Windows XP was released generally on October 25, 2001. Today XP is now in extended support which expired April 8, 2014. Office 2003 also will expire. Microsoft will continue to provide updates for Security Essentials until April 2015.
Windows XP was the first version of Windows to require activation. Previously Windows was released without copy protection outside of a serial number.
Windows XP is available in 32-bit and 64-bit editions however each is sold separately. Starting with Windows Vista Microsoft began including both 32-bit and 64-bit versions in retail packages.
The 32-bit version of XP can support up to 4 GB of RAM and the 64-bit version of XP can use up to 128 GB of RAM. A faster multi-core CPU will also be a big benefit.
We now have a list of a few old games that do not work with XP. Old games from the Windows 98 period are hot and miss as to whether they can be coaxed into action.
Testing the 64-bit version of XP revealed very few problems with games. The main advantage of XP x64 is the memory management is drastically better.
Virtual PC 2004 can launch Windows 98 SE and run it full screen with CD-ROM and mouse support. Testing shows Windows 98 SE has excellent DOS game compatibility. We use 512 MB of RAM for Windows 98 SE and it runs well.
Triple Play 2000 is the one title we have that evokes a compatibility error with the 64-bit version of XP.
Today a few games have dropped supporting Windows XP. EA for example has moved to drop XP with their new Frostbite 2 game engine.
Windows XP remains widely used however Windows 7 has finally surpassed it in use in 2012.
NVIDIA supports XP better than AMD does with drivers. Overall drivers for XP are still being shipped primarily due to the huge installed base of users.
We use a GTX 260 and we have XP installed in a partition on the machine to test game compatibility and performance.
We have identified some DRM problems with some old games when we attempted to install them on a newer release of Windows. This is the main motivation for maintaining XP in a partition.
Using a large disk and partitions means the full performance of a single GTX 260 is available so even demanding titles are fully playable.
We suggest adopting Windows 7 and if necessary dual boot the systems as required for titles that are not compatible with Windows 7.
We use multiple hard disks and then use the BIOS boot menu to select the dish desired.
Lots of businesses and governments had to replaced 10,000 or more machines when XP support lapsed. Buying 40,000 laptop machines is not exactly affordable at the best of times. This is especially the case when the machines in use are still in good working order.