Two special variants of XP were introduced in 2002 for certain types of hardware, exclusively through OEM channels as pre-installed software. Originally designed for high-end home theater PCs equipped with TV tuners (marketed as “Media Center PCs”), Windows XP Media Center Edition offers advanced multimedia features, an electronic program guide, and support for Digital Video Recorder (DVR) through the Windows Media Center app.  Microsoft also introduced Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, which includes additional pen input capabilities and is optimized for mobile devices that comply with Tablet PC specifications.  Two different 64-bit editions of XP have been made available. The first, Windows XP 64-bit Edition, was for IA-64 (Itanium) systems; As the use of IA-64 on workstations declined in favor of AMD`s x86-64 architecture, the Itanium edition was discontinued in January 2005.  A new 64-bit edition supporting the x86-64 architecture, called Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, was released in April of the same year.  With Microsoft`s imminent end of support for Windows XP, you may have finally made the (very wise) decision to stop using the venerable operating system. Congratulations. However, if you`re just planning to install a newer operating system on top of your existing hardware, you should think twice. Support for the original release version of Windows XP (without service pack) ended on August 30, 2005.  Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 1a were discontinued on October 10, 2006, and Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP2 ended on July 13, 2010, approximately 24 months after the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3.  The company stopped granting general licenses of Windows XP to OEMs and ended retail sales of the operating system on June 30, 2008, 17 months after the release of Windows Vista.  However, on April 3, 2008, an exemption was announced for OEMs that manufactured “very low-cost PCs,” specifically netbooks, up to one year after Windows 7 became available on October 22, 2009.
Analysts believed the move was primarily aimed at competing with Linux-based netbooks, though Microsoft`s Kevin Hutz explained that the move was due to apparent market demand for low-end Windows-based computers.  After its release, Windows XP received critical acclaim. CNET described the operating system as “worth the hype” because it considered the new interface “more sophisticated” and intuitive than previous versions, but felt it could “bore” experienced users with its “outstretched hands.” Improved XP multimedia support and CD burning capabilities were mentioned, as were streamlined networking tools. XP`s performance improvements over 2000 and Me were also praised, as was the increased number of integrated device drivers compared to 2000. Software compatibility tools were also praised, although it was noted that some programs, especially older MS-DOS software, may not work properly under XP due to their different architecture. They waved the new licensing model and product activation system of Windows XP, calling it a “somewhat annoying obstacle,” but acknowledging Microsoft`s intent for the changes.  PC Magazine praised the same, but noted that a number of its online features were designed to promote Microsoft`s own services and that, aside from faster boot times, XP`s overall performance showed little difference compared to Windows 2000.  Windows XP`s default design, Luna, has been criticized by some users for its childlike appearance.   Windows XP appears to have two sets of system requirements, which is confusing for many potential valuation providers. Microsoft has issued a minimum requirement for performance and hardware capabilities, and if you don`t meet that requirement, XP simply refuses to install.
But the company also issued a minimal recommendation — a much stricter set of specifications that should lead to optimal performance. Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP Home and Professional was released on August 25, 2004.  Key features included WPA encryption compatibility for Wi-Fi and usability improvements to the Wi-Fi network user interface, partial Bluetooth support, and various security system enhancements. A computer running Windows XP Professional x64 Edition cannot be upgraded directly to Windows Vista because the 64-bit Vista DVD mistakenly recognizes XP x64 as a 32-bit system. XP x64 allows the customer to use an upgrade copy of Windows Vista or Windows 7, but must be installed as a clean installation. Microsoft`s minimum system requirements for Windows XP are a 233 MHz processor, 64 MB of RAM, 1.5 GB of available hard disk space, and an SVGA-compatible graphics card. UITS has found that computers that do not exceed these requirements perform Windows XP poorly or not at all. UITS strongly recommends that any system running XP have a processor faster than 400 MHz and at least 256 MB of RAM. Windows XP Professional requires at least 64 MB of RAM to use the basic features of the operating system. Microsoft recommends installing at least 128 MB of RAM for the operating system to work properly. However, the 512MB installation provides a faster and more productive experience. Additionally, SP3 includes updates to the operating system components of Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, as well as security updates for the .NET Framework version 1.0 that are included in those editions.
However, update rollups for the Windows Media Center application in Windows XP MCE 2005 are not included.  SP3 also does not include security updates for Windows Media Player 10, although the Player is included in Windows XP MCE 2005.  The taskbar DeskBand address bar is no longer included due to concerns about antitrust violations.  So which set applies to you? We`ve spent the last six months playing with different hardware configurations and found that you only have to worry about the minimum system requirements. You can run XP on any system that meets or exceeds these specifications, namely a 233 MHz processor with 64 MB of RAM, 1.5 GB of free hard disk space, a screen resolution of 800 x 600, and a CD-ROM drive. However, if you want XP to work quickly and stably, the minimum recommendation is the goal you should aim for.