What is Windows XP? The Windows XP desktop? Windows XP is a major release of Microsoft’s Windows NT operating system. It was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2001, and later to retail on October 25, 2001. It is a direct upgrade to its predecessors, Windows 2000 for high-end and business users and Windows Me for home users, and is available for any devices running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98, Windows 2000, or Windows Me that meet the new Windows XP system requirements.
Development of Windows XP began in the late 1990s under the codename “Neptune”, built on the Windows NT kernel and explicitly intended for mainstream consumer use. An updated version of Windows 2000 was also initially planned for the business market. However, in January 2000, both projects were scrapped in favor of a single OS codenamed “Whistler”, which would serve as a single platform for both consumer and business markets. As a result, Windows XP is the first consumer edition of Windows not based on the Windows 95 kernel or MS-DOS. Windows XP removed support for PC-98, i486 and SGI Visual Workstation 320 and 540 and will only run on 32-bit x86 CPUs and devices that use BIOS firmware.
What is Windows XP?
Windows XP is an operating system that lets you use different types of applications or software. For example, it allows you to use a word processing application to write a letter and a spreadsheet application to track your financial information.
Windows XP is a graphical user interface (GUI). It has pictures (graphical) that you use (user) to communicate (interface) with the computer. This type of system is popular because it’s logical, fun, and easy to use.
This operating system has multi-tasking capabilities, meaning it can run several applications at the same time. Multi-tasking allows you to view this lesson on the Internet at the same time you practice using other applications with Windows XP.
The Windows XP desktop
Like previous versions of Windows, Windows XP uses a desktop for the standard interface. Think of the desktop as a workspace where you can access everything you need to operate your computer, such as system components, applications, and the Internet.
The desktop contains:
- Start button: This is one of the most important tools you will use while working with Windows XP. The Start button allows you to open menus and start applications.
- Taskbar: This is primarily used to switch between open windows and applications. Learn more about using the taskbar in a later lesson.
- Icons (or graphical pictures): This represent applications, files, and other parts of the operating system. By default, Windows XP provides you with one desktop icon, the Recycle Bin. Learn more about the Recycle Bin in a later lesson.
Potential risks of staying with Windows XP
Running Windows XP SP3 in your environment after April 8, 2104 may expose you to potential risks, such as: Security: Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information.
Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported. Compliance: Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA may find that they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements. More information on HHS’s view on the security requirements for information systems that contain electronic protected health information (e-PHI) can be found here (HHS HIPAA FAQ – Security Rule).
Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Support: Many software vendors will no longer support their products running on Windows XP as they are unable to receive Windows XP updates. For example, the new Microsoft Office takes advantage of the modern Windows and will not run on Windows XP. Hardware Manufacturer support: Most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on existing and new hardware. This will also mean that drivers required to run Windows XP on new hardware may not be available.
Will Microsoft Security Essentials be supported after April 8, 2014?
Microsoft Security Essentials will not be available for download on Windows XP after April 8, 2014. If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive anti-malware signature updates through July 14, 2015. However, please note that PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected.
Will Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool be supported after April 8, 2014?
Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool is aligned with the company’s anti-malware engines and signatures, and as such the removal tool will continue to be provided for Windows XP through July 14, 2015. However, any PC running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates for the Windows XP operating system.
Will System Center, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit still support Windows XP?
While customers may continue to use System Center, Windows Intune, and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to manage and deploy Windows XP past April 8, 2014, those products will no longer support Windows XP, and any technical issues which may arise will not be addressed.
What about Windows XP Embedded?
See the Windows Embedded product lifecycle page and Microsoft Support for more information on Windows XP Embedded lifecycles.
Will existing updates still be available via Windows Update after April 8, 2014?
Yes, all existing Windows XP updates and fixes will still be available via Windows Update and WSUS.
Will Internet Explorer 8 still be supported on Windows XP?
As a component of Windows, Internet Explorer follows the support lifecycle of the Windows operating system on which it is installed on. More information is available at Microsoft Support.
Which machines will receive the Windows XP End of Support notification?
The notification will be sent to users of Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional who have elected to receive updates via Windows Update. Users in organizations using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager, or Windows Intune will not receive the Windows XP end of support notification.
How can IT Services help?
Contact the IT Services Service Center and request a desktop work order to assist you with you migration needs. Our trained staff will evaluate your current computing environment and determine the best strategy for you and or your department. If some computers have been purchased recently there may be a good chance that you already have a more current operating system on it, i.e. Window 7, 8 or even 8.1. If so you are in good shape. If you have an XP computer there may be a reason for it, proprietary software or hardware. We will assist your department in purchasing more current version (if possible). Don’t be caught by the end of life for XP.
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