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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Windows XP

Write about your first computer.

1. 0.5% of PCs around the world still use Windows XP

Despite its age and relative obsolescence, you may be surprised to learn that many people actually still use Windows XP. It’s the operating system of choice for many organisations; the American IRS actually still used Windows XP as late as 2015, and there may still be many computers within the organisation using it right now. It’s fair to say Windows XP remains a popular choice!

2. Almost 60% of PCs in Armenia use Windows XP

Armenia is a particularly popular place for Windows XP, as almost 60% of the PCs in that country use it. The next most popular Windows operating system is Windows 10, followed by 7, then 8. Incredibly, 0.02% of PCs in Armenia still use Windows Vista, which sounds like a situation that needs to be immediately rectified as far as we’re concerned given the quality of that OS.

3. The Windows XP wallpaper sold for $100k

If you’ve never known what that rolling hills Windows XP background is called, the name of the photograph is “Bliss”. The photographer, Charles O’Rear, was paid over $100,000 for his time. Interestingly enough, another iconic XP wallpaper, “Autumn”, cost Microsoft just $45, which seems a little unfair. Still, it’s undeniable that “Bliss” is a more well-known photo.

4. Many ATMs still use Windows XP

When you go to withdraw some cash from your local ATM, spare a thought for the operating system it’s running. Many ATMs still run Windows XP, and terrifyingly enough, many are therefore open to the kind of attacks that we wake up screaming about. There have been efforts to upgrade ATMs to Windows 10, but XP is still the standard on a surprising number of the machines.

5. You can’t call a file or folder “CON”

Windows XP doesn’t allow you to name a file or folder “CON”. This is because there’s an important system file with the same name, and renaming your file could cause confusion in the backend. Future versions of Windows fixed this issue, so you’ll be able to do this on Windows 11, for example, but give it a go on Windows XP and you’ll see that it’s impossible.

6. Windows XP has a meaning

Just like in video games, XP actually means “experience”. The OS was originally codenamed Whistler, before it was officially unveiled in February 2001 to an expectant audience. A Microsoft press release says that the “experience” part of the name is supposed to symbolise the “rich and extended” user experiences people can get when using Windows XP.

7. The XP recycling bin could only hold 10% of your hard drive space

By default, XP’s recycling bin was only capable of holding 10% of your hard drive space. You might be the kind of person who deletes a lot of things, though, in which case this wouldn’t suit you. However, it was possible to expand this amount through extra customisation options, so if you did want more space in your recycling bin, you could always use this method.

8. The total number of Windows XP licenses is over 500 million

According to TechRadar, the total number of Windows XP licenses redeemed across the operating system’s lifespan is likely to exceed 500 million. We know for a fact that over 400 million copies of the system were sold within the first five years of it being on sale, and it doesn’t take much to go beyond that and imagine all the people who bought it after those first five years.

9. Windows XP was a more popular OS than 95 or ME

Windows XP’s dominance over the ill-fated Windows ME should perhaps come as no surprise. What is surprising is that it managed to top sales for Windows 95 in its early days. Granted, part of that might be because Windows was becoming more mainstream (alongside PCs in general), but 95 was generally accepted as the gold standard for operating systems, so XP beating it is something of a surprise.

10. Windows XP introduced taskbar grouping

Prior to Windows XP’s introduction, if you wanted to group windows together, you’d have to mod your software. However, in Windows XP, it was possible to group windows on your taskbar, saving you space if you had multiple instances of a web browser open (or any other application). Today, this is standard in Windows 11, so it’s hard to imagine how life was before we could do this.


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