk, typically release a service pack when the number of individual patches to a given program reaches a certain (arbitrary) limit. • Installing a service pack is easier and less error-prone than installing a high number of patches individually, even more so when updating multiple computers over a network. • Service packs are usually numbered, and thus shortly referred to as SP1, SP2, etc..
It is notable however that they may bring, besides bug fixes, entirely new features, as is the case for instance with SP2 of Windows XP. • A service pack can be incremental, which means it only contains the updates that were not present in the previous service packs or, more commonly, cumulative, which means it includes the contents of all its predecessors. • In the case of Microsoft's product, incremental updates are usually called service release. • For example, Office 2000 must be upgraded to service release 1 (SR1) before one can install SP2. • Normally, for a given program, its service packs are either all incremental or all cumulative. • For this reason the two adjectives are often referred to the entire set of a program's service packs, as, for instance, in the sentence Microsoft Windows service packs are cumulative
References • Wikipedia -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP • Webopedia - http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/o/operating_system.html • Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic-link_library • Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_pack • Microsoft Service Packs - http://support.microsoft.com/sp/