Windows XP is a major release of the Windows NT operating system developed by Microsoft. It was the direct successor to both Windows 2000 for professional users and Windows Me for home users, and it was released to manufacturing on August 24, 2001, with retail sales beginning on October 25, 2001. It was Microsoft's operating system for use on personal computers such as home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs and media center PCs until replaced by Windows Vista in February 2007.
Development of Windows XP began in the late 1990s as "Neptune", an operating system (OS) built on the Windows NT kernel which was intended specifically for mainstream consumer use. An updated version of Windows 2000 was also originally 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 OS platform for both consumer and business markets. As such, Windows XP was the first consumer edition of Windows not to be based on the Windows 95 kernel and MS-DOS.Upon its release, Windows XP received critical acclaim, with critics noting increased performance and stability (especially in comparison to Windows Me), a more intuitive user interface, improved hardware support, and expanded multimedia capabilities. However, some industry reviewers were concerned by the new licensing model and product activation system. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are succeeded by Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 released in January 2007 and February 2008, respectively.
Official Mainstream Support for Windows XP ended on April 14, 2009, and Official Extended support for Windows XP ended on April 8, 2014, after which the operating system ceased receiving further support or security updates. Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, based on Windows XP Professional, received security updates until April 2019. Unofficial methods were made available to apply the updates to other editions of Windows XP. Microsoft officially discouraged this practice, citing incompatibility issues.As of July 2021, 0.58% of Windows PCs run Windows XP (on all continents the share is below 1%), and 0.18% of all devices across all platforms run Windows XP. Windows XP is still very prevalent in many countries, such as Armenia where over 50% of computers use Windows XP.
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