New and Updated Features
Windows XP introduced several new features to the Windows line, including:
- GDI+ graphics subsystem and improved image management and viewing in the shell
- DirectX 8.1 upgradeable to DirectX 9.0c
- Start Menu and Taskbar improvements
- A number of new features in Windows Explorer including task panes, tiles and filmstrip views, improved sorting and grouping, searching by document categories, customizable infotips, built-in CD burning, AutoPlay, Simple File Sharing and WebDAV mini-redirector.
- Improved imaging features such as Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, improved image handling and thumbnail caching in Explorer
- A number of kernel enhancements and power management improvements
- Faster start-up, (due to improved Prefetch functions) logon, logoff, hibernation and application launch sequences.
- The ability to discard a newer device driver in favor of the previous one (known as driver rollback) should a driver upgrade not produce desirable results.
- Numerous improvements to increase the system reliability such as improved System Restore, Automated System Recovery, Windows Error Reporting and driver reliability.
- A new, arguably more user-friendly interface, including the framework for developing themes for the desktop environment and richer icons with alpha transparency
- Hardware support improvements such as USB 2.0, FireWire 800, Windows Image Acquisition, Media Transfer Protocol, DualView for multi-monitors and audio improvements.
- Fast user switching, which allows users to save the current state and open applications of their desktop and allows another user to log on without losing that information
- The ClearType font rendering mechanism, which is designed to improve text readability on liquid crystal display (LCD) and similar monitors, especially laptops.
- Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop features, which allow users to connect to a computer running Windows XP from across a network or the Internet and access their applications, files, printers, and devices or request help.
- New networking features including Windows Firewall, Internet Connection Sharing integration with UPnP, NAT traversal APIs, Quality of Service features, IPv6 and Teredo tunneling, Background Intelligent Transfer Service, extended fax features, network bridging, peer to peer networking, support for most DSL modems, IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) connections with auto configuration and roaming, TAPI 3.1, Bluetooth and networking over FireWire.
- New security features such as Software Restriction Policies, Credential Manager, Encrypting File System improvements, improved certificate services, smart card and PKI support. Windows XP SP2 introduced Data Execution Prevention, Windows Security Center and Attachment Manager.
- Side-by-side assemblies and registration-free COM
- Improved media features in Windows Media format runtime, Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker, TV/video capture and playback technologies, Windows Media Encoder and introduction of Windows Media Center
- General improvements to international support such as more locales, languages and scripts, MUI support in Terminal Services, improved IMEs and National Language Support, Text Services Framework
- Handwriting recognition, speech recognition and digital ink support accessible through the Tablet PC Input Panel (TIP) in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
- Numerous improvements to system administration tools such as Windows Installer, Windows Script Host, Disk Defragmenter, Windows Task Manager, Group Policy, CHKDSK, NTBackup, Microsoft Management Console, Shadow Copy, Registry Editor, Sysprep and WMI
- Improved application compatibility and shims compared to Windows 2000
- Updated accessories and games.
- Improvements to IntelliMirror features such as Offline Files, Roaming user profiles and Folder redirection.
Users in British schools observed the improved ease of use and advanced capabilities – comparing the former to RISC OS and Mac OS, and the latter to Unix.
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