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Features at a Glance - Windows XP Professional Features for IT Professionals

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Windows XP Professional gives you the freedom to work the way you want
Windows XP Professional is the new standard for efficient and dependable computing
Windows XP Professional puts the advanced productivity tools of the digital age at your fingertips
Windows XP Professional provides advanced management, deployment, and support tools to make your job easier
Windows XP Professional System Requirements
For More Information

Windows XP Professional gives you the freedom to work the way you want

Windows XP Professional is the next generation operating system for our business customers. It provides the advanced productivity tools your organization needs, and gives you the power to manage, deploy, and support your computing environment more efficiently than ever. With Windows XP Professional Microsoft is introducing a new standard for efficient and dependable computing. Windows XP Professional is designed to provide a reliable foundation that provides the ultimate in security and privacy, while offering great performance and ease of use.

Windows XP Professional will deliver the advanced productivity tools that knowledge workers need to be more efficient in their jobs. Windows XP Professional will provide a ubiquitous communications platform. Additionally, Windows XP Professional will enable mobile and remote workers to work more effectively than ever.

For IT Professionals Windows XP Professional provides advanced management, deployment, and support tools to make your job easier. Windows XP Professional will integrate seamlessly into existing Windows 2000 Active Directory™ environments, while exposing hundreds of new system policies. To ease deployment and migration, Windows XP Professional has several key fixes to existing technologies, as well as introducing key new features.

Windows XP Professional is the new standard for efficient and dependable computing





Built on the Windows Engine

Windows XP Professional is built on the proven code base of Windows NT® and Windows 2000, which features a 32-bit computing architecture, as well as fully protected memory model.

Windows XP Professional will provide a dependable computing experience for all business users.

Enhanced Device Driver Verifier

Building on the device driver verifier found with Windows 2000, the Windows XP Professional version will provide even greater stress tests for device drivers.

Device drivers that pass these tests will be the most robust drivers available, which will ensure maximum system stability.

Dramatically Reduced Reboot Scenarios

Eliminates most scenarios that forced end users to reboot in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 9x. Many software installations also will not require reboots.

End users will experience higher levels of system uptime.

Improved Code Protection

In Windows XP Professional, critical kernel data structures are read-only so that drivers & apps cannot corrupt them. Additionally, all device driver code is read-only and page protected.

Rogue applications cannot adversely affect core operating system areas.

Side By Side DLL Support

Windows XP Professional provides a mechanism for multiple versions of individual Windows components to be installed and run "side by side".

This helps to address the "DLL hell" problem by allowing an application written and tested with one version of a system component to continue to use that version even though a newer app is installed with a newer version of the same component.

Windows File Protection

Windows XP Professional protects core system files from being overwritten by application installs. In the event a file is overwritten, Windows File Protection will replace that file with the correct version.

By safeguarding system files Windows XP Professional mitigates many common system failures found in earlier versions of Windows.

Windows Installer

A system services that helps users install, configure, track, upgrade, and remove software programs correctly.

Windows Installer will help minimize user downtime, as well as increase system stability.

Enhanced Software Restriction Policies

Windows XP Professional features enhanced software restriction policies that provide administrators a policy driven mechanism to identify software running in their environment and control its ability to execute. This facility can be used in virus and trojan horse prevention and software lockdown.

Using software restriction polices can contribute to improved system integrity, manageability, and, ultimately, lower cost of ownership for the PC.





Preemptive Multitasking Architecture

Windows XP Professional is designed to allow multiple applications to run simultaneously, while ensuring great system response and stability.

Users will be able to run their most demanding applications, while still experiencing impressive system response time.

Scalable memory and processor support

Supports up to 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM and up to two symmetric multiprocessors.

Users who need the highest level or performance will be able to leverage the latest hardware with Windows XP Professional.





Encrypting File System (EFS) with Multi-user Support

Encrypts each file with a randomly generated key. The encryption and decryption processes are transparent to the user. With Windows XP Professional, EFS now supports the ability to have multiple users accessing an encrypted document.

Encrypted File System offers the highest level of protection from hackers and data theft.

IP Security (IPSec)

Helps protect data transmitted across a network. IPSec is an important part of providing security for virtual private networks (VPNs), which allow organizations to transmit data securely over the Internet.

IT administrators will be able to build secure virtual private networks quickly and easily.

Kerberos Support

Provides industry-standard and high-strength authentication with fast, single logon to Windows 2000-based enterprise resources. Kerberos is an Internet-standard, which makes it especially effective for networks consisting of different operating systems such as UNIX.

