The XP is for "experience" or "experienced", supposedly. What do you make of that, fellow Everythingians? Does this mean that the beloved Billiam III truly is nothing but a XP Whore?

XP in the OS? The rumors have it that dem bones and nate got to live at the Microsoft Mansion - the Microsoft version of the Playboy Mansion - for weeks and weeks, revealing the secret engine and functionality involved in the whole E2 XP concept. Will there finally be voting functionality in all Microsoft products? Can you vote and give instant feedback to the Microsoft Engineers on features much like here on E2?

Ok, enough of that, here's the real deal:

Windows XP was formerly known as Whistler. Following Windows XP is Office XP, formerly code named Office 10. Perhaps the best news with this new Windows version, is that Microsoft finally ditches the old Windows 9X-code. Even the consumer version of XP will be based on the NT kernel, which is infinitely more stable that the one currently in Windows ME. There are be a total of five versions of Windows XP (Home Edition was eliminated with the introduction of Service Pack 2):

  • Windows XP Home Edition
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows XP Server
  • Windows XP Advanced Server 
  • Windows XP Data Center (thx thecap)

Features: 

  • Copy Protection by product activation. This means that you will get one unique code for activation.
  • 64-bit versions available for the XP Server, XP Professional, and Professional Server. Supports only the AMD64 architecture, no support for Intel Xeon 64. 
  • New user interface called Luna. This is a lot simpler and more customizable than the old one. Looks more like Mac, which is true for about every release of Windows anyway. Skins will be available. 
  • Better game compability. Better than Win 2000 that is, which sucks, really.
  • Fusion is a DLL-controller that sees to it that the right version of the DLL's are run.
  • Requires at least 128 MB memory and probably something like 700 MHz processor. 
  • Trash can moved to bottom right. Call Steve!
  • Includes Windows Media Player, Microsoft Movie Maker and a CD burner software. 
  • Possibility to emulate previous versions of Windows down to 3.1 if you want to, for some reason. I wonder how they emulate the crashes, but I'm sure the Microsoft if anyone can manage that. 

Buzzwords to look out for: SOAP, XML, .net

Some observations on what we know about Windows XP so far. (Poor Microsoft, they finally get their OS to a decent level of stability, then they do everything in their power to make it unusable. IBM have been here.)

PROS

Let's be fair. If it is going to be based on the W2K kernel, then it'll be a damn sight more stable than Microsoft's current consumer OSes. Another benefit is that it has good Plug 'n' Play support. Apparently it runs as fast as, or faster than, Windows 98 or ME on low-end machines. (Not exactly a great achievement, but surprising considering Microsoft's traditional "screw them, and buy some more shares in Intel" approach.)

CONS

Pseudo task-based UI : XP sports a new user interface that makes a half-hearted attempt at appearing task-centric (as opposed to application-centric). Most of this development effort seems to have gone into making the UI look more like Apple's shiny new Aqua UI. The other great influence is of course AOL, with the new UI being about as patronising as humanly possible. The new interface has met with almost universal derision among testers, with it being dubbed "Windows for Retards" among other things. Furthermore, although the UI is skinnable, the theme format is closed. Microsoft don't want just anybody writing skins for their OS. Entirely defeating the object of trying to make the UI more aesthetically pleasing in the first place. Idiots.

Digital Rights Management : Or to be more accurate, User Rights Denial. Microsoft shamelessly whore themselves to the music industry by incorporating unworkable and invasive "security" features that dictate what you can store on your own computer. This ethically bankrupt strategy is rumoured to go so far as vetting what you can burn onto CD, and inserting static into "unapproved" sound files.

So, an OS that's purposely designed to fuck you over. Joy.

There are some flaws in this diabolical scheme though, naturally. Firstly, it at least partially hinges on people adopting Microsoft's inferior Windows Media formats (which is never going to happen, with MP3, DivX, Quicktime, et al running rings around them). And second, their solution requires the cooperation of so many parties that there will always be weaknesses. It's a joke, really, and one of the issues that might kill (or at least damage) the increasingly flaky and complacent Microsoft.

