This version of Windows XP is the OEM version; this means that it can only be used by people who build PC systems, rather than those who buy them from a retail store complete. The OEM version of Windows XP Pro tends to be purchased by independent computer shops that build and repair systems or IT departments within (relatively) large organizations.

Windows XP Professional is the follow-on OS from Windows 2000 (mostly used by businesses and one of the most stable versions of Windows I’ve ever used), Windows Millennium and Windows 98. Whilst the home version of XP is suitable for most users, XP Pro is great for businesses and developers as it has additional features that are not seen in ‘lesser’ versions of the Microsoft operating system, such as XP Home.

This one-license pack comes complete with Service Pack 3, so you won’t spend half of the installation time performing endless updates and integrates all of the best features that were found in Windows 2000 Pro. This allows IT managers to better manage permissions when setting up a machine on a business network, as well as providing an easy to use interface that the end-user can work with and be familiar with.

The best choice for business, XP Pro allows IT administrators flexibility and allows for greater control over workers who may not necessarily be tech savvy. Whilst this review may seem a little out of date, since the introduction of Vista, Windows 7 and 8 coming out in the autumn, this version of the most popular operating system in the world is still widely used in businesses across the UK.

This is due to the reliability of the operating system; quite often IT departments are reluctant to change what is working for them and Windows XP Pro has an excellent reputation for being a solid, dependable OS. This really comes off the back of 2000, which as previously mentioned, was a brilliant operating system for business as it was stable, gave a variety of options, including troubleshooting to IT admins and rarely crashed.

XP Pro, especially with the included service pack, does a similar job and is perfect for developers too as it allows you to run a virtual machine as a server on the OS for testing purposes, which lower versions of XP don’t.

Of course, if you run a business with other versions of Windows on the network, this isn’t a problem as XP Pro is relatively easy to set up for IT professionals. Some individuals may have some problems making the OS ‘talk’ to Vista, for example, but a quick look online will clear this up for all but the most basic of users.

Whilst the OS is primarily made for professional use, that’s not to say that you can’t use it at home (if you’re building your own system of course), the OS has a few additional features that advanced users may find useful, such as additional security features and the advanced system administration options, but for home use – XP Home would suffice.

The minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP Professional include:

  • Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)
  • At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
  • At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk
  • CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
  • Keyboard and a Microsoft Mouse or some other compatible pointing device
  • Video adapter and monitor with Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution
  • Sound card
  • Speakers or headphones