Windows XP Professional will offer single sign-on for end users for resources and supported applications hosted on both Windows 2000 and our next generation server platform code named "Whistler", as well as supported UNIX platforms.

Smart Card Support

Windows XP Professional integrates smart card capabilities into the operating system, including support for Smart Card login to terminal server sessions hosted on "Whistler" Server (the follow-on server release to Windows 2000) based terminal servers.

Smart cards enhance software-only solutions such as client authentication, interactive logon, code signing, and secure e-mail.

Easy To Use




Fresh Visual Design

While maintaining the core of Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional has features a fresh new visual design. Common tasks have been consolidated, and simplified, and new visual cues have been added to help users navigate their computer more easily. IT Administrators or end users can choose between this updated user interface and the classic Windows 2000 look with the click of a button.

The redesigned user interface allows the most common tasks to be exposed easily allowing customers to get the most of out Windows XP Professional.

Adaptive User Environment

Windows XP Professional has technology that allows a customer's computing environment to adapt to the way he or she works. With a redesigned start menu, the most frequently used applications are show first. Additionally, if an application opens multiple windows (for instance, opening multiple email messages in the Outlook® messaging and collaboration client), all of those windows will be consolidated under a single task bar button. To remove some of the clutter from the notification area, items that are not being used will be hidden. All of these features can be set via Group Policy.

By cleaning up the work environment, Windows XP Professional allows the user to be more efficient. It also allows customers to find the crucial data and applications they need quickly and easily. Finally, all of these settings can be controlled via policy, so IT administrators can decide what features are most appropriate for their environment.

Work with Rich Media

Windows Media™ Player for Windows XP, is the first player to combine all of your common digital media activities into a single, easy-to-use place. MPXP makes it easy for you to:
· View rich media information e.g. for virtual company meetings or "just-in-time" learning
· Adapts to network conditions so you receive the best-possible audio/video quality
· Tune in to nearly 3,000 Internet radio stations
· Create custom CDs up to 700% faster than other solutions
· View DVD Movies

Windows Media Player for Windows XP will offer the best platform to build companies digital media infrastructure on.

Context Sensitive Task Menus

When a file is selected in explorer, a dynamic menu appears. This menu lists tasks that are appropriate for the type of file selected.

Common tasks that were hard to find in previous versions of Windows are exposed quickly and easily.

Integrated CD Burning

Windows XP Professional has integrated support for burning CD-R and CD-RW's into Windows Explorer.

Archiving data onto CD is now as easy as writing to a floppy disk, and does not require an expensive 3rd party solution.

Easily Publish Information to the Web

Files and folders can be easily published to any web service that utilizes the WebDAV protocol.

Users will be able to quickly and easily publish important information to web servers on the company's intranet.


DualView allows two monitors to host the windows desktop, while being driven off of a single display adapter. In the case of laptop computers this could be the internal LCD display as well as an external monitor. For desktops there are a variety of high-end display adapters that will support this functionality.

End uses will be able to maximize their productivity by working on multiple screens, while removing the need for multiple CPU's.


Helps end-users and IT professionals configure, optimize, and troubleshoot numerous Windows XP Professional functionalities.

By using troubleshooters, Windows XP enables users to be more self-sufficient, resulting in greater productivity, fewer help desk calls, and better customer service.

Windows XP Professional puts the advanced productivity tools of the digital age at your fingertips





Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop allows a user to create a virtual session onto their desktop computer using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

Remote desktop allows a customer to access all of their data and applications housed on their desktop computer from another computer running Windows 95 or later that is connected to their machine via a network.

Credential Manager

Credential manager is a secured store for password information. This feature allows users to input username and passwords for various network resources and line of business applications (such as e-mail) once, and then have the system automatically supply that information for subsequent visits to those resources without any user intervention.

Users who are not connected to a domain, or who need to access resources in multiple domains without trust relationships, will be able to easily access network resources.

Offline Files and Folders

An end user can specify which network based files and folders they would like to be available when they disconnect from the network. Additionally, with Windows XP Professional, Offline folders can now be encrypted to provide the highest level of security.

Users can work with documents while disconnected from the network in the same manner they do when they're connected up.


Windows XP Professional provides support for Microsoft's ClearType® display technology, a new text technology that triples the horizontal resolution available for rendering text through software.

ClearType offers a clearer display of text on a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen.

Offline Viewing

Makes entire Web pages with graphics available for viewing offline.

Customers can view critical web pages while disconnected from the Internet.

