I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the newly released Beta 2 of Windows XP (formerly Whistler) Professional. Before we begin, let me mention a few things. Windows XP is based on Windows NT and Windows 2000 - thus giving us full 32-bit support. This was supposed to be done for Windows ME but Microsoft changed their mind and made Windows ME and extension of the Windows 9x kernel.
Windows XP comes is several different flavors. There is Home Edition, XP Professional, XP Server and XP Advanced Server. I decided to do a review of the Professional version, since it will have more features that I can report on (this review will need to have many different parts since there is so much new stuff to report on). Some of the features that Windows XP includes are remote installation, remote control troubleshooting, direct writing to CDs without using third-party software, system restore, device driver rollback, Internet connection firewall, increased application compatibility (by using run in compatibility mode - more on this later), web update of files before installing the OS, wireless networking and many others.
For a complete list of features, visit Microsoft's XP site. When talking about Windows XP we cant overlook the new controversial registration scheme that Microsoft has come up with for this new OS. It will require you to register your copy with Microsoft every time you install the software. It sends them a unique ID along with the product key on the back of the CD. The unique ID is dependent on what hardware is in your computer. (look here for the description of this new registration scheme). [Ed : Kyle over at [H]ard|OCP has a short article on this.]
The minimum system requirements for XP are : Pentium 233, 64 MB RAM, 650 MB free space, VGA monitor, keyboard, mouse and a CD-ROM. These are minimum requirements, I don't see how Whistler would run on this machine, it would be hell of slow. I am running a T-Bird 900 on an ASUS A7V with 384 MB PC 133 Crucial RAM, 8 gig Fujitsu HD, nVIDIA Riva TNT, SMC 10/100 NIC, Sound Blaster Live!, Diamond FirePort SCSI card, a Teac CD-ROM and a Pinnacle Micro CD burner.