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Windows XP Preview (Page 1)

You've probably heard about the next operating system from Microsoft called Windows XP. Sit back and relax as Sevan gives us a run down of Windows XP and what it means for us all. Should we take it or leave it? Read on and find out as Sevan tells us all we need to know!
By TweakTown Staff on Aug 20, 2001 11:00 pm CDT
Manufacturer: none

Introduction & History

Windows Whistler. That's what the previous name of Windows XP was, when rumors of a new OS were heard. Whistler is the code name for the next version of Windows. The Windows Development Team put Neptune and Odyssey into one product. In other words, Whistler is the next generation of Windows and will be based on Windows 2000, not the older Windows 9x kernel. Windows XP, as the desktop versions of Whistler, will ship in Professional Edition for businesses and power users, as well as a new Home Edition for consumers that will end up replacing Windows Me.

Before Whistler, Microsoft had planned to develop its future consumer and business versions of Windows separately (what an idea!). A consumer product named "Neptune" was already in the works, while a business-only follow-up to Windows 2000 called "Odyssey" was in the planning stages. On Friday, January 21, 2000 Microsoft had consolidated these two products into Whistler. Due to all the media coverage, Microsoft was forced to make a public acknowledgement that Whistler was, indeed, the code-name for the next version of Windows.

Quick FAQ

Q: What editions will Windows XP include?

A: Windows XP will include a Home Edition for consumers and a Professional Edition for business and power users. Windows XP will also appear in a 64-bit version for Intel Itanium processor-based systems, which will be called Windows XP 64-bit Edition. Interesting...

Q: what's the difference between Windows XP Home Edition and Professional Edition?

A: Windows XP Home is designed as an upgrade for Windows 9x and will ship with the same type of consumer features found in Windows Me, suited for the home enviroment. The biggest difference is processor support. Windows XP Home will support only one processor, while Professional supports two. This is something good for you server admins out there...

Q: Will I be able to upgrade Windows Me to Windows XP? What about Windows 95 and Windows 98?

A: Windows XP is an upgrade for almost every 32-bit version of Windows (this excludes Windows 3.1 and DOS!). Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.51, or earlier, are not supported for upgrading. You will be able to upgrade Windows 98, 98 SE, and Me to Windows XP Home Edition or Professional. You will also be able to upgrade Windows 2000 Professional to Windows XP Professional as well, but not to Home Edition (beware gamers!)

Also: Windows 98, 98 SE, and Me users will be able to uninstall Windows XP if the upgrade doesn't work out for some reason. This capability will not be made available to Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 upgraders.

Q: Is Windows XP the same thing as the "Whistler" speech recognition software that Microsoft Research is (was) working on?

A: Unfortunately, no. Microsoft has been working on a speech to text translator project "Whistler", along with a speech recognition engine called "Whisper," for some time now. But don't be confused about this. They have nothing to do with each other. However, Windows XP does include speech technology.

Q: Is Windows XP 64-bit, 32-bit, or a 16/32-bit system like Windows 98?

A: Windows XP is based on the NT kernel in Windows 2000 and is therefore a 32-bit system. However, Windows XP Professional will also ship in a 64-bit version called Windows XP 64-bit Edition. But Windows XP is not the 64-bit version of Windows 2000: The company decided to cancel this project due to the impending release of Whistler.

Q: When will Windows XP be released? (Most important question?)

A: Microsoft is planning to release all editions of Windows XP on October 25, 2001. As of now, Microsoft is still working on fixing small bugs.

Q: what's with the code-name "Whistler"?

A: They were "Odyssey," "Neptune," "Mars", and before that they were using city names "Chicago," "Detroit," "Memphis". But now they've turned to mountain names: Whistler and Blackcomb are popular ski resorts a few hours from Seattle, located in British Columbia. However, the space names continue with other projects: The new Whistler user interface found in Windows XP was code-named "Luna." Hmm, Luna...who is that?

Q: I read somewhere that Windows XP will feature a new feature to finally cure "DLL hell". Is this true? (Good news for gamers)

A: It is. Back in the early days of Windows, before hard drives were even widely available, Microsoft introduced the concept of a shared code library called Dynamic Link Library, also known as "DLL". The point was that each program that needed certain amounts of code could get that code from a single location and thus save hard drive space. Over time, however, this became one of Windows' biggest weaknesses: Applications would "upgrade" these shared libraries with their own copies, causing other applications or even Windows itself to fail. In Windows XP, applications will think they're copying their files as usual, but the OS will manage the process so that they don't actually overwrite any existing files. Then, each time the application is run, Windows XP will ensure that it only uses its copies of the files, ensuring that all apps run correctly and none of them are able to get in the way of other applications. Microsoft says that this feature will "isolate applications from each other, providing users with a 'run once, run forever' environment. Hmm, wow?

Q: Windows XP Release Candidate 2 (RC2) was released. what's new?

A: RC2 is simply a bunch of bug fixes. No changes were made to the user interface at all, though Internet Explorer was added to the Windows Componenets section Add or Remove Programs.

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TweakTown Staff

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