Gates Officially Announces WindowsXP

Microsoft's Bill Gates officially announced the WindowsXP operating system yesterday, bringing with it a slew of articles, Web site, and screen shots of the upcoming software. Beta 2 invitations were sent out this week to some testers not originally included in the beta test, much like Microsoft is doing with OfficeXP. Testers thus far are raving about the new interface, which is being revamped for Beta 2 to include the new Luna interface.

Several features of Luna have Windows lovers reved up to get their hands on a copy, which currently stands at Build 2428 released to testers this week also. Alpha-blending has been included to add new dimensions to the look and feel of the Windows desktop, along with a new skinning system to provide users with "themes" much like WindowBlinds from Stardock.

Coming in two flavors, the Professional and Home editions, WindowsXP builds on stable Windows 2000 technology and WindowsME imaging abilities. The Home edition comes with suped up sharing technology to make switching users quicker and easier than previous Windows versions.

A new taskbar system has been implemented in WindowsXP, where items are automatically grouped together by likeness. This will save taskbar space when intense multi-tasking is taking place. To help further reduce desk clutter, all icons except for the Recycle Bin have been relocated to a new start menu, and Windows automatically checks and prompts the user to delete dead shortcuts and icons.

Paul Thurrott's WinInformant has a nice article about WindowsXP and the launching event. Highlights of Gates' speech include this boasting of WindowsXP, saying "Windows XP builds on their dreams, taking the power and adaptability of the PC to a new level. It delivers on our vision of bringing the most advanced Windows ever to home users, unlocking the true and amazing potential of everyone's PC."

Additionally, the new site allows you to sign up for XP's Preview Program. This will enable those interested to test Windows XP before it is released to shelves. Although this is not an official beta testing opportunity, you may still forward bugs to Micrsoft's attention.

For more information, you can read an excellent technical overview of WindowsXP over at MSDN.

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