Synchronization Manager

Lets end users compare and update their offline files and folders with those on the network.

After working with files and folders offline, the changes will be automatically replicated back to the network, ensuring the latest version is always available.

Improved Power Management

By intelligently monitoring CPU state, Windows XP Professional can reduce the amount of power it is using. Additionally, the operating system will provide more accurate data on the amount of power left, this will prevent the system from shutting down prematurely. Also, by allowing for the system to wake up as the battery nears a drained state, the machine can be put into hibernation, and save any in progress work. Finally, the system's power management settings can now be set on a per-machine basis, or configured as necessary for individual users of that machine.

While on battery power, users will be able to work longer as well as more accurately forecast how long their machines will run.


After a set period of time, or on demand, Windows XP Professional will write out the contents of memory to disk, and shut the power down. When the system is brought back up, all the applications are reopened to the state they were when the operating system was put into hibernate mode.

End users can maximize battery life, while still be able to quickly resume working where they left off, reducing downtime.

Hot Docking

Lets you dock or undock your notebook computer without changing hardware configuration or rebooting.

Laptop users can move easily between docked and undocked configurations without rebooting the system.

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface

The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) provides the latest in power management and plug and play support.

Windows XP Professional provides key features for mobile professionals including plug and play, hot docking, and full power management support.

Wireless Networking Support

Windows XP Professional provides secured access, as well as performance improvements for wireless networks.

Windows XP Professional makes it much easier for users who need to move between wireless networks, while supporting high levels of encryption to enhance security.

Network Location Awareness

Network location awareness provides an underlying service that allows the operating system and applications to determine when a machine has changed network locations.

Applications and network services can be written to react intelligently when a network location change is detected i.e. an application could connect an end user to a closer server if that user moved from one building to another.

Easier Remote Access Configuration Wizards

Guides end users through the steps for setting up remote access to a network or virtual private network (VPN).

Makes it easy to connect to a corporate network or the Internet.

Help and Support




Improved Help and Support Center

Help has been completely revamped in Windows XP Professional. The help system now features the ability to search across multiple information sources – including help sources on the Internet. Windows XP Professional also allows users to print a chapter out of the online documentation. Additionally, customers can submit feedback directly to Microsoft to improve the quality of information included in the documentation. Finally, Windows XP Professional has integrated the concept of "Favorites" into the help subsystem, so customers can easily find important passages.

The Help and Support Center will allow users to quickly and easily find the answers they need, reducing help desk call volumes and increasing customer satisfaction.

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance allows a user to submit a request to have a peer or IT Professional remotely control the customer's PC that is running Windows XP to aid in troubleshooting and problem resolution. IT departments can build custom solutions on top of published API's using HTML to tailor Remote Assistance to their needs, and the feature can be centrally enabled or disabled.

Remote Assistance will reduce the amount of time IT pros spend at a customer's desk. Many of the administrative and troubleshooting tasks that they need to do can now be done from their own desk.

System Restore

The System Restore feature of Windows XP Professional enables users and IT administrators to restore a PC, in the event of a problem, to a previous state without losing personal data files. System Restore actively monitors system file changes to record or store previous versions before the changes occurred. With System Restore, users never have to think about taking system snapshots as it automatically creates easily identifiable restore points, which allow the user to restore the system to a previous time.

If users experience system failure or another significant problem, they can use System Restore from SafeMode or Normal Mode to go back to a previous system state, restoring optimal system functionality. System Restore will not revert user data or document files, so restoring will not cause users to lose their work, mail, or even browsing history and favorites.

Recovery Console

Provides a command-line console, allowing IT professionals to start and stop services, format drives, read and write data on a local drive, and perform many other administrative tasks.

In the event of errors that prevent Windows XP Professional from starting, IT administrators can boot the system to a command console and potentially repair the operating system.

Device Driver Roll Back

When certain classes of new device drivers are installed, Windows XP Professional will maintain a copy of the previously installed driver automatically that can be reinstalled if problems occur.

In the case where a newly installed device driver is causing Windows XP Professional to malfunction, an IT technician is then able to reinstall the previous driver quickly and easily.





Windows Messenger

Windows Messenger is the easy way to communicate with your customers, partners, friends, and family in real time. Will keep you updated with your contacts on-line status. Choose text, voice and video and experience the best on line voice and video quality experience. Collaborate with your contacts, transfer files, share applications and whiteboard drawings.

Windows XP Professional will provide users with a great platform for online conferencing and collaboration.

Internet Connection Firewall

Windows XP Professional offers a firewall client that can help protect small businesses from common Internet attacks.