Bundle this : Of course, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player (and God knows what else) are now required components. Hey, I thought there was some kind of court case about this shit? Silly me. Hopefully those great guys at 98Lite will find a way to hack them out again, but I guess by the time XP comes out, the resource hit of these redundant components won't seem so severe.

Update : A Pretty Fucking Big 'Con'

Apparently the media player bundled with XP will only be able to record (and play?) MP3 files at 56kps, in an effort to force people to use WMA. Just in case anyone hadn't picked up on the "screwing the consumer" theme yet. To make matters worse, as predicted, third-party audio software (and CD recording software) is "not optimised" to run under XP: translation, they have sabotaged anything that could bypass their Secure Music Path bullshit.

Obviously, this development has closed the issue of whether I will allow XP near my computer. It also means that my opinion of Microsoft is at an all-time low. Hopefully the combined effects of the worldwide xbox failure, their now IBM-surpassing complacency and arrogance and the European and Japanese antitrust suits should be enough to wipe them out. Fingers crossed.

(It might be possible to switch off all the crap mentioned above, in which case WinXP might be worth using - but not buying, obviously - for the performance tweaks. Might. But that's a big gamble, and Win2K showed how MS now try to force things to be installed by claiming they are system components. I'll pass, thanks all the same.)

(nmx informs me it won't even encode MP3's any more. Nene informs me that it requires an addon, but there is no longer a bitrate limitation. Error404 sez they're bundling Windows Messanger to kill off ICQ - nice try guys.)

And I haven't even started on WPA yet.

And did I mention it's significantly slower and more resource hungry than Windows 2000? Yeah, kind of goes without saying really...

Also, you really don't want to try to run networked games on it. It's a world of pain. There really is no reason, if you have to use a Windows OS, to pick XP over 2000 Professional.

my guilty secret: I actually quite like some of the new UI, particularly the emphasis on everything being 32-bit colour and still being pixel-perfect. It's a pain trying to actually do any work with it, but it looks nice.


Further, furthermore, I am sick to the teeth of people saying "Oh, Product Activation isn't that bad..." in their writeups below. Ooh, thanks Microsoft for being so lenient when trying to dictate what I can do with the product I've bought! (OK, I haven't bought personally, but you see what I mean.) Servile fucking sheep...
Observant Mac OS 9 users: notice anything familiar about XP’s login screen?

Now, there’s the obvious copying of the concept of having each user’s name with a personalized icon beside it. But it goes deeper.... if you have time, stroll on over to Micro$oft’s website. Find your way to some screenshots of XP, specifically, of the login screen. More specifically, of the name that’s currently selected, and the icon beside it. The duck! The very same generic yellow rubber duck that is part of Apple’s login icon collection! Regardless of whether either company owns copyright to that particular picture, the mere concept that they ripoff the interface, and then use the exact same icon. At least try to hide it...

It’s too much of a slip-up. There must be someone on the inside. A mac evangelist within Microsloth’s PR Dept, bringing down the company from the inside...

Of course, nevermind the fact that XP is very cleverly timed to overshadow the release of Mac OS X
Another lovely feature of XP: It used to be that l33t haxx0rs had to fool you into installing Sub7 or Back Orifice before they could 0wn j00. But now, with "Remote Assistance", being 0wned is now much, much easier!

From Microsoft.com:
The Remote Assistance tool in Windows XP lets you get hands-on help from a tech-savvy friend, family member, or support professional who also runs Windows XP. The expert can be in the next room, or the next time zone. As long as you have an online connection, your helper can remotely take control of your computer. You can watch and chat in real time as he or she fixes your problem. Remote Assistance is secure because you give control only to a trusted individual, and you can take back control anytime.

Translation:
AOL Chat Room: Windows XP Help

***CluelessUser69 has entered the room.

CluelessUser69: My cupholder is broken can ne1 pls help me?

H@xx0r666: d00d i can help you IM me u password i will use remote assistance!

CluelessUser69: OK here it is thx!
H@xx0r666 uploads a small .exe that disables the function where you can "take back control anytime" and possibly even the power button (I also saw on tomshardware.com that you could select what you want to do when the power button is depressed...), and proceeds to delete all of CluelessUser69's files.

And that's if the passwords are reasonably secure....

