Windows XP Professional x64 Edition v.1289
We have already discussed the beta versions of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition operating system on our site. In particular, we received from Microsoft a number of OS versions for our testing needs. Since the end of 2003 we have got the following beta-versions: 1039, 1069 and 1218. Each newer version improved certain flaws and eliminated certain bugs of the predecessor, and offered better compatibility with the new processors supporting 64-bit extensions. However, all these versions were still very far from the way the end product was supposed to look like. The current revision 1289 has been assigned the status of Release Candidate 1, which indicates that it is close to the final OS version. This appeared exactly the reason why we decided to take another close look at Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and to find out how the owners of CPUs with 64-bit extensions can benefit from the new operating system by Microsoft, once it is released.
Right now RC1 of the new operating system is available for free download on Microsoft’s web-site. If you register here, you can get access to a 360-day trial version of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition RC1. if you decide to install this OS, you have to make sure that your computer complies with the minimum system requirements, such as 256MB of memory, 1.5GB of disk space, a VGA card supporting at least 800x600 resolution, CD or DVD ROM drive, a mouse and keyboard. As far as the CPU is concerned, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is compatible with AMD Athlon 64, AMD Opteron, Intel Xeon with Intel EM64T support and Intel Pentium 4 with Intel EM64T support. Note that Windows XP Professional x64 Edition will not support 64-bit Intel Itanium processors with IA64 architecture. For these particular CPUs Microsoft offers another 64-bit operating system with a similar sounding name: Windows XP 64-Bit Edition.
The installation of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition goes just like the installation of the regular Windows XP, and shouldn’t cause any problems. Once the OS is installed, the user has to find the 64-bit drivers for all system devices. The 32-bit drivers used in traditional Windows XP versions do not work for the new operating system.
We have already mentioned in our earlier articles that 64-bit drivers for the new OS are currently offered only by a limited number of hardware developers. Luckily the situation got much better since then. You can check out a pretty long list of devices with the available 64-bit driver support here. Well, when you look at this list, you get the impression that almost all the most widely spread devices have already acquired 64-bit drivers. However, I would recommend that you check out this list for your system before you start installing Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition operating system looks very similar to the regular Windows XP Professional with the integrated Service Pack 2. The RC1 we had at our disposal this time already featured Security Center with the enhanced Windows Firewall.