Windows XP SP3 Fantastic Edition: A Simple, Lightweight, and Nostalgic Operating System for Older Hardware and Software - Slash Gear
In December 2005, the Korean Fair Trade Commission ordered Microsoft to make available editions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 that do not contain Windows Media Player or Windows Messenger. Like the European Commission decision, this decision was based on the grounds that Microsoft had abused its dominant position in the market to push other products onto consumers. Unlike that decision, however, Microsoft was also forced to withdraw the non-compliant versions of Windows from the South Korean market.
Windows XP SP3 Fantastic Edition
The K and KN editions of Windows XP Home Edition and Professional Edition were released in August 2006, and are only available in English and Korean. Both editions contain links to third-party instant messenger and media player software.
This edition of Windows XP Home is intended for sale with certain "low-cost" netbooks and will appear labeled as "Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC" on the back of the netbook (with "ULCPC" standing for "ultra-low-cost personal computer"). This edition contains a regular license of Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 3 included.
The Starter edition includes some special features for certain markets where consumers may not be computer literate. Not found in the Home Edition, these include localised help features for those who may not speak English, a country-specific computer wallpaper and screensavers, and other default settings designed for easier use than typical Windows XP installations. The Malaysian version, for example, contains a desktop background of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.
In addition, the Starter edition also has some unique limitations to prevent it from displacing more expensive versions of Windows XP. Only three applications can be run at once on the Starter edition, and each application may open a maximum of three windows. The maximum screen resolution is 1024768, and there is no support for workgroup networking or domains. In addition, the Starter edition is licensed only for low-end processors like Intel's Celeron or AMD's Duron and Sempron. There is also a 512 MB limit on main memory and a 120 GB disk size limit. Microsoft has not made it clear, however, if this is for total disk space, per partition, or per disk. There are also fewer options for customizing the themes, desktop, and taskbar.
On October 9, 2006, Microsoft announced that they reached a milestone of 1 million units of Windows XP Starter sold. In the mass market, however, the Starter edition has not had much success. In many markets where it is available, pirated versions of higher end versions of Windows are more popular than their legal counterparts. In these markets, non-genuine copies of XP Professional can be obtained at a mall. These stores typically charge only for the amount of the CDs/DVDs taken up by the files, not the original retail value. Unlicensed copies of Windows XP Professional typically cost 70, since it only uses 1 CD, compared to around $30 for a properly licensed copy of XP Starter.
This edition, which was code-named "Freestyle" during its development, was first released in September 2002. The initial release was available solely in conjunction with computers that included media center capabilities, and could not be purchased separately. The first major update was released in 2004 and distributed by Tier 1 OEMs who had previously sold Windows XP Media Center Edition PC, and then updated again in 2005, which was the first edition available for System Builders. Many of the features of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (including screen dancers, auto playlist DJ, and high end visual screen savers) were taken from the Windows XP Plus! packages. These were originally shipped as add-ons to Windows XP to enhance the users experience of their Windows XP machine.
After the 2005 release, Microsoft focused their efforts on building new media center features into "Home Premium" and "Ultimate" editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, which have Windows Media Center built-in and, unlike the releases of Windows XP Media Center Edition, were available for retail purchase without the necessary hardware.
The most notable feature unique to this edition is the Windows Media Center, which provides a large-font, remotely accessible interface ("10-foot user interface") for television viewing on the computer as well as recording and playback, a TV guide, DVD playback, video playback, photo viewing, and music playback. Unlike competing commercial digital video recorder products, Microsoft does not charge a monthly subscription fee for its Media Center TV guide service.
Due to strict hardware requirements, Microsoft did not sell Media Center Edition in retail markets alongside the Home and Professional editions. Microsoft only distributes it to MSDN subscribers and OEM System Builders in certain countries. Consumers generally purchase Media Center pre-installed on a new computer, or from a reseller that sells OEM versions of Microsoft software.
Media Center Edition was the only consumer-oriented edition of Windows XP that was updated with new features on an annual basis during the five-year development of Windows Vista. The MCE 2005 release, for example, includes an update to Windows Movie Maker that supports burning DVDs, a new visual style called "Royale", support for Media Center Extenders, and SoundSpectrum's G-Force sound visualizations. Microsoft also released its own remote control, receiver and infrared blaster with MCE 2005. A new specially designed wireless computer keyboard for MCE 2005 was released September 2005.