I am currently running Windows XP Professional right now, and I must say, it is not a disappointment all around. It is actually very fast on my machine, and it has many improvements over past Windows versions.

I noticed first off, having watched my nerdy friends marvel over Mac OS X, that a lot of the "new features" in Win XP, such as the Luna interface, and the icons at logon were blatantly ripped off from Mac. This seems to be Microsoft's trend.

Some people are complaining about this version requiring some outlandish CPU speed and memory requirements to run. Let me say this: I have a Celeron 600 mhz, and 384 MB of RAM, and this OS boots in about 10 seconds, clickable icons and everything. The speed problem only is inherent when a large popup menu is rendered.

The version of Windows Media Player does leave something to be desired however. It's buggy, and the skins are not asthetically pleasing. Also they changed the keyboard pause shortcut from the Spacebar to Control-P! Now they're ripping off RealMedia!

Pertaining to Plug and Play, this version of Windows detected almost ALL of my P&P devices, including my Voodoo 5 5500, and my generic 10/100 NIC without a glitch. I was able to install without problem. I believe that this OS takes up about 1.2 GB on my drive, which is not too bad for newer machines.

I haven't explored all of Windows XP's new features yet, but I must say that so far, I am impressed with the new version of Windows Mac OSXP. I say, if you can get a free copy, go for it.

UPDATE: November 22nd, 2001

I have deleted Windows 2000 from my PC, and I remain with XP. I must say that this is the stablest Windows operating system I have ever used. There are a few caveats (more useless automation, more requirements), but so far, the majority of the things that Microsoft did to increase stablility and speed are major improvements over even Win2k.

I had to reinstall WinXP the other day, because my OpenGL settings were not correct, and I wanted it on a different hard drive anyway. I reinstalled without a hitch, and used the settings migration wizard on the XP CD, and Voila! - all of my favorites are still here, my desktop wallpaper got changed, Winamp was in the system tray, MSN Messenger is no longer starting up with Windows, and all of my visual options were set the way I like them. It's really a neat function.

Another feature that is really handy is the Compatibility option. If that Win9x only game wouldn't work for you in Win2K, just right click it's executable or desktop shortcut, and click the Compatibility tab. Windows lets you choose a family of older OS's (above Win95 that is) to emulate just for that game. I was able to play a lot of games that Win2K wouldn't touch, like my Sega Genesis emulator.

I'd say that if you have the chance to get XP, and you liked 2000, but it was not compatible enough, go for the new Microsoft OS. It looks like Mr. Gates is succeeding at making computer usage better for both seasoned Windows pros, and newbies alike.

Not to say that avid Linux users wouldn't puke at the new interface, but...

I have just upgraded from Win98SE.

Here's a list of hardware for which XP rejected the drivers:

Fun, eh?

After a bit of fruitless tweaking, I opened the case and removed the offending modem and replaced it with another one I had on hand. The replacement modem would work with the generic driver from MS which allowed me to get online and get new(er) drivers for all the other hardware. I've yet to bother to put the case back together.

The god awful new user interface is very easily replaced with classic-style themes. Besides a couple supergroovy futuristic icons that I haven't gotten rid of yet, I've got the XP UI back to being more or less identical to what I had in 98SE. I did notice an inexplicable tendency to revert to the default Windows For Retards UI after taking off various useless eye candy effects. Provided you've saved your appearance settings, this is only a minor nuisance. Slightly more annoying was XP refusing to accept some of my old user settings during the upgrade. It would not accept an all numeric account name during the upgrade migration, though it made no objections about changing the name back after the installation was complete. It would, however, accept both the new and old user names during login, even though there was technically no longer any account associated with one of them. The start menu's "Log Off..." item also continued to display the temporary account name used during the upgrade. This was overcome by creating a new admin account with the desired name, logging in on the new account, and deleting the old admin account. If you have this account name problem, do it first, as you'll have to reset all the GUI options on the new account (of course if you saved you settings it only takes a few seconds). Remember to move all your user files over to the new account.