Small business owners will be able to securely connect their Windows XP Professional machine to the Internet.

Network Setup Wizard

The network setup wizard makes it easy for a small business owner to setup and manage their network. The wizard walks them through key steps including sharing out files and printers, sharing out their Internet connection, and configuring the Internet Connection Firewall.

Small businesses can get a productive and secure network up and running without relying on network experts.

Network Bridge

The network bridge simplifies the setup and configuration of small networks that use mixed network connections (such as Cat-5 Ethernet and wireless) by linking the different types of networks together.

Small businesses have more flexibility when choosing network media and do not need to purchase extra equipment such as bridges and routers that would normally be required.

Internet Connection Sharing

Connects a small office network to the Internet, using a dial-up or broadband connection. From a single computer, Windows XP Professional can provide network address translation, addressing, and name resolution services for all computers on a small business network.

Small Business owners can connect their computer systems to the Internet with a single Internet connection, resulting in potential savings in ISP and hardware costs.

Peer-to-peer networking support

Enables Windows XP Professional to interoperate with earlier versions of Windows on a peer-to-peer level, allowing the sharing of all resources, such as folders, printers, and peripherals.

Small business owners can easily integrate Windows XP Professional into their existing peer-to-peer networks.

Windows XP Professional provides advanced management, deployment, and support tools to make your job easier

Management and Deployment




Application Compatibility

We've provided fixes to hundreds applications that didn't run on Windows 2000 to run on Windows XP Professional. As new application fixes are published, we will make them available via our Windows Update service.
In addition to the application fixes, Windows XP Professional has a mechanism that allows the end user or IT administrator to specify if an application needs to run in either a Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 95/98 or Windows Me compatibility mode. In this mode, Windows XP Professional system DLL's provide appropriate responses to the running application, allowing it to execute appropriately without a performance hit.

Users will experience increased application compatibility when compared with Windows 2000 Professional, and as more application fixes are rolled out they'll be automatically available.
Applications compatibility modes will potentially allow thousands of apps to run that don't have application fixes on Windows XP Professional.

User State Migration Tool

Windows XP Professional provides the User State Migration Tool which allows IT administrators to migrate a user's data and application/operating settings from their old computer to their new Windows XP Professional desktop. These settings may include things like Internet Explorer favorites or Office custom dictionaries, while the data can be any file types specified by the IT administrator.

IT administrators can reduce the number of help desk calls after a migration, and end users will have less downtime because they will retain their familiar operating environment.

Automatic Updates

Windows XP Professional will automatically download critical system updates in the background while the user is connected to the Internet. These downloads are throttled to minimize impact to network responsiveness, and are automatically resumed if the system is disconnected before an update is fully downloaded. Once the update has been downloaded to the PC, the user can then choose to install it.

Windows XP Professional users will automatically receive critical updates without impacting their ability to use their network connections.

Windows Update Improvements

As new device drivers, application compatibility fixes, and security patches are released for Windows XP Professional they will be made available to users via the Windows Update service (including Automatic Updates). In corporate environments, IT administrators can disable individual user access to Windows Update. A Windows Update catalog is provided for IT departments to download individual updates, and then deploy them as appropriate to their end users.

The operating system updates will always be available to ensure the most reliable and full featured computing experience.

Support for Latest Hardware Standards

Windows XP Professional provides support for the latest hardware standards. It supports UDF 2.01, the latest standard for reading DVD discs. It also supports the formatting of DVD-RAM drives with the FAT32 files systems. Additionally, DirectX® 8 API support will be included in Windows XP. Windows XP Professional also fully supports IrDA, USB, and IEEE 1394.

When it is released, Windows XP Professional will be able to take advantage of some of the latest hardware, as well as be optimized for the some of the latest applications.

Setup with Dynamic Update

During the installation process, before any files are actually installed, Windows XP Professional checks the web for critical updates and downloads them to be included in the installation.

Windows XP Professional will give the user the opportunity to load the most recent critical updates.

Unattended Installation

Windows XP Professional provides the ability to specify a greater number of options than previous versions of Windows, as well as allowing for a greater degree of security by encrypting passwords in the answer files.

Windows XP Professional allows it administrators a greater degree of flexibility in scripting unattended setup routines, ensuring the most flexible installation options of any Windows available today.

Internet Explorer 6 Administration Kit

Internet Explorer 6 is more customizable than ever before through the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK 6), so it's easier to deploy and maintain the browser. Version 6 of the IEAK adds control over new features such as the Media Bar, Auto Image Resize, and the Personal Bar.

