Gandalf_The_Grey

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Microsoft released Windows XP, one of the most popular and enduring versions of Windows ever, on October 25, 2021.It brought a graphical refresh and much-needed stability to consumer Windows. We take a look back at what made it special.

It Brought Windows NT to Consumers, Finally
In the early 1990s, Microsoft began working on a next-generation operating system called Windows NT that would leave Microsoft’s MS-DOS-based roots behind. It incorporated a brand new kernel and other technologies that made it very stable and reliable. At first, NT proved too hardware intensive to run well on the typical consumer PC, so Microsoft aimed it at the professional and server markets. With Windows 2000, Microsoft almost brought NT to the consumer market, but decided to hold off and released Windows Millennium Edition (Me) instead. But the company knew the shift to NT was inevitable.

Windows Me (like Windows 95 and 98 before it) ran on technology carried over from MS-DOS that made it prone to frequent, catastrophic crashes. After Windows Me garnered a poor critical and customer response in 2000, Microsoft knew its next consumer OS would need to finally take up the NT mantle.

After extensive prototyping, including abandoning earlier attempts at a consumer NT-based operating system, Microsoft settled on a prototype called “Whistler” that would eventually turn into Windows XP. According to Microsoft, the “XP” meant “experience,” with a promise to focus on user experience in the new release.

Unlike the divide between operating systems like Windows 95 and NT 4.0 in the past (or Windows Me and Windows 2000), XP would unify Microsoft’s consumer and professional Windows products under one brand, albeit in two different editions.

Graphical Flair
Windows XP brought eye candy to Windows in a big way, marking the first significant departure from the classic grey Windows theme introduced in Windows 95. Thanks to a visual style called Luna, Windows XP defaulted to a colorful design that featured a blue taskbar with a green Start button, blue window title bars, and bright red “X” buttons to close Windows.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Windows XP remains the dominant operating system — at least in one part of the world
What you need to know
  • The year is 2021, and Microsoft has ushered in Windows 11.
  • While it may not be a shock that many, many people are still operating on older Windows operating systems, it is unusual that one country still primarily uses Windows XP.
  • That country is Armenia.
For many, October 2021 has been a time of change, wherein Windows 10 was abandoned in favor of Windows 11. However, not everyone is so keen on making operating system jumps. In fact, one country hasn't done so en masse in two decades.

According to StatCounter, desktop PCs in Armenia still primarily roll with Windows XP (via WinFuture). As of September 2021, 53.5% of desktops were using the operating system that landed in 2001. Windows 10 came in second with 32.8% percent. Given that October's figures aren't included in the chart yet, it's not clear how many Windows 11 rigs are floating around in Armenia, but it's safe to assume there are nowhere near enough to dethrone XP as the king of the hill.

It remains unclear why Armenia's XP and Windows 10 market share values still battle with each other for dominance every few months, with Windows 10 occasionally tying things up or taking the crown. It's also unclear why Windows XP keeps rising to the top after these temporary swaps.
 

LASER_oneXM

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Twenty years on from the public release of Windows XP, the popular operating system is still regarded one of Microsoft’s greatest achievements.
As of August this year, Windows XP still maintained a greater market share than its successor, Windows Vista.

When mainstream support for XP ended in April 2009, it was running on a huge 75% of Windows computers and about 19% of people were still using XP when extended security support finished in 2014. Microsoft provided security support in a few special cases, such as for military use, until 2019 — an incredible 18 years after the initial release.

But what made XP excel? And what has Microsoft learned in the two decades since its release?
 

oldschool

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If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

Modern computing is a balance between portability, power consumption, usability and speed, among other factors. Companies can no longer just throw advanced hardware at a problem and expect the public to tolerate poor user experience.

The success of XP, and subsequent failures of its successors, present many lessons to the technology sector — the chief of which is this: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

By acknowledging earlier mistakes and reverting to a user-first policy, Microsoft could indeed secure its place in the market for decades to come.
I really wasn't using a PC at XP's launch but clearly it was M$'s most famous release. Too bad they haven't stayed with this formula for success.
 

South Park

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The article describes Windows 7 as a tiled mess that didn't work on desktops, when I think they meant to write Windows 8. Many Windows users, myself included, thought Windows 7 was the pinnacle of Microsoft user friendliness on the desktop. The chief objection was the amount of telemetry.
 

Digmor Crusher

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People aren't wrong. Microsoft only starts to get their act right in the final year of support of an OS, and then ushers in a new ten year saga of bugs, and ever more massive problems. Rinse. Repeat.
Debatable. I've updated to 7, 10 and 11 as soon as I could with no issues. Its about expectations, my only one is that the OS works, could care less about the minutia such as if the corners are rounded or what the start menu looks like.
 
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