There are a couple disconcerting things about program conflicts. A number of plugins for Winamp give errors causing the application to forced quit. Work around this by moving the problematic DLLs from the winamp\plugins directory or by modifying the extension (E.G. *.DL_). It demands that I reinstall Nero, which I haven't yet done, but having read fondue's comments on Digital Rights Management, I have a suspicion it won't be as easy as just popping in the disc and clicking "OK." The creepiest occurrence was signing on to AOL and getting a message to the effect of "Ve know zhu have Veendoz Ecks Pee. Zhu must upgrad or ve vill hurt you." Not a problem, in so far as AOL disks are fairly ubiquitous (got one in the mail today, fortunately), but I did have to DL a 7.0 compatible version of some add-on software I have.

Besides the above I have no complaints. If there has been any change in performance it's in the way of improvement. I have an AMD K6 200Hz on this machine and it takes less than 2 minutes to boot (which is, may I add, an improvement over 98SE for this machine). I have not yet operated the machine under a normal/heavy program load, but I expect no problems.
In short, if you don't have a computer cobbled together from off-brand crap from the mid-90s, it will probably be a positive experience. Even if you do, it's relatively painless.

Microsoft Windows XP, codenamed Windows Whistler, is the end result of Microsoft's efforts to convert the entire Windows line to the NT codebase, while still maintaining compatibility with existing applications. Officially released October 25, 2001, Windows XP packs in a number of new features. Some of the following features were already present in Windows 2000; however this covers the jump from Windows ME to Windows XP.

What's new:
  • Burning of files to a CD-R is now supported; this technology was licensed by Microsoft from Roxio, the guys behind Easy CD Creator. CD-RW manipulation is supported as well; all this makes for a very useful basic CD burning tool
  • Luna, which is Microsoft's new Windows interface, Luna sports an enhanced Windows interface such as taskbar button grouping, hiding inactive Tray icons, a revised start menu that groups items according to function, polished icons, and so on. Luna is skinnable, but skins are encrypted; additional skins must be purchased with the Microsoft Plus! pack. StyleXP can remedy this
  • A revised Help and Support center, which will search the Internet for Microsoft's Knowledge Base articles to help you troubleshoot your problem; vaguely web-like in nature.
  • "Add New Hardware" has been been made largely redundant; Windows XP will autodetect any new Plug and Play devices and will automatically install the appropriate driver from its special Driver Cache.
  • System Restore will automatically create restore points should you ever go on a DLL-deleting spree; this has now been integrated into the "System" menu.
  • A new networking wizard has been added to help ease the pain of setting up a home network; it combines DHCP with Internet Connection Sharing to create a basic NAT network.
  • Fast User Switching, which is a new component of Terminal Services, allows you to quickly log out while keeping all of your programs running in the background; once you enter your password at the login screen again, you're instantly taken back to your desktop
  • Remote Desktop is an exclusive Windows XP Professional feature; it falls into the same remote-control software category as VNC and PCAnywhere.
  • ClearType anti-aliased fonts have been implemented
  • Automatic updating using Windows Update; no more will you miss those critical security patches.
  • Windows Messenger, which is a thinly disguised version of MSN Messenger.
What's changed
  • MS-DOS has been completely banished into the realm of NTVDM.exe; as a result some DOS games will not work. AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS are relics of the past and are no longer needed
  • My Documents contains some subfolders such as My Pictures and My Music, with samples for each folder
  • Windows Media Player is the default choice for MP3 files; mplayer2 and mplay32 are still available for the privacy concerned.
  • Attempting to remove a shortcut from the desktop prompts a friendly reminder that doing that only removes the shortcut; it does not remove the program. Similar gentle reminders have been sprinkled throughout the dialogue boxesOpening an unrecognized program will throw up a new dialogue box; you are prompted to "Use the Web service to find an appropriate program". This is the default, which is extremely annoying
  • The System Properties menu has been altered to account for the new Luna interface; options are available under the "Performance" tab.
  • Adding user accounts has been simplified greatly
  • Windows XP will not work with some programs that are ridiculously possessive of the system - Easy CD Creator 4 is a good example

There are two seperate versions of Windows XP targeted towards consumers; Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional. The difference between the two are minor:

  • Windows XP Home has a green bar in the splash screen; Windows XP Professional has a blue bar
  • WinXP Professional supports dual processors and the new Terminal Services additions like Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance..
Windows Product Activation

One of the most controversial additions to Windows XP is Windows Product Activation. WPA represents Microsoft's latest battle to hinder casual copying of Windows XP; put simply it generates a hardware hash and sends it off to Microsoft. You can opt to do this by the Internet, phone, or by modem. Microsoft has tried to make this as painless as possible, and has implemented a system of "tolerance" to account for hardware changes

Microsoft has implemented a 'grace' period of 30 days; after this time expires, you will be prompted to activate your copy of Windows XP. Many OEMs preactivate their copies of Windows XP to keep down support costs.