IT Administrators have a greater degree of flexibility in their ability to deploy Internet Explorer 6.

System Preparation Tool (SysPrep)

Helps administrators clone computer configurations, systems, and applications. SysPrep can be configured to allow a single image, which includes the operating system and business applications, to be restored to multiple different machine configurations.

SysPrep will allow administrators to reduce the number of operating system images they maintain, while reducing the time it takes to deploy a typical desktop.

Setup Manager

Provides a graphical wizard that guides administrators in designing installation scripts.

It's now easier to create answer files for unattended installations.

Remote OS Installation

Permits Windows XP Professional to be installed across the network (including SysPrep images).
Note: This feature requires the Active Directory™ service in Windows 2000 Server.

Remote OS Installation saves time and reduces deployment costs by allowing administrators to standardize desktop environments to match organizational requirements.

Multilingual support

Allows users to easily create, read, and edit documents in many different languages with the English version of Windows XP Professional. Additionally the Multilanguage User Interface version will allow IT Administrators to change the user interface language based on the machine user.

In many instances, IT administrators will no longer need to deploy multiple localized versions of the operating system. This will speed deployments, reduce operating system images, and lower the total cost of ownership.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)

Provides a standardized infrastructure for monitoring and managing system resources.

WMI allows system administrators to monitor and control the system via scripting and 3rd party applications.

Safe mode startup options

Allows Windows XP Professional to boot the system at the most basic level using default settings and minimum device drivers.

Provides a means to boot the system into the GUI so that IT professionals repair the OS.

Group Policy

Group Policy settings simplify the administration of users and objects by letting IT administrators organize them into logical units, such as departments or locations and then assign the same settings, including security, appearance, and management options, to all employees in that group. This approach also ensures that settings are consistent across all members of a group. There are over 300 new polices available for Windows XP Professional, in addition to those already available for Windows 2000 Professional.

As users move from location to location, they still have access to critical data, and they maintain their own customized work environment.

Resultant Set of Policy

The Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) tool in Windows XP Professional allows administrators to see the effect of Group Policy on a targeted user or computer. With RSoP, administrators have a powerful and flexible base-level tool to plan, monitor, and troubleshoot Group Policy.

It will be easier for implement and manage group policies using the new RSoP tool.

Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

Provides a centralized and consistent environment for management tools.

IT administrators will be able to create customized application consoles.

Windows XP Professional System Requirements

To use Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional, you need:

  • PC with 300 MHz or higher processor clock speed recommended; 233 MHz minimum required (single or dual processor system);* Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended

  • 128mb of RAM or higher recommended (64MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)

  • 1.5 GB of available hard disk space*

  • Super VGA (800 * 600) or higher-resolution video adapter and monitor.

  • CD-ROM or DVD drive

  • Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Additional items or services required to use certain Windows XP features

For Internet access:

  • Some Internet functionality may require Internet access, a Microsoft .NET Passport, and payment of a separate fee to a service provider; local and/or long distance telephone toll charges may apply

  • 14.4 Kbps or higher speed modem

For networking:

  • Network adapter appropriate for the type of local-area, wide-area, wireless, or home network you wish to connect to, and access to an appropriate network infrastructure. Access to 3rd party networks may require additional charges.

For instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, and application sharing both parties need:

  • Microsoft .NET Passport account and Internet access or Exchange 2000 Server instant messaging account and network access. (Some configurations may require download of additional components).

For voice and video conferencing both parties also need:

  • 33.6 Kbps or higher speed modem, or a Network connection.

  • Microphone and sound card with speakers or headset

For video conferencing both parties also need:

  • Video conferencing camera

  • Windows XP

For application sharing both parties also need:

  • 33.6 Kbps or higher speed modem, or a Network connection.

  • Windows XP

For Remote Assistance:

  • Both parties must be running Windows XP and be connected via a network.

For Remote Desktop:

  • A Windows 95 or later-based computer and the two machines must be connected via a network.

For sound:

  • Sound card and speakers or headphones

For DVD video playback:

  • DVD drive and DVD decoder card or DVD decoder software

  • 8 MB of video RAM

For Windows Movie Maker:

  • Video capture feature requires appropriate digital or analog video capture device

  • 400MHz or higher processor for digital video camera capture

*Actual requirements will vary based on your system configuration and the applications and features you choose to install. Additional available hard-disk space may be required if you are installing over a network. For more information, please see

Note: To ensure that your applications and hardware are Windows XP–ready, please check

For More Information

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