Media Center has higher hardware requirements than other editions of Windows XP. MCE 2005 requires at least a 1.6 GHz processor, DirectX 9.0 hardware-accelerated GPU (ATI Radeon 9 series or nVidia GeForce FX series or higher), and 256 MB of system RAM. Some functionality, such as Media Center Extender support, use of multiple tuners, or HDTV playback/recording carries higher system requirements.
This edition is intended for specially designed notebook/laptop computers called tablet PCs. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is compatible with a pen-sensitive screen, supporting handwritten notes and portrait-oriented screens. Except for MSDN and Volume License subscribers, Windows XP Tablet Edition could not be purchased separately.
In 2006, Microsoft made available two additional editions of Windows XP Home Edition for hardware manufacturers that wanted to provide subscription-based or pay as you go-based[clarification needed Link to correct article] models for selling computers. These editions, named Windows XP Home Edition for Subscription Computers, and Windows XP Home Edition for Prepaid Computers respectively, are part of the "Microsoft FlexGo" initiative, described in a company-issued press release as, "[making] PCs more accessible by dramatically reducing the entry cost and enabling customers to pay for their computer as they use it, through the purchase of prepaid cards. Market trials are starting first in emerging markets where inadequate access to consumer credit, unpredictable income and high entry costs prevent many consumers from purchasing a computer." These editions were targeted towards emerging markets such as India, Brazil, Hungary and Vietnam.
Both editions contain additional components that enforce the subscription models via metering. The metering is typically enforced with a hardware component to prevent tampering. The installation of Windows operates in "normal mode", "Limited Access Mode", or "Hardware Locked Mode" depending on the state of the subscription. When a computer has a positive time balance, it operates in "normal mode" and functions as a regular Windows XP Home Edition machine. When the time balance expires, the machine will then operate in "Limited Access Mode" for an amount of time set by the hardware manufacturer (five hours by default) before entering "Hardware Locked Mode". In Limited Access Mode, the screen uses high-contrast and low-resolution display settings, and in Hardware Locked Mode, the operating system is disabled entirely, and a message is displayed on boot-up with instructions on how to re-enable the machine.
This edition was discontinued in January 2005, after Hewlett-Packard, the last distributor of Itanium-based workstations, stopped selling Itanium systems marketed as 'workstations'. As of July 2005, Windows XP 64-Bit Edition is no longer supported, and no further security updates were made available.
Windows XP 64-Bit Edition was not marketed as the Itanium version of Microsoft's other Windows XP editions, but, instead, as a separate edition made solely for the Itanium processor and its 64-bit instructions. It is mostly analogous to Windows XP Professional, but numerous older technologies, such as DAO, Jet database, NTVDM, and Windows on Windows, are no longer present, so support for MS-DOS and Win16 applications is absent. The original version also lacks most media applications, such as Windows Media Player, NetMeeting, Windows Movie Maker, and integrated CD burning, although Windows Media Player and NetMeeting were added in the 2003 version.
This edition supports the x86-64 extension of the Intel IA-32 architecture. x86-64 is implemented by AMD as "AMD64", found in AMD's Opteron, Athlon 64 chips (and in selected Sempron processors), and implemented by Intel as "Intel 64" (formerly known as IA-32e and EM64T), found in some of Intel's Pentium 4 and most of Intel's later chips. It was released on April 25, 2005.
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition uses version 5.2.3790.1830 of core operating system binaries, the same version used by Windows Server 2003 SP1 as they were the latest versions during the operating system's development. Even service packs and updates for Windows XP x64 and Windows Server 2003 x64 are distributed in unified packages, much in the manner as Windows 2000 Professional and Server editions for x86.
The RTM version of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is based on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1. For the same reason, Service Pack 2 for Windows XP x64 Edition, released on the March 13, 2007, is not the same as Service Pack 2 for 32-bit versions of Windows XP. In fact, due to the earlier release date of the 32-bit version, many of the key features introduced by Service Pack 2 for 32-bit (x86) editions of Windows XP were already present in the RTM version of its 64-bit (x86-64) counterpart. Service Pack 2 is the first and last released service pack for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.