Despite launching in 2001 and losing support from Microsoft in 2014, it’s easy to think of Windows XP as a fairly recent OS. Yet decades after its release, Windows XP is still beloved and brings back old feelings for many.

With Windows XP having less than 1% market share of all Windows PCs worldwide as of December 2021, it is an opportune time to look once again. Let’s revisit the biggest features of Windows XP, consider its impact at the time, and see what has changed since then.

rejuvenate windows xp

Looking back on Windows XP in its glory days, what were the biggest changes that came with installing this version?

a fresh look

Windows XP was the first consumer-oriented release in the Windows NT family. Earlier versions, such as Windows Me and Windows 98, were in the Windows 9x family and were all based on MS-DOS under the hood.

As a result, Windows XP shipped with a shiny new look that ditched the old gray taskbar and blended icons. The default blue color scheme, enhanced start menu, rounded window corners, cool account photos, and increased use of shadows all make the OS look built for the (early) 21st century.

Contemporary critics thought Windows XP looked childish at the time, mainly because of its color scheme. And while it depends on preference, it’s fair to say that Windows XP has aged visually well. Windows still uses the same basic design; While some icons are looking outdated now and animations are primitive compared to our standards, Windows XP is far from an eyesore even in the modern era.

a better user experience

Windows XP made a lot of changes to customize the way it is used.

The taskbar gained the ability to group multiple instances of an open app, thereby saving space. Rapid user switching, which lets the current session log in as another user without having to log out, was appreciated for multi-user homes. And Windows XP was the first version to use the modern welcome screen, where you select your account from a list instead of typing a name.

Since Windows XP was the first major home version that was not based on DOS and thus could not natively run 16-bit programs, Windows XP also had a compatibility mode. This helped you run programs that worked on earlier versions of Windows but had problems on Windows XP.

Windows XP’s revamped Start menu includes two columns of icons, with your recently used programs on the left and links to folders and features on the right. This basic layout was used all the way through Windows 7.

XP’s included software

Windows XP didn’t include nearly as many apps as modern versions do. The much-maligned Internet Explorer 6 was the default browser in XP—Firefox wasn’t released until September 2002, while Chrome wasn’t until 2008.

While Windows Movie Maker first appeared in Windows Me, it was also part of XP, where it would gain considerable popularity. Since YouTube went online a few years after XP’s launch, Movie Maker played a big role in allowing anyone to edit and share simple videos.

Unlike some ad-laden games in Windows 10 and 11, Windows XP had all the classics, including FreeCell, Hearts, Minesweeper, and everyone’s favorite: Pinball. There were also online versions of Checkers, Spades and other titles. If you are interested, you should learn how to bring back classic Windows games in Windows 10 and 11.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) made its first consumer appearance in Windows XP, though not in the Home edition. You may have forgotten that Windows XP didn’t even include an antivirus program. Windows Security Center will warn you that one isn’t installed, but you’ll have to decide on an alternative yourself.

Before the days of WhatsApp and Telegram, Windows XP had Windows Messenger. It was later replaced by Windows Live Messenger, which itself was superseded by Windows Live Messenger. In later versions of Windows, Microsoft introduced Lync instead, which became Skype for Business. Now, this confusing train of messaging tools is all wrapped up in Microsoft Teams.

Comparing this to Windows 11’s requirements of a 1GHz CPU with 4GB of RAM is a good measure of how fast the technology moves.

How was Windows XP made better?

While using XP again after so many years is a fun burst of nostalgia, clicking around the old OS is a reminder that it was perfect. Let’s end with a few points that we are glad that Windows has evolved since XP.

better search capabilities

If you take it for granted that you can click the Start button or hit the Win key on your keyboard to search for anything on your PC, you might be surprised to learn that this was not the case in Windows XP. .

While XP includes a search function, it’s not nearly as robust as you’ll find in modern versions. It offers a cartoon dog that asks what type of file you want to search, followed by additional filters.

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