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Chapter one. New Windows for Old Users: ... > What Windows XP Is—and What It Isn't

What Windows XP Is—and What It Isn't

Microsoft Windows has been the dominant desktop operating system for almost fifteen years, now. Just to keep everyone on their toes, Microsoft brings out a new version of Windows every few years or so; sometimes the new version is a minor update, sometime it's a complete overhaul. For example, Windows 95 (released back in—you guessed it—1995) was a total rewrite of the previous 3.X version of Windows. Windows 98 (which followed in 1998) was a less-significant upgrade, and Windows 98 Second Edition (in 1999) was really no more than a minor bug fix. Windows Me (released in 2000) added a few bells and whistles, but was still basically the same operating system released back in 1995.

Through all those upgrades in the 1990s, the whole Windows 9X/Me product line was targeted toward individual computer users. Corporations were encouraged by Microsoft to use the more robust Windows NT/2000 operating system. This corporate version of Windows was built from the ground up to be a true 32-bit operating system, while the consumer-oriented Windows 9X/Me OS was saddled with legacy support for 16-bit programs.


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