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Location: GUIs > Windows > Windows XP (NT 5.1)

Windows XP
screen shots.

With Windows XP ("XP" allegedly stands for "Experience") Microsoft has given The Windows UI yet another makeover.

The primary differences between Windows XP (AKA Windows NT 5.1) and Windows 2000 (Windows NT 5.0) are a shiny new blue theme and yet even more webbyness.

Windows XP marks the end of the DOS based Windows as there has been no updated version of the DOS based Windows released since Windows ME. Windows XP is now the only desktop OS produced by MS and comes in both "home" and "professional" flavors.

The following images are in PNG format. Because of the color gradients used the images on your screen may look kind of blotchy in places unless your video is set to 24 or 32 bit color. Click the thumbnail for the large version.

Logging in is now done through this pretty screen. The classic login screen can be reached by pressing ctrl-alt-delete.

Microsoft requires users of Windows XP to "activate" their copy of Windows by phoning Microsoft. You have two options. You may activate over the Internet if you have access, or you may call a Microsoft customer service representative and give them this HUGE (50 character) installation ID number and they give you another really long one back that you must type in as a confirmation ID.

In the event your computer hardware changes (if you upgrade it or add a component) Windows XP may demand that you re-activate with Microsoft.

You had better hope you are somewhere near a phone when you install this monster. If you don't have internet access hope you are not dyslexic and are a good typist. You had better hope Linux or the DOJ hasn't put Microsoft out of business because with no one to "activate" this product for you, you will be up the creek.

I predict that 5 years or so from now Microsoft will refuse to "activate" Windows XP any more. The reason? There will be a newer version of Windows out by then that Microsoft will do anything to make you buy. Need to re-load that old computer that crashed? Forget it, expect to fork out more money for the latest Windows that probably will require you to buy a faster computer anyway.

And if you don't "activate" with Microsoft within the specified time, you will get a message like this.

Windows will not allow you to log in. Clicking "yes" will run the activation program, and that is all you may do.

Thankfully there are already a number of cracks out there to get around this BS. There also seems to be a special corporate-only version of Windows XP that comes "pre-activated".

This activation scheme hasn't succeeded at stopping piracy. At best it has prevented a few lamers from installing unlicensed copies. It has only succeeded at preventing a number of authorized users from installing / re-installing their licensed copies and otherwise annoying customers.

Why does the world put up with this junk?

Once you have "activated" Windows with Microsoft (or installed a crack) you may continue to use Windows normally.

This is the default screen you will see when you first log in to Windows XP.

The new start menu displays the user name of whoever is logged in, icons for the most recently used apps, and icons for various user folders.

At the top of the new Start menu it displays icons for the default web browser and e-mail client. Yes, the
DEFAULT web browser. If you install Netscape Communicator, for example, and let it be the default browser, the icons will change to Netscape's. Of course, I guess there is enough stuff to click on (IE icons and misc. shell browser links) that will only launch IE.

The above screen shot shows an example Start menu with Mozilla as the default web browser.

In Windows XP Microsoft has made the file browsing prettier using large icons and thumbnail views.

The main control panel has been changed to a web page although most of the control panel applets are still tabbed dialog boxes. Some of the applets such as the user management control panel have been changed to a webby interface.

At 800*600 screen resolution (but not at higher resolutions) the explorer windows automatically maximizes to take up the entire screen. From the way Microsoft is going perhaps they need to change the name of "Windows" to "Pages".

I think I need to download Active Pooper Scooper to clean up this mess. Using any of the search options opens up this window and for no adequately explained reason displays an animated character.
Rover 2002: Windows XP  Rover 1995: Microsoft BOB 

For those of you who aren't familiar with this critter, this is Rover Retriever who in back in 1995 was the star of the legendary flop of a software product known as "Microsoft BOB".