Microsoft Windows XP Home Review
Microsoft Windows XP Home edition is the predecessor of Vista, Windows 7 and soon, Windows 8. The operating system is still widely used, however, and many people still prefer it to the later versions of Windows as they know how it works and are comfortable that they are using a decent operating system.
XP Home is designed for the home user and expands on previous versions of the OS such as the terrible Millennium and the much more stable (and favorite of many) Windows 98. Whilst Windows 2000 was built for business, XP Home is built on the basic file allocation system used in 2000, making for a more stable computing experience than its predecessors. This is because it uses the NTFS file system rather than the FAT32 system used in older versions of Windows.
In XP, Microsoft targeted music, video and the online experience to bring users a more fully integrated media experience to computing. It has a more user-friendly interface which is easy to find your way around, includes System Restore so that you can quickly revert back to an earlier session should you suddenly have problems and even makes a complete full-install of Windows a doddle, compared to earlier versions of Microsoft OS’.
Whilst Microsoft integrated Media Player well with XP Home, it does have one rather irritating caveat and that is that users must install separate ‘codecs’ to play a DVD. Whilst this is achievable for many users, for those with only a basic knowledge of computing, this could prove confusing.
One of the biggest steps forward with XP is the improvements made to burning CD-R and CD-RW mediums. Whilst with previous operating systems this could be a frustrating process, the updates made to XP Home burning to disc is faster and less prone failure. Anyone who is old enough to have been around when CD-Burning first came into play will remember that a CD Writer could throw a tantrum over what media was used, making for a hair-tearing experience.
What many people love about XP is the new user interface, whilst this can be all but gotten rid of by playing around with settings to boost performance, the GUI is definitely one of the most popular aspects to the OS. XP is cleaner, easier to use and pleasing to the eye, with auto-hide functions and the ability to further customize both the desktop and the start menu, amongst other things.
Internet Explorer has also been improved in XP Home to give an overall look and feel that matches the operating system itself. Of course many people now use third-party browsers, such as Firefox and Chrome, but IE 6 was built to be the best quality browser of its time and certainly users have had little in the way of complaints.
Windows XP also gives users enhanced options than previous versions for digital imaging, sharing and manipulating images, something which other versions lacked – this and other features such as those mentioned above have made XP an enormously popular operating system for end users and one that we shall no doubt see around for some years to come, even after the introduction of newer versions.
The minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP Home Edition are:
- Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)
- At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
- At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk
- CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
- Keyboard and a Microsoft Mouse or some other compatible pointing device
- Video adapter and monitor with Super VGA (800 x 600)or higher resolution
- Sound card
- Speakers or headphones
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