Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT
family of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on August
24, 2001, and broadly released for retail sale on October 25, 2001.
Development of Windows XP began in the late 1990s as "Neptune", an operating system (OS) built on the Windows NT kernel which was intended specifically for mainstream consumer use. An updated version of Windows 2000
was also originally planned for the business market; however, in
January 2000, both projects were scrapped in favor of a single OS
codenamed "Whistler", which would serve as a single OS platform for both
consumer and business markets. As such, Windows XP was the first
consumer edition of Windows not to be based on MS-DOS.
Upon its release, Windows XP received critical acclaim, with
critics noting increased performance and stability (especially in
comparison to Windows Me,
the previous version of Windows aimed at home users), a more intuitive
user interface, improved hardware support, and expanded multimedia
capabilities. However, some industry reviewers were concerned by the new
licensing model and product activation system.
Extended support for Windows XP ended on April 8, 2014, after which the operating system ceased receiving further support or security updates (with exceptional security updates being made e.g. in 2019, to address potential ransomware threats, like BlueKeep) to most users. By August 2019, Microsoft (and others) had ended support for games on Windows XP. As of February 2020, 1.25% of Windows PCs run Windows XP, and a little under 1% of all traditional PCs run Windows XP. At least one country has double digit use: Armenia, where it is highest ranked at 42.21% as of April 2020; use in China is also exceptionally high at 3.94% as of January 2020.