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A Windows Overview

Windows XP is the first family of Windows to break down the long-standing barrier between home-oriented and business-oriented releases of Windows. Originally code-named Whistler, Windows XP is the product of a development process that began with a consumer operating system code-named Neptune in late 1999 and a separate business-oriented operating system code-named Odyssey, which was planned as a successor to Windows 2000. In January 2000, Microsoft decided to integrate both Neptune and Odyssey into a single operating system family code-named Whistler, which you now know as Windows XP.

Thus, Windows XP was to be the first Windows family to combine a complete line of home-oriented and business-oriented releases of Windows into a single product continuum while sharing an identical code base. The release of Windows XP in Home and Professional versions (as well as some heavier-duty versions) was a big move for Microsoft, which has offered separate home-oriented (Windows 3.x/9x/Me) and corporate-oriented (Windows NT/2000) versions with drastically different internal designs since 1993. The common code base of all primary versions of Windows XP also is a big benefit for both users and developers. It makes program and device driver development much easier, because device drivers and software programs need to be created just once, rather than twice. But let's step back a bit and look at a little Windows history, in order to put XP into context, and to better frame the subsequent discussion of XP's features covered in this chapter.


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