Interestingly enough, a pirated version of Windows XP Professional is circulating around the Internet; this version has no product activation built in. This version was meant for corporations who worried that implementing Windows XP would be a nightmare for support and would significantly raise costs. A minimal form of copy protection was implemented, but most copying software will copy it anyways

More XP Rumor Eradicating!

Most of the rumors flung around here, and elsewhere, are just that - rumors. They hold little to no merit whatsoever. I have been running Windows XP Professional Edition for over three months now and it has been working like a finely tuned machine.


Anyways, the rumors to slay:
  • Product Activation and Copyright Protection: As mentioned above by mfk, minimal copy protection was implemented. Every burnt CD I have tried as so far works. I use both Nero and Clone CD, it does not prevent you from installing them and it does not prevent you from burning. Also, XP does not in any way shape or form prevent the download, encode or decode of any media type that I have used (including MP3s). I do not even have a WMA file and I still listen to my music.
    Also, Product Activation, as mfk mentioned, is as painless as possible. They are very lenient. I have re-installed XP twice now, on the same computer mind you, and I have not had to call up Microsoft to explain my situation. Note: I re-installed XP the first time with an NTFS format as I was sick of FAT32, and the second time because of a Virus not because of XPs faults.
    Thanks to mfk for the following: mfk says re Windows XP: "Copy protection" consists of a corrupted CONTROLS.MAN file. Try copying an XP CD with Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4. So no copying XP CDs with Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4, just get Clone CD.

  • XP Incompatibility: Yes, XP has incompatibility problems, with both hardware and software. However it also has brilliant compatibility. Put simply, XP is for the future and modern software and hardware. If you have old hardware, or wish to run old software, then do not purchase XP. Any hardware released much later than a year ago, and any software released later than two years ago, will have a significant chance of being incompatible (increasing with age of course). So if you have an old system, either upgrade or don't buy XP and stop bitching about its incompatibility. Microsoft is trying to move forward, not backwards. All new hardware and software will be XP compatible, or will have a different version for XP. Note: Almost anything that works on 2000 will work on XP. Alot of 2000 drivers work for XP too.

  • DOS: Dos does exist in XP, command.com is still there, and you can still use the DOS prompt. The reason most DOS programs won't work is because unlike other Windows, where Windows boots from DOS, XP boots from itself, then DOS boots off XP. This causes major issues with DOS programs and will probably cause it to crash.

  • Boot Time: Slow? Hell no. As phillihp mentioned it does 60 seconds flat on an empty machine. I have a 1.5 GHz P4 with 128 MB RDRAM, my 60 GB HDD is around 33% full and it boots in approxiamately 75 seconds (give or take a few seconds for the time taken to sign in). It loses a bit of time on shutdowns and restarts, but it is by no means as slow as what the rumors state. 90 seconds tops.

  • Program Integration: Yes, XP integrates programs! Shock horror! Microsoft has been pushing in that direction for years. Aside from the fact this integration makes things 1.0x10^100000 times easier, each program can be uninstalled. Yes, that's right, we all remember Add/Remove programs don't we? Well there's a tab there, Add or Remove Windows Components, which allows you to uninstall Internet Explorer 6.0, MSN Messenger 6.0... anything that was installed can be removed.

So, that's the word on XP. It truly is a great OS, at least compared to other Windows. For those of us not versed in Linux, XP is the go. It is by far the most stable OS of the Windows, it is by far the fastest (on high-end systems). Its integration features with MSN Messenger and IE 6.0 are useful and make things easier. So go out and buy XP if you have a system